"We want our theaters to be a great place to come," Gail Miller, owner of the Larry H. Miller Group, told company and government officials at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday. "We want it to be a family-friendly experience."
Gail Miller said she and her late husband, auto tycoon and Utah Jazz owner Larry H. Miller, went to the movies on their first dates when they were 15 years old and hated the experience of poorly maintained theaters.
"I hate sticky floors," she said. "I've hated them since I was a kid."
When Larry Miller launched the first Megaplex theater, at Sandy's Jordan Commons in 1998, "we wanted to throw away the book on movie-theater design," Gail Miller said. That meant "zero bad seats," stadium seating, and theater entrances in the middle of the seating area unusual then, now "a standard in the industry," she said.
There's also a standing rule, Gail Miller said, that every theater floor is vacuumed and mopped after every screening.
Larry H. Miller Group CEO Greg Miller, Gail and Larry's son, described the movie-theater division as "one of the lowest-maintenance elements of the Larry H. Miller companies."
Randy Rigby, president of Larry H. Miller Sports and Entertainment (which oversees the theaters and the Utah Jazz, among other entities), seemed to agree. "I'm happy to be here today and not talk about the NBA lockout," Rigby said.
Centerville Mayor Ronald G. Russell praised the new theater and the Legacy Crossing development, calling it "a beacon for what we believe will be a renaissance on the west side of I-15."
Dan Bridenstine, owner of U.S. Development, the company developing Legacy Crossing, touted the other buildings coming in on the Megaplex's heels including a 158-apartment residential unit opening next summer, and a plan still being finalized for a 30,000-square-foot office building for Henry Walker Homes.
The Centerville Megaplex follows close behind the July opening of the 10-screen Cinemark Farmington at Station Park, about six miles north along I-15.
With the new theater, the Megaplex chain now runs 86 screens in Utah, at facilities in Salt Lake City, Ogden, Sandy, South Jordan, Centerville and Lehi. The Lehi theater, at Thanksgiving Point, is in the midst of an expansion that will add nine more screens.
Greg Miller said the company is close to signing a deal for a site for a seventh theater along the Wasatch Front, and is in discussions for an eighth.