10.02.2012

Bow Tie Cinemas will manage Bonacio theater, elegantly


Next spring, some Saratogians will be able to walk to the movies, courtesy of Bonacio Construction’s building and Bow Tie Cinemas’ operation. Bow Tie promises the city a cinematic experience similar to fine dining, complete with a wine and beer bar in the lobby.
At a press conference Tuesday morning, held in the empty former Price Chopper at 19 Railroad Place, company president Sonny Bonacio presented the operator of his planned 11-screen theater. Family-owned Bow Tie Cinemas will take charge of the complex, bringing their slogan “Return style and elegance to the movie-going experience” to life in Criterion Cinemas 11, as the Saratoga theater will be called.

“This is the “before” picture—see it?” Bonacio said, gesturing at the concrete space around him. “You need a lot of imagination.”

Displaying renderings of the theater, Bow Tie owner Ben Moss helped the public visualize. He described the complex’s 10 screens and one Bow Tie X-treme (BTX) auditorium. The custom-built BTX theater will feature a giant 2,000-square-foot screen, with 30,000 watts of digital sound.

“BTX is our own exclusive brand of ultimate digital theater,” he said. “You are standing in the future home of the Bow Tie Cinemas Criterion in Saratoga Springs.”

Other features of the complex include oversize leather rocker seats; a party room for birthday gatherings and other events; and snack food offerings such as chicken fingers, French fries, and mozzarella sticks alongside the traditional popcorn and candy. Bow Tie Cinemas Chief Operating Officer Joe Masher said only real butter would be used on the popcorn.

Theater auditoriums can be rented during non-business hours for meetings and school events. No video games will be onsite.

“We want to be a family-friendly theater, but not a teen hangout,” he said.

Criterion will offer first-run Hollywood movies as well as independent films, Masher said. A group of Bow Tie executives selects each movie. Bow Tie also features a special event called Movies and Mimosas, which takes place weekend mornings. Guests can come to the cinema, enjoy a mimosa, and watch one of the old classics, such as “Casablanca” or “Gone with the Wind.” During Halloween, special horror movies such as “Nosferatu” will be shown.

“You can see a classic film back on the big screen the way it was meant to be seen,” he said.

Bow Tie’s free Criterion Club Loyalty Rewards Program offers customers exclusive rewards for being steadfast patrons, such as free concessions, movie tickets, invitations to private events, and specialty-programming discounts.

The four-generation Bow Tie Cinemas started in 1900 with nickelodeons and is the oldest movie theater operator in the United States. The company also operates Schenectady’s Movieland, which opened in 2007, and 19 other locations for a total of 169 screens.

“We are looking forward to many ticket sales soon,” Bonacio concluded.

And for those movie-lovers who must drive to the Criterion, a new parking garage stands at their service. 

--Jennie

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