Blockbuster weekend as 5k throng to new cinema

The Mayor of Craigavon, Councillor Colin McCusker pictured at the Official Opening Day of the Omniplex Cinema at Craigavon with L to R:� Paul John Anderson (Operations Director), Orlaith Hughes, Jane Donnelly and Michael Magennis (Supervisor).
The Mayor of Craigavon, Councillor Colin McCusker pictured at the Official Opening Day of the Omniplex Cinema at Craigavon with L to R:� Paul John Anderson (Operations Director), Orlaith Hughes, Jane Donnelly and Michael Magennis (Supervisor).
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It was a block-buster weekend for Craigavon’s new cinema as crowds of around 5,000 thronged to view the latest movies over the weekend.

And owner Paul Anderson revealed that three new restaurants are expected to open within months at the Craigavon Omniplex site.

Mr Anderson said the crowds on the first weekend the cinema opened ‘exceeded expection’.

He said he was thrilled and put down the large numbers to a ‘curiosity factor’.

“It all went very smoothly. Nothing went wrong. We were well prepared and there were no major issues,” he said, adding: “We’ve been in this business 60 years,”

“There was great hype and we know people have been waiting patiently for the new cinema,” he said.

The luxury Omniplex Maxx which offers 3D immersive wall to wall sound, floor to ceiling curved screen leather rockers for premium seating giving you the ultimate cinema experience.

Mr Anderson revealed that a new 4,500sq ft restaurant, Bubba Drews which will seat 230 people and will be opening in mid-June. It is operated by the same company as Blue Chicago.

Also opening in mid-June is a new coffee shop and ice-cream parlour Sassy Elephant.

Meanwhile the Studio Grill will be opening in mid-July.

The cinema - which cost more than £5m - had ample parking space for the crowds of visitors and all eight screen rooms incluing the giant MAXX screen were ‘pretty much full’ on each night, said Mr Anderson.

“Not only are we proud to have brought up to 100 new jobs to the local population, we hope the state of the art cinema technology we have provided will be an added tourist attraction as well as a valuable local recreational amenity,” he said.

“It will be a good leisure destination for the area,” he added.

Constructed on the former Irish Road Motors site at Highfield Heights the Omniplex is one of numerous cinemas operated by the Anderson family both north and south of the border including at Market Street in Armagh, the Quays Shopping Centre in Newry and Lisburn.

Around 35 people will be employed in the cinema itself. The MAXX cinema in Craigavon will be the third of its kind in Omniplex cinemas in Ireland with Newry and Rathmines boasting the other two.