City Life

Everything you need to know about opening night this evening at the ‘new’ Santa Cruz Cinema

The beloved former Cinema 9 movie mainstay on Pacific Avenue will open its doors on Thursday evening with a new name and under new management. Here’s a guide to a night at the movies.

In a comeback that was celebrated around the county, the beloved Cinema 9 movie mainstay on Pacific Avenue will open its doors on Thursday evening with a new name and under new management.

The city of Santa Cruz stepped in to aid the effort to save the Downtown Santa Cruz theater after Regal Cinemas announced to employees last month that it would be pulling operations here — a move the company also made in other cities around the country.

The result? On Thursday, the Cinema 9 will open its doors to movie-goers as Santa Cruz Cinema.

After months of COVID-19 restrictions making theaters an almost-distant memory, Santa Cruz Cinema will not be immune to restrictions. The multiplex will open its nine theaters at 25% capacity, in keeping with the state’s red tier restrictions in the Blueprint for a Safer Economy.

Here’s what you need to know about opening night:

What’s playing?

All the movies that will be screened were released in either 2020 or 2021. Movies that will be screened starting Thursday:

(Click the link to see each movie’s IMDb page and view trailers)

What is the schedule?

The first show on Thursday will begin at 6:30 p.m. with all nine screens — two of which are 3D — operational on opening night. After that, the multiplex will move to normal late-morning opening times beginning Friday.

After Regal Cinemas decided to close the Pacific Avenue movie house permanently, a family owned company is stepping in...

How do I get tickets?

You can pick your movie and showtimes on the Santa Cruz Cinema website. You can also call (831) 291-9728. To stay abreast of new movies coming to the theater, you can sign up for the Santa Cruz Cinema Email Club here.

Are there any discounts?

Santa Cruz Cinema will offer senior and student discounts and a discount Tuesdays with $5 tickets.

What is being done for COVID protocols?

Patrick Lacava, Executive Vice President of Operations for Santa Cruz Cinema told Lookout last week that after getting access to the theater last Monday, workers were “cleaning the location from top to bottom, implementing all the COVID procedures.”

The Santa Cruz Cinema logo, soon to be a fixture at the former Cinema 9.
(Courtesy Santa Cruz Cinema)

The multiplex, opening at 25% capacity, will have a touchless Box Office and touchless concessions ordering. Stickers will be applied to the floor to remind film fanatics to socially distance themselves in the theater.

Seating will be reserved and social distancing between movie-goers will be enforced “to ensure that everyone maintains their proper distances,” Lacava said.

What are some of the upgrades to expect?

Snack bar: Santa Cruz Cinema will boast a refreshed snack bar and all the snack bar countertops will be refurbished.

New seating: Along with new equipment, Lacava said workers are also reinstalling luxury seating in the theaters.

Beer and a movie? Like other theaters locally and across the country, Santa Cruz Cinema is considering offering beer and wine sales to patrons, a move made possible by a city ordinance change approved last year shortly before the pandemic. However, this will not be available on opening night.

New branding: It will take some time but eventually, the Santa Cruz Cinema logo will replace Regal’s branding on the well-known marquee along Pacific Avenue.

Which movies are on the schedule through April?

(Click the links to see each movie’s IMDb page and view trailers)

Are they hiring?

After hiring a new General Manager for Santa Cruz Cinema last week, Lacava said the multiplex is looking for staff. As COVID restrictions ease and the theater is able to open up at 50%, 75% and 100%, the theater will continue to hire more staff, Lacava said.

To learn more about open positions and apply, call (831) 291-9728.