Massively upgraded Pollack Tempe Cinemas reopens - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Massively upgraded Pollack Tempe Cinemas reopens

December 20th, 2021 development
Massively upgraded Pollack Tempe Cinemas reopens

By Ken Sain, Staff Writer

When you walk into the newly renovated Pollack Tempe Cinemas, Michael Pollack will be there to greet you himself, wearing his traditional black shirt.

Only it will be a hologram of the Chandler shopping center owner/developer – one of many new additions to his theater complex at Elliot Road and McClintock Drive, which has reopened after a 20-month closure.

There are 15 more holograms on the walls, showcasing some of the products for sale at the snack bar. The sound system has been upgraded, as have all the theater seats.

“We still have some of the things that are the original character that this theater has always had, at least since I’ve had it, and that is all the memorabilia, the collectibles, a lot of the posters and a lot of things that are from movies that are many, many, many, many years ago.”

Pollack added new decorative ceilings, changed the curtains on the sides of the theaters to give it a contemporary look and refurbished the floors.

“It reminds me of Disney,” Pollack said of his sparkling floors.

Pollack said he began planning reopening six to eight months ago. That included ordering three black crystal chandeliers from Spain.

Pretty much everything is new and improved. Some of the major improvements are in the bathrooms – where he installed touchless toilets, sinks, soap dispensers and paper towel dispensers.

That’s in direct response to the pandemic, which shut his theater down for nearly two years beginning in March 2020 after the government ordered all cinemas closed.

“We sat back and waited until we felt it was the right timing,” Pollack said. “First of all, there wasn’t a lot of content out, which was difficult.

Pollack Tempe Cinemas plays movies that have already been released and are on their second run. Movie fans who are patient can see the top movies a few weeks after everyone else, but pay a lot less. Tickets are only $3.50. The theater will only be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays to start.

Pollack didn’t set out to be a theater owner. He said he bought the strip mall on the southeast corner of McClintock and Elliot about 20 years ago and the existing theater owner wanted out. So he had three options, which were limited because the building’s floor sloped downward.

“I can tear down that building and start over,” Pollack recalled saying at the time. “Two, I can invent a new game called downhill bowling. Or, three, I can figure out how to run a movie theater.”

The time the theater was shut down gave Pollack a chance to make other upgrades. For example, patrons can now purchase their tickets and select their seats online, something they could not do before the pandemic.

However, he did bring back many of the favorites his regular customers enjoy. There are life-size figures of many entertainment legends, and others, including presidents.

One tradition Pollack is keeping alive involves the holiday lights outside his theaters. He said they put them up last year despite everything being closed down because he felt they needed a little holiday cheer.

“At night, it looks absolutely incredible,” Pollack said. He said there are hundreds of thousands of lights in the display and that thousands already have visited this year.

He said he recently went through a drive-thru holiday light display and it cost him $50. Pollack said people come to his mall at night to take their photos before his light display for free.

“This theater always had its own identity, it always had its own uniqueness,” Pollack said. “But now, it’s over the top. You’re not going to find a more contemporary theater than what you’re looking at right now anywhere in the United States that I know of.”


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