Star-Bulletin Features

Thursday, May 3, 2001

Consolidated Regional Director Glen Yim stands in one
of the bigger movie theatres at new complex on Auahi St.

New movie complex
returns to grandeur

The Ward 16 offers more
legroom in larger theaters,
and even a concierge

By Tim Ryan

Put it under the "Only in Hawaii" category.

Say you've just finished surfing at Ala Moana Beach Park and there's a must-see film at Consolidated Amusement Co.'s new 16 megaplex theaters on nearby Auahi Street. Your car's too small to put that longboard inside, but if you drive home you'll miss the beginning of the film.

Here's the "Only in Hawaii" part.

At "The Ward 16" are secure places to check your precious wave-riding vehicle as well as your bike, skateboard and Razor scooter if this is your preferred mode of transportation. And if you need post-film restaurant reservations, the concierge near the theater entrance will be happy to make them for you.

That's not all.

Say your kid wants to celebrate his or her birthday at the movies. The new complex, set to open this month, has two rooms for such events. And once the guest of honor gets into the theater wearing his "Star of the Movie" T-shirt, he'll use his two-way radio to tell the projectionist to start the picture.

Welcome to movie-going in the 21st century.

It doesn't look like much now, but the lobby at
Consolidated Theatre's new complex on Auahi
Street should be ready to open by May 23.

"The public is demanding more from their movie entertainment than just state-of-the-art technology," said Glenn Yim, regional director of Consolidated Amusement Co. Ltd. "Convenience and comfort is a major consideration, and we will provide all that and more."

Consolidated Amusement Co. has just about finished its 85,000-square-foot Ward 16 Theatre megaplex, the company's flagship which can seat 4,000 moviegoers, at Auahi and Kamakee streets a block mauka of Ala Moana Boulevard.

The opening is scheduled to take place May 23 to coincide with the world premiere of Disney's "Pearl Harbor."

The film's general opening will be May 25.

Consolidated is the first tenant of the 156,000-square-foot entertainment complex constructed by Victoria Ward Ltd. In August, Dave & Buster's and other destination restaurants and retail stores will open in Ward Entertainment.

"This location is perfect for attracting moviegoers whether from their homes or nearby beaches and shopping centers," Yim said.

The megaplex entrance resembles a grand hotel where moviegoers climb a canopied staircase to the box office and theater lobby. In place of a standard lobby, Ward 16 has the feel of an outdoor courtyard with a large terrace on the Diamond Head end replete with chairs and benches.

The three-story-high, darkened ceiling uses fiber-optic "stars" to give the illusion of a night sky.

Design elements from the exterior of the building, like lampposts and tile sidewalks, continue into the lobby, enhancing the courtyard feel.

As guests walk through this "courtyard," they'll see Hawaii's first theater video wall. Dominating the lobby are 16 50-inch screens showing trailers of coming attractions. The video wall can be programmed to show one large image across all 16 screens or different images in different patterns across the matrix.

As for the theaters, each auditorium features a curved, wall-to-wall screen -- designed to give the viewer the feel of being enveloped in the film -- 360-degree digital surround sound and extra-wide row spacing for legroom.

The high-back seats are about 50 inches from the seat in front, similar to a first-class airplane configuration. Seats feature retractable armrests with cup holders. High-back rocker-style seating is available in the floor-level sections of each auditorium.

Ward 16 has four 500-seat theaters -- officially, Nos. 7, 8, 9 and 10 -- while the other auditoriums are in the 150- to 300-seat range.

(In comparison, Consolidated's Waikiki 1 and 2 theaters have about 800 seats each, Yim said.)

Screens in the larger auditoriums seem immense at about 150 feet across.

Several theaters' upper levels can be reached through second-floor doors via two stairways at the Ewa and Diamond Head ends of the complex or by elevator. There are several areas set aside for moviegoers in wheelchairs, and elevators to take them to the second-floor theater entrances.

Purchasing tickets will be easier, either by reserving over the telephone, using a credit card for later pickup, or at an electronic ticketing machine just outside the complex.

The specs

The Ward 16 will be the first tenant open in the new Ward Entertainment Center, at corner of Auahi and Kamakee sts., a block mauka of Ala Moana Boulevard.

Auditoriums: The Ward 16's auditoriums feature wall-to-wall curved screens, 360-degree digital sound and stadium-style seating with unobstructed views from every seat. All auditoriums provide handicapped seating, and assisted hearing devices will be available at the guest services counter.

Seats: Plush, comfortable high-back seats feature retractable armrests with cup holders that create doublewide love seats. High-back rocker style seating will be available on the floor-level sections of each auditorium.

Parking: There will be 500 spaces with elevator and escalator access to the theater; a parking lot across the street has a 300-car capacity.

Food: In addition to popcorn and the usual movie staples pizza will be baked fresh on the premises.

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