Soledad’s new movie theater is celebrating its grand opening this weekend. | Monterey County NOW Intro

Aga Popęda here with a weekend activity idea: Why not attend the grand opening of Soledad’s new movie theater and enjoy a free movie screening? The grand opening festivities will start at 10am on Saturday, May 21, at the brand-new Premiere Cinemas, located at 499 Nestles Road in Soledad.

The whole family is invited—big and small—and the advice is to get there early as the first 200 people will receive free movie souvenirs. The movie (the 2005 sci-fi adventure comedy Zathura: A Space Adventure) will start at 10:30am and the celebration is slated to end at 1pm. In the afternoon, the theater will resume its regular screenings, with Downton Abbey: A New Era, Firestarter, Around The World In 80 Days, The Northman, Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness, The Bad Guys and Sonic The Hedgehog 2 playing on the theater’s eight screens.

It took Soledad years to make this dream come true. Before the Premiere Cinemas multiplex opened, locals had to go to King City for a big screen experience. Now Premiere Cinemas is officially the biggest movie theater in south Monterey County—King City Cinemas (200 Broadway St.) has only three screens.

In 2019 Soledad had a groundbreaking for a movie theater that city officials thought would be a key piece of the city’s economic plan. Then the Covid-19 pandemic slowed everything, and doubled the construction cost, says event emcee and radio personality Matthew Arnett, who will lead the opening ceremony.

“We already had a soft opening,” Arnett says—that was in October 2021. There was even a ribbon cutting, but not many residents know about the theater yet. “Hollywood was holding back on releases and not many people were going to the movies. Now, it seems, people are again willing to come out in numbers.”

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All the city officials and many county officials will be there, including Soledad Mayor Anna Velazquez, Soledad City Manager Brent Slama and Monterey County Supervisor Chris Lopez. The Soledad High School band will also perform.

“We are thrilled to have Premiere Cinemas here in our community and wish them tremendous success upon their official Grand Opening,” Slama said in a press release. “It is such a great opportunity for the residents of Soledad to keep their entertainment dollars local and we hope that adding new retail and restaurant opportunities in the near future will help Premiere Cinemas business to grow even more.”

“It’s a very proud moment for this town,” Arnett says. “The multiplex sits on a brand new parking lot that is still empty. But the stores are coming.” Now you can visit to see the potential of this new shopping plaza for yourself, and catch a movie while you’re there.

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