Phoenix Big Cinemas Make over, Upgrade Former Destinta Theaters

Article excerpt

The former Destinta movie theaters in Bridgeville and North Versailles closed for two days and will reopen Friday under the management of Phoenix Big Cinemas.

Both theaters closed after movie showings Tuesday night.

Kossman Development Co. of Pittsburgh took over operations of the multiplexes after the Destinta chain, as longtime tenants, decided to pull out of the Pittsburgh market, said Steve Weisbrod, Kossman's vice president of business development.

Weisbrod said Destinta had several years remaining on its leases.

Phil Zacheretti, CEO of Knoxville-based Phoenix Big Cinemas Management LLC, said Wednesday the company has dozens of workers doing repairs, deep cleaning and installing new signs and other technology to prepare for the reopenings.

Names of the two theaters will change to the Chartiers Valley Stadium 18 in Bridgeville, and the North Versailles Stadium 18 in the Pittsburgh Plaza East.

Crews are upgrading concession stands to turn out more varied food choices, such as corn dog bites, pizzas and chicken, he said.

And new point-of-sale systems will allow customers to order tickets more easily online, through or the Phoenix website.

Under Destinta, the multiplexes didn't sell many tickets via Internet. "We expect that to increase dramatically," Zacheretti said.

Phoenix also has a loyalty rewards card program.

Kossman hired Phoenix to handle all aspects of running the theaters, from renting films to selling food and maintaining the 90,000- to 100,000-square-foot buildings. Free popcorn will be given out with each paid admission through Sunday.

Bigger changes are in store. Over the next three months, Phoenix will convert auditoriums at both theaters to all-digital projection and surround sound.

With changing technology, "Film will be nonexistent by the end of next year," said Zacheretti, who began his 37 years in the movie industry as a theater usher in high school. …