Cary, North Carolina — This week marks the opening of the city’s cinema Cary’s nearly $1 billion Fenton project.
Florida-based Paragon Theaters will officially open its seventh location — and its second in Cary — on Friday at 21 Fenton Main St.
“We are the ultimate entertainment destination,” said Jared Comess, Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations, Paragon Entertainment Group. “I’m a ‘cinefile’. I’m someone who really likes movies. [I have] been all my life.
“Knowing that I can come here and have the comfort of my personal, affordable luxury that I can afford and that the ticket isn’t too high, but I can see the film in the most pristine way it should be shown, that , for me, it does.”
The theater is offering tickets for $6 for a limited time when it opens. Comess said he wasn’t sure how much ticket prices would increase after the summer promotion ends. The company’s Delray Beach, Florida location offers adult tickets starting at $11.77.
Comess said Paragon’s newest location in Cary has seven movie screens with a total of 780 seats.
The Fenton development has 350,000 square feet of retail space, 200,000 square feet of office space, and 357 apartment units. Although the residents have not yet moved in, they are within walking distance of restaurants, shops and the Paragon Theaters.
“By the time residents move in, I think the theater will actually be too small,” said Sharon Patterson, president of Into the Blue Creative Business Agency.
The theater was initially set to open in April, and Comess said people had started to stop asking when it would open this month. Many businesses in the area and across the country are dealing with supply chain issues, rising costs and labor shortages.
“We had some staffing challenges in the beginning, but… because we have two locations, we were able to hire people earlier than we normally would, and we were able to train staff at our other location,” Comess said.
Paragon Theaters’ first Cary location was in 1140 Parkside Main St. Comess, however, said Paragon inherited that theater from Frank Theaters CineBowl and Grille.
“This is the first time we’ve ever had theaters so close together, but this location came up, and we had to jump on it because we just knew that with the urban growth here, and we knew how big this was. project, and get the chance to build from the ground up and put all our bells and whistles in it,” Comess said.
Patterson echoed Comess’ sentiment.
“We’re the anchor,” Patterson said. “That’s a good position to be in until the supermarket, which is still likely – who knows? – in a few years we’ll be the anchor. What a great position.”
There are plans to build a supermarket in the Fenton development.
For now, the luxury theater has a grand opening weekend. A private event is scheduled for Thursday evening, but a few tickets are still available for “The Black Phone”; “Elvis”; “Light Year” and “Jurassic World Dominion.”
Friday’s screenings will add “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Minions: The Rise of Gru”.
On Saturday, the theater is planning a “Minion Mania” event as the new movie hits theaters this weekend. Activities in the square are free to attend.
“We’re working on repeat business, so we’re making sure everyone is happy and comfortable,” Comess said.
Axis15 Extreme Theater
The Axis15 Extreme Theater has a 20-meter screen, Dolby Atmos Immersive Sound and LuxBox pod-style seats. The screen is the largest in the Triangle.
“This isn’t a take-home experience that you can duplicate,” Patterson said.
The Axis15 Extreme Theater seats 180 people and the screen is tilted 15 degrees forward.
“You feel like you’re being pushed into the movie, and it’s just an amazing experience,” said Lauren Ricks, Into the Blue Creative Business Agency’s Vice President of Client Relations and Media.
Pod style seating
Each theater offers pod-style seating with wide, heated, reclining seats. The seats are considered zero gravity.
“It puts your spine in the best possible position in a supine position, so it’s the least amount of pressure on your spine,” Comess said.
Each seat has a QR code that allows moviegoers to order food, wine, cocktails, beer, mocktails and other concessions. An employee of Paragon Theaters ensures delivery to the person who placed the order. It allows moviegoers to get a refill or concessions without leaving their seats.
Each cinema visitor is also assigned a specific seat when purchasing a ticket.
The Paragon Theaters have a full menu of chicken wings, potstickers, sliders, burgers, tacos, wraps, quesadillas, pizza and vegetarian options.
“You don’t have to make plans,” Ricks said. “I know where to eat before or after [the movie]†
Chef Chris Jenkins recommends the chicken quesadillas or a chicken wrap.
The kitchen offers popcorn, Pepsi products and three flavors of ICEE: Cherry, Mountain Dew and Blue Raspberry.
Desk Bar and Social
According to Comess, the bar has been owned by Paragon Theaters since March.
It is a 100-foot indoor-outdoor bar with a fire pit and lounge area, serving 40 draft beers and craft cocktails. Someone who wants to eat or drink at the Agency Bar and Social does not need a cinema ticket.
Paragon Theaters also offer smaller theaters, seating 40 to 100 people.
“We try to make it very intimate,” Comess said. “Again, we’re more concerned with the filming process and the experience.”
Tickets and lobby
While customers can go to a booth to order tickets and concessions, the theater also offers touchscreens.
“All the seats are reserved, so you don’t need those big lobbies where people are waiting in line, hoping to get a seat, hoping to get a good seat,” Patterson said. “So this is really just to drink and enjoy [and] to mix and mingle.”
The technology is designed to enhance the guest experience.
“We’re trying to turn the whole cash register around” [and] concessions upside down,” Comess said. “What we’re trying to do with Fenton is we minimize wait times and minimize lines in the large space occupied by a concession stand.”
In addition to the Agency Bar and Social, Paragon Theaters offers a large outdoor screen for customers. Comess said customers can place outdoor furniture around the screen to gather and socialize.