Oro Valley has its first big theater
Dave Perry/The Explorer, Jennie Finch, University of Arizona and U.S. Olympic team softball pitcher, signed autographs for Oro Valley fastpitch players during the grand opening of Century Theatres at the Oro Valley Marketplace last Thursday.

Oro Valley “has been asking for a theater for a while,” according to James Meredith, vice president of marketing for Cinemark / Century Theatres.

That theater opened to the public Friday, when Cinemark unveiled its 12-screen Century Theatres at Oro Valley Marketplace.

“We invite you to enjoy the movies,” Meredith told Thursday night’s grand opening crowd.

“This has been a busy week,” said Oro Valley Mayor Paul Loomis, who mentioned the openings of Dick’s Sporting Goods, Walmart and Best Buy at the Oro Valley Marketplace. “This is the much-anticipated opening of Oro Valley’s first movie theater, and what a great theater it is.”

“This is a terrific entertainment attraction for the Northwest region,” agreed Cinemark marketing manager Bryan Jeffries.

Ramon Gaanderse, president and chief executive officer of the Northern Pima County Chamber of Commerce, and Kate Marquez, executive director of the Grater Oro Valley Arts Council, spoke in glowing terms about the facility, seated in the commercial development close to the intersection of Oracle and Tangerine roads.

Cinemark hopes to bring “more sophisticated films to the area,” films that would not draw large audiences and can be shown in one of the venue’s smaller theaters, Jeffries said.

Jennie Finch, the University of Arizona and U.S. Olympic team softball pitcher, was a further attraction. Finch spoke, then signed autographs for and was photographed with ecstatic girls from the Oro Valley fastpitch softball team.

Earlier, Meredith showed members of the media the upstairs projection room, a long hallway with projectors, cans of film and huge spools onto which film is placed, run and rewound.

Century Theatres at Oro Valley Marketplace has 12 screens with seating from 99 to 242 seats. There are 2,101 seats in total. Aisles are 42 inches wide, so “you don’t have to get up when somebody walks by,” Meredith said. The chairs rock back and forth, and there is handicap-accessible seating.

Ticket sales for the first weekend were “solid,” Jeffries reported Tuesday.

Meredith expects the Oro Valley Marketplace multi-plex to remain at 12 screens.

“When you design the theater, you hope to get it right the first time,” he said.

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