A crowd of more than 100 people including local dignitaries, chamber members and city officials celebrated the newly completed IMAX theater to Gig Harbor’s Uptown Galaxy Theatre as part of a ribbon-cutting ceremony and special screening on Oct. 5.
More than three years in the making, the new theatre promises a better movie-going experience for Gig Harbor residents versus regular theaters, said Rafe Cohen, Galaxy Theatres president and COO.
“A giant screen curved toward the audience to make an immersive experience with a great sound system and the latest super hero or graphic effects is the best way to see movie,” Cohen said.
The overall mood of the crowd was positive, and the special screening of “Blade Runner 2049” received numerous cheers from the audience.
The IMAX in Uptown is the first one in Pierce County — with the next nearest IMAX locations in Kent and Lacey — and will be the most digitally advanced IMAX west of the Mississippi river, according to Frank Rimkus, CEO of Galaxy Theatres.
Sitting three stories high and 70 feet wide, the IMAX screen delivers a premium view for a price that may be well worth the expense for movie connoisseurs. Current IMAX feature tickets are about $7 higher than regular movie prices.
Construction for the IMAX theatre began after a two-year permitting process with the city, which included a performance-based height exception to allow for the larger IMAX screen. Project organizers held a ceremonial groundbreaking in July 2016.
The completed project required the coordination of several teams including representatives from the city of Gig Harbor, two teams of contractors, three engineering firms, Galaxy Theatres, the Uptown management team, and two teams of architects, said Uptown Gig Harbor managing partner John Hogan.
“This is the most expensive and complex building we’ve ever done,” Hogan said. “Although the building is only 8,000 square feet, it felt at times to be just as difficult as building Uptown Village 10 years ago, which was 15 buildings.”
“It’s another wonderful thing for the residents of Gig Harbor,” Gig Harbor Mayor Jill Guernsey said.
For the complete schedule of movie times and prices, visit galaxytheatres.com.