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Regal Cinema finds its niche with comfy new recliners

March 29. 2015 8:35PM

Manchester area natives as old as I will remember when Regal Cinema in Hooksett was the “new” theater in town. But when Cinemagic opened its bigger and better Hooksett location, Regal was sort of forgotten, and until recently was only showing second-run movies at bargain prices.

But the Exit 10 theater has undergone another evolution, replacing its chairs with “King Size Recliners” and returning first-run movies to the lineup.

Rachel Lueras, marketing manager for Regal Entertainment Group, said the company has been adding the adjustable recliners, complete with foot rests and pop-up tables, to many of its locations across the country. Half of the Hooksett Regal’s eight auditoriums have gone “luxury,” and the rest will be renovated by next month.

I have not had a chance to try the new Regal seats, but my friend Erika Applegate recently reclined while watching the new “Cinderella.” She reports, “The seats were roomy and comfortable and made the experience more personal.”

I wonder if they would frown upon me bringing my own blanket and a bottle of wine.

It seems Regal has found a new niche in customers like me who value comfort over state-of-the-art visuals and superior sound that newer theaters boast. Although I now may have to go to the movies alone. My husband regularly chastises me for watching standard definition channels when there are much better high definition versions available. (I tell him I’m pretty sure WMUR storm coverage is designed to give me anxiety in any definition.)

Now back to that wine. It seems Regal, the world’s largest theater chain, has begun offering alcohol and finger foods at some of its locations. But, Lueras could not confirm whether there would be any changes to the traditional popcorn and soda concessions in Hooksett.

Ticket prices at the new Regal are back up to average, with $9.50 for an adult ticket or $7.50 for a matinee, with discounts for children and seniors. To celebrate their reopening, movie-goers who sign up for the Regal Crown Club rewards card can get a free popcorn or soda from April 3 to April 12.

Bob Gfeller, the father of Matthew, left, who suffered a severe football helmet to helmet injury and died without regaining consciousness, speaks about sports-related traumatic brain injuries during the Safe Sports Social held at the Derryfield Restaurant in Manchester on Wednesday. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)

Safe Sports

Thanks to my friend Tom Bullock for having me as his guest at the annual Safe Sports Social to benefit the work of the Safe Sports Network to keep our high school athletes safe from injuries.

The Safe Sports Social, held last Wednesday at The Derryfield, always does a fantastic job of highlighting the importance of having experienced athletic trainers working alongside coaches.

The point was really hit home by this year’s speaker, Bob Gfeller of North Carolina. His son, Matthew, died after a helmet-to-helmet collision during a high school football game in 2008. Gfeller said there are certain things that must happen during the first hour after a head trauma, but his son’s team had no emergency action plan in place.

To help prevent other high school athletes from suffering the same fate, the Gfellers started the Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

Gfeller is also committed to youth through his work as executive director of the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma at Wake Forest University, which takes him to communities all over the country. And according to him, we seem to be doing the right things for our kids here in Manchester.

“You are about as unique as any community I’ve ever seen in helping kids play sports safely,” Gfeller told the group.

The Safe Sports Network operates under the nonprofit New Hampshire Musculoskeletal Institute. Started by Dr. James Vailas, it provides athletic trainers to eight area high schools, including Manchester’s three public schools. It also offers free sports physicals, injury drop-in clinics, and coach and community education.

The audience for the third annual event at the Derryfield was filled with some of our city’s great athletes of days gone by, including Dick Anagnost, and brothers Steve and Jim Schubert.

That group, which Mayor Ted Gatsas referred to as the “concussion table,” played before we understood how dangerous it is to continue playing after a head injury. Fortunately for them, any head injuries they may have sustained have not stopped their successes.

I was also happy to see Mike Reed, Drs. Paul Johnson and Bill Mehan, Charlie Sherman and John Mortimer there supporting the Safe Sports Network. It is certainly an organization of which our city can be proud.

MYPN Event

Not-for-profit organizations will not want to miss out in the first-ever Stay Work Play Give event taking place in five communities across the state on April 21.

Stay Work Play Give is a day of simultaneous nonprofit fairs hosted by organizations for young professionals around the state. The idea behind the events is to get more young professionals civically engaged in their communities through volunteering with local nonprofits.

Fairs will be held in Manchester, Concord, Windham, Laconia and Claremont. Chris Wellington, with Manchester Young Professionals Network, said they hope to add the Seacoast and Upper Valley groups next year.

To see the times and locations of each fair, or to sign-up as an exhibiting nonprofit, visit


A forum on the status of New Hampshire’s video game industry is scheduled for Thursday evening. I had no idea that New Hampshire had a video game industry, so was delighted to see this event.

“Grinding it Out: the Status of the Video Game Industry in New Hampshire Software Forum,” will feature industry experts from Autodesk, and a Meredith game development company called Retro Affect.

The agenda will cover gaming trends, gamer demographics, mobile platform development, education, business models and the business opportunities the gaming industry presents in New Hampshire. There will also be demos and networking sessions before and after the presentation.

The event is sponsored by the New Hampshire High Tech Council and is being held at Dyn in Manchester, beginning at 5:15 p.m. The cost is free for members and $15 for non-members.

Visit to find out more about this and other noteworthy events around our region.

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