For about 20 years now, the intersection of Springfield Ave. and Bergen St. has been known by the movie theater that occupied the NW corner. This past Friday, however, marked the ribbon-cutting and official grand opening of Cityplex 12.
The new owners are the firm Boraie Development and Shaquille O’neal (yep…Shaq himself). Having been raised in Newark and actively involved in the city over the years – particularly the Boys & Girls Club – this theater gave Shaq an opportunity to etch his name in the city’s history books. After a number of distinguished guests spoke at the press conference, Shaq approached the podium to a standing ovation. He made a couple of important points clear. One: he hadn’t gotten successful and come back to Newark. He never left. And two: his investment in the city of his childhood was only obeying what his mom told him to do. “I remember when I first started making a lot of money and I came home with the ice and the gold chains, and my momma said, ‘Boy, you better take that back to the store and go rebuild Newark!’” he said.
The massive undertaking was a shared effort across a number of entities including Mayor Cory Booker, Brick City Development Corporation, Goldman Sachs Urban Investments, and many others. Mayor Booker spoke of the project as “simply heroic.” Shaq’s only word of advice was that the theaters not ever screen his film ‘Kazaam’ if it’s going to make any money. Cityplex 12 boasts a number of state-of-the-art amenities including all-Digital projection, stadium-seating, 3D capabilities in four of the twelve theaters and the SHAQ-DX, a 300-seat auditorium with a 47-foot-wide screen, Dolby Digital 7.1 sound, and leather seating…all in the heart of Newark.
The theater will celebrate it’s opening with “30 Days of Shaqness,” offering sweepstakes for movie passes and items autographed by Shaq and the cast of the film “Sparkle,” daily prizes, discount nights offered to families, seniors, and Newark’s college population, and “Movie Madness,” $1 movies from September 17 to September 20.
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