Altoona Mirror - Commons movie theater to open

Carmike business opening first week of October will become first to open in Convention Center Commons project

September 18, 2015, By Kay Stephens from The Altoona Mirror.

A 12-screen movie theater with state-of-the-art sound and video will be the first business to open in Convention Center Commons, the development that's been under construction across from the Blair County Convention Center.

Carmike Cinemas, a national movie theater company headquartered in Columbus, Ga., is preparing an advertisement indicating that Carmike 12, the newest movie theater in the Altoona area, will open the first week of October.

The company indicates that it will be showing the 3-D version of the "The Martian" starring Matt Damon. While that movie is being released Oct. 2, the Mirror was unable Thursday night to confirm a specific date for the theater's grand opening for the public.

When the company opens a new theater, it typically schedules a VIP night, followed by a charity night, then the grand opening, Carmike 12 Manager Erin Wyandt said.

"We are going to open that week, but I don't have a specific schedule," Wyandt said.

Additional representatives for Carmike Cinemas were not available Thursday for clarification.

In earlier announcements, the company said the 12-screen theater will provide 2,475 seats, including 540 in its Big D auditorium with a 70-foot wide screen.

"It's going to be a game-changer for movies in Blair County," project developer Michael A. Fiore said Thursday.

Fiore said he didn't know a specific date for the grand opening, but confirmed that the general construction work is done and that he expects the grand opening to be soon.

"I think they're finishing up the wiring and sound, so it's going to be a matter of when that's done," Fiore said. "But they'll need to do some testing and bring in their staff for training."

Carmike lists 30 BigD theaters on its website, including one in Pottsgrove, Pa., north of Philadelphia in Montgomery County. The company describes its theaters as having "bigger screens, bigger sound and bigger, more luxurious seats."

Wyandt, who has been managing the Carmike Cinema at the Logan Valley Mall, said she had no information about the future of the mall's theater but expects it to remain open. Theater company personnel have previously declined to disclose future plans for that theater or its theater in the Park Hills Plaza, in light of the opening of Carmike 12.

In addition to Carmike 12, Convention Center Commons is expected to feature a 99-room Holiday Inn Express, an office building, retail shops and restaurants. A sign is posted on the road to the development, indicating that it remains a construction site and that unauthorized access is prohibited.

The original story about the Convention Center Commons can be found at