WESTBROOK, Maine — If you're a movie-lover in southern Maine, chance are you've been excitedly awaiting the reopening of two movie theaters in the region. The good news is that Friday, Oct. 8, is expected to be the first day of a full slate of shows for the Saco and Westbrook Apple Cinemas locations.
This summer, Apple Cinemas (a company with locations in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island) announced it would be moving into the two former Cinemagic buildings in these two cities. In February, Cinemagic had to close its Saco, South Portland, and Westbrook locations as a result of the pandemic.
For many people, the prospects of a new business coming in have been exciting. Westbrook mayor Michael Foley said losing Cinemagic was disappointing, and he's excited to see what Apple Cinemas might do for the area.
"We're excited to be able to have Westbrook as a destination, and we have so much more to offer in Westbrook than just a simple movie theater. We have an amazing downtown; we have amazing development taking place at Rock Row," Foley said. "There's a lot of good things happening in the community, and this is something that we're able to recover and retain, as we continue to grow and develop."
If you're surprised by news of the opening, you're not alone. Apple Cinemas hasn't made a big announcement and is instead trying to do a "soft open." Ashley Taylor, the general manager of the Saco and Westbrook locations, said they're trying to ease into demand, since it has been difficult to staff both buildings with the ongoing labor shortage nationwide. She said she's expecting the community will be ready to come out.
"You can sit home and watch (a movie)...but you’re not out doing something, and I think people really want to be out doing something," Taylor expressed.
Taylor said once the theaters are completely up-and-running, the Saco location will have 13 screens including an iMax theater, and the Westbrook location will have 16 screens. She said the spaces are large, which is good news during a pandemic.
"People want more space, and these theaters are so big that they can have the space," Taylor said. "Everybody who wants to come to the movies can come, and they'll have the space to enjoy it and not feel like they're on top of somebody else."
Some renovations are in the works at both theaters, like self-serve butter and soda machines and reclining seats. Taylor said they're also considering turning the arcade area into another kind of attraction and are open to suggestions about what kind of an "experience" guests may want.
These Apple Cinemas locations will be open throughout the weekend.