A movie theater is among the most lamented commercial absences Downtown. Just ask Eclipse Theatres managing director Nic Steele, whose research revealed that folks living in the area frequently traveled to the suburbs to catch flicks. Six years after the closure of Galaxy Theatres’ 11-screen cineplex at Neonopolis, he aims to fill that void: “With the type of experience we’re offering, people from Henderson and Summerlin will drive to Downtown just to come to our place.”
Steele is referring to the eight-auditorium, 550-seat, three-story luxury multiplex he and its proprietors—a group of business owners and theater managers—are scheduled to open on 814 S. Third St. come June 2016. The $21 million project broke ground earlier this month, just a few blocks from multi-level residential buildings, the Arts District and the soon-to-open Pawn Plaza on Las Vegas Boulevard.
Potential patrons will have two main ticket options/sections per auditorium: reserved standard leather seats (with tables for counter-service dining), which Steele says will likely run $14 each, and reserved reclining leather seats with a call button (which prompts a server to take, then deliver food and liquor orders), likely $19-$20. Additionally, private VIP “suite boxes” enclosed by panel glass will allow up to 10 people to be as loud—or make the movie as loud—as they want. An in-house restaurant, bar and lounge round out the amenities.
Having polled the area to test interest in Eclipse—which launched an Indiegogo campaign two winters ago to announce the project and gauge the market (it raised just under $2,000)—Steele will also seek programming feedback. While the usual wide releases will be a no-brainer, Eclipse is exploring the idea of screening specialty fare (like operas and Broadway tapings), Spanish-language titles and livestream/live broadcast events (Super Bowl, World Cup).
And, of course, being Downtown brings the possibility of more artistic cinema. “You can tell with Smith Center that there’s more demand for more cultural events,” Steele says. “Offering programming that appeals to a broader cultural sense is fantastic. We’ve started talking to owners of the Las Vegas Film Festival to increase the number of screens during their festival, and during the year we’ll able to offer indie and alternative films.”
With architecture designed to reflect that of City Hall and other nearby buildings, Steele hopes Eclipse will both complement Downtown’s character and also stand out. “When you look around [Downtown], the places are unique, not cookie-cutter. It gives you a unique sense of being. With Eclipse Theatres, we want to add to that.”