WILMINGTON, Del., Jun 14, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) — A few simple shovels will begin a major upgrade of entertainment technology in Northern Delaware later this morning. At 10 a.m., Penn Cinema will break ground on a $20 million IMAX and movie theater complex at Riverfront Wilmington that will offer hundreds of thousands of area visitors the very latest cinematic advancements.
Appropriately enough, the complex will be completed in time to premier the latest mission of spy and gadget guru James Bond, who’ll return to the big screen on November 9 in Skyfall, the 23rd Bond film.
The movie complex, which is being developed by Buccini/Pollin Group, will feature 14 full stadium seating auditoriums–complete with luxury leather, high-backed seats–along with a full IMAX theater. It will be one of the first in the country equipped with 48-frames-per-second projection systems to accommodate such breakthrough films as Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit, which will land on Penn Cinema’s giant screens in December.
Penn Ketchum, managing partner of Penn Cinema Management Co., said the owner/operator is thrilled to bring the next level of advancements to filmgoers in the Wilmington area.
“We are an independent theater with the quality and technology of the biggest and best theater chains but the customer service of a mom-and-pop theater,” he said. “We started Penn Cinema in our hometown of Lititz, PA, and we have strong connections to Wilmington. It’s like going from one hometown to another. We’re very excited to bring our neighbors a top-rate entertainment option in such a beautiful part of this great city.”
Bob Raposo, IMAX’s Vice President of Theatre Development & Sales for The Americas, echoed Ketchum’s sentiments.
“We are pleased to bring moviegoers across Delaware The IMAX Experience(R), a superior format that will transport them into the action and adventure of our powerful film slate of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters. We are proud to build on our partnership with Penn Cinema and look forward to the upcoming opening of their latest IMAX theater.”
The Riverfront Development Corporation board approved the $2 million sale of a property at 401 South Madison Street for the Penn Cinema Riverfront, construction of which is privately funded. It will provide 70 full-time construction jobs for up to a year and is expected to generate an additional 700,000 annual visits to Riverfront Wilmington.
“The cinema complex will be a beautiful centerpiece of entertainment options at the Riverfront,” said RDC Executive Director Michael S. Purzycki. “We are very excited to watch this terrific addition to the Riverfront evolve and thrive and prove yet again the value of investments in this vibrant portion of our region.”
UPDATE: More news items on Wilmington, Delaware’s new digital IMAX:
Associated Press: Wilmington officials break ground on IMAX complex