The brand new Regal Gallery Place should make mainstream moviegoers more than happy. A stadium-seating theater with large screens, digital surround sound and 14 auditoriums, it will screen the blockbusters and Hollywood fare found at most cineplexes. While the occasional major release with an artsy edge -- like Jude Law's "Alfie" -- will show up here, don't expect Regal to step on the toes of Landmark's E Street a few blocks away. Indies, foreign films and less conventional selections will remain Landmark's bailiwick.
Located next to the MCI Center in Chinatown within the new Gallery Place shopping complex, moviegoers enter the Regal by walking down an alleyway off of Seventh Street. After purchasing tickets at the ground-floor box office, patrons ride an escalator upstairs while taking in the view of the majestic atrium, complete with Grecian-style columns and busts.
Once upstairs, a sizable concessions area stands front and center, but don't expect to find much more than popcorn, candy, soda and slushies. While some theaters, like Landover's new Magic Johnson, offer more diverse items such as chicken fingers and ice cream sundaes, Regal sticks to the basics. Given the number of nearby restaurant options, it makes sense.
The larger auditoriums accommodate 300 people, while the theater's total seating capacity is 2800. Those seats, by the way, are particularly comfy; they all rock, feature flip-up armrests and, in some cases, sport leather accents.
Those attending events at the MCI Center can head directly to this cineplex without even walking outside, a fact Regal plans to take advantage of by scheduling some screenings just as games and concerts are ending for the evening. With that commitment to convenience, not to mention the Metro's presence just a few steps away, Regal could become the favored theater among D.C. residents.
--Jen Chaney, Oct. 19, 2004