Raising the Curtain on the Highlands Cinema

regal 3The Curtis household is eagerly anticipating the day when we can say, “Lights, Camera, Action!” on the new Regal Cinema due to open mid-summer. Every day we see construction progress as we head down Park Drive. I find myself exceedingly forgiving and flexible of the lane and sidewalk closures surrounding the site. “Hey, I don’t mind that you are blocking two lanes of traffic. Take your sweet time backing in that forklift. I’m a patron of the ARTS, yo!” I’m not sure I’m as philanthropic around the gas station construction.

The day the neon marquis was mounted, Highlanders cheered on our community Facebook pages. “They’re getting serious now!” we exclaimed. Every time I pull up the Fandango movie search it displays “Regal Issaquah Highlands Stadium 12 IMAX & RPX” as the closest theater to me. I have access to all those high-tech letters only 1.1 miles away! I don’t quite know what RPX means but it’s got to be one louder than IMAX, right?

When our Highlands E-news circulated the “Now Hiring” invitation to the Regal Cinema job fair I nearly threw my boys in as candidates. So what if they’re only 11 and 13 years old! Their grandfather was supplying ice boxes with giant blocks of ice at that age…and I’m sure riding his horse as transportation…while simultaneously plowing a field and milking a cow. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but I was really excited for the employment opportunities available for my kids just a mile away…when they are legally permitted to work.

We got into quite the family discussion about the breadth of services offered at the new theater. Each family member is pining for something different from the behemoth multiplex. Jack wants to view his Action/Adventure movies on the sprawling IMAX floor-to-ceiling screens. Ryan wants the film venue to offer a full taco bar with all the toppings — cheese, tomato, lettuce, salsa. Olé! Glenn wants a taste of the luxury theaters that have popped up recently where patrons are served cocktails and restaurant food while they recline in plush lounge chairs. There is a rumor that the old Regal Cinema in Pickering will be remodeled into this type of opulent bijou theater…oh, I meant theatre. I am in it for the convenience factor; secretly relieved that I and my 400 other mom-friends don’t have to go far to see the midnight debut of the next Twilight series. I guess I just let the cat out of the bag that opening night of the famous teenager vampire/werewolf movies drew dominant throngs of 40-something-year-old women. The Pickering location will surely miss our competitively shrill ovations of Jacob and Edward. With twelve theaters and several party rooms at our disposal at the new location, all of the Curtises will be pleased with the motion picture mammoth rising across the street from Caffe Ladro.

I also suspect that while nationally, movie attendance is dropping, our local movie-goer numbers will spike. It’s new, it’s close to our ever-growing community, and very few people can resist the enchanting fragrance called eau de movie theater popcorn. Even though ticket prices will never be affordable, and most of us have alternative access to movies at home or on our mobile devices, there is something to be said for seeing an opening week film under full sensory stimulation conditions, unequaled in availability and technology at most homes. That cinderblock giant on Park Drive will roar with out-of-this-world audio quality, make our eyeballs stretch in amazement, rumble our seats, and offer us intoxicating smells and tastes. Hopefully in a few years I can justify going to the movies more frequently if I know my children are gainfully employed there. Not that it works out as money in my pocket, but I’ll do some backflips of rationalization to ease my guilt. And I’ll see YOU at the movies!

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