A&E

Aquarius Theatre in Palo Alto promises new experience when it reopens

Landmark Theatres decides to update 1960s building with new seating, restrooms and lobby

Palo Alto's Aquarius Theatre has closed for significant interior renovations, with new seating, updated restrooms and an area in the lobby for moviegoers to enjoy beer, wine or food before watching a film.

"I think it will be a totally modern, boutique upscale theater," Landmark Theatres President and CEO Ted Mundorff said Monday.

The theater at 430 Emerson St., which was built in 1969 and has been operated by Landmark since 1985, closed on March 30 and will reopen in about four months. Landmark's lease on the downtown building was set to expire soon, and the company considered whether or not to stay in Palo Alto.

"The theater was old and tired. If we were going to stay, we needed to basically create a new theater," Mundorff said.

So over the next several months, the lobby will be reconfigured to allow for a new seating area; the theater seats will be replaced with "luxury seating" that is larger, reclines and is made from real leather; the restrooms will be upgraded and a new sound system, acoustical wall treatments and light fixtures will be installed.

Mundorff said he hopes the upgrades will attract new customers to whom the theater can introduce to independent film.

"It's just going to be a whole new experience to go to the theater," Mundorff said. "I would think of it as you've never been to a theater before until you've walked through the doors this time."

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