The number of movie screens within Baltimore is set to practically double, with the planned Nov. 2 opening of a seven-screen theater in Harbor East, the burgeoning neighborhood between the Inner Harbor and Fells Point.
The 1,300-seat facility, to be operated by Los Angeles-based Landmark Theatres, will be part of a 35,000-square-foot commercial and residential complex at Aliceanna and President streets. Its opening will increase the number of theater screens within the city's borders to 15, including five at the Charles, two at the Rotunda Cinematheque and the single-screen Senator.
"From minute one, I was a huge proponent of this project," says Ted Mundorff, Landmark's chief operating officer. "I think it's a perfect place to have a movie theater. It's at the harbor, where activity seems to gravitate in the evenings. You're used to seeing 300, 400 people going to restaurants, being in and around the harbor. This is an awesome location."
The theater will offer a mix of arthouse and more mainstream fare, Mundorff said. "We'll offer some top art films, as well as some of the higher-in-demand studio releases ... smart, intelligent films. If it was open today, we'd be playing Eastern Promises, In The Valley of Elah, things like that."
Both films are in general release at theaters throughout the Baltimore area. The Landmark Theatres are also expected to compete for the sort of independent releases from smaller studios that would normally play at the venerable Charles, a fixture on the local arthouse scene for more than three decades.
Mundorff promised some new moviegoing experiences for Baltimore audiences, including a bar. Landmark operates two theaters in the Washington area: the district's E Street Cinemas and the Bethesda Row Cinema.
The Landmark project represents the first new theater construction since the Charles was expanded from one screen to five in 1999. It will be the first entirely new theater facility since the opening of United Artists' nine-screen Harbor Park Cinemas on Lombard Street in 1985. That facility closed in April 2000.
Besides the theaters, the Harbor East project will include two hotels (a Hilton Homewood Suites, which opened last week, and a Hilton Garden Inn), a condominium complex (The Vue, scheduled to open Oct. 10), a health club and other shops. It is being developed by H&S; Properties Development Corp. and Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse.