12-screen cinema opens in Epping, delighting young patrons, and parentsBy JASON SCHREIBER
Union Leader Correspondent
November 09. 2012 7:48PM
EPPING - Friday was the perfect day for O'neil Cinemas to open its new movie theater in Epping. Kids from some area schools had no classes, so they went to the movies instead.
"We're really excited. It's really close, only 10 minutes away. We haven't had a theater nearby in a long time," said Chris Talbot of Brentwood, who brought his kids and a couple of their friends to see the new Disney animation "Wreck-It Ralph."
The 12-screen theater in the Brickyard Square shopping center officially opened its doors at 10 a.m. for its 11 a.m. showing of the new thriller "Argo."
The theater's staff said there was a steady stream of patrons, showing up throughout the day, with many purchasing tickets in advance.
Mary Hoyt of Newfields brought her daughter, Ashley, 12, and son, Derek, 14, to see an afternoon matinee of the movie "Fun Size."
"It was good," Ashley said.
Her mom also liked the movie, but was even more excited because she no longer has to travel far.
"It's easier than driving Route 33 to Newington. There's been no other option around except Newington," she said, referring to Regal Cinemas - a theater that has become a destination for many Seacoast residents, especially after Hampton Cinema Six closed in 2009.
The new O'neil Cinemas is a 30,000-square-foot theater that offers stadium seating for approximately 1,500 patrons, digital projection and sound, 3-D viewing auditoriums, and D-Box motion seating.
The theater employs about 50 workers and has a self-service ticket counter where people can purchase tickets in addition to a combined ticket/concession area. All seats are numbered and must be reserved when they're purchased at the theater or online.
The reserved seating format was new to many patrons.
"I like that you can just pick your seat," Hoyt said.
Michelle Beaton of Kingston brought her two boys to the theater Friday because they had no school.
She said the Epping theater will be their new spot, but not during the summer when her family enjoys catching flicks at the Milford Drive-In Theater.
Pam Leclere of Brentwood and her two children met up with friends at the theater to see "Hotel Transylvania."
"We're going to love it. It's the next exit up from us," she said.
David and Anita Vaught, also of Brentwood, said they're looking forward to seeing films closer to home. Before O'neil Cinemas opened, the Vaughts usually travelled to Cinemagic in Hooksett.
"We see all the Academy Award movies," Anita said.