The end for one movie theater, the start for another


The Mirror

Galaxy Cinemas, the company that formerly managed the Galaxy 8 theater in Gateway Center, is bidding farewell to Federal Way.

But the theater itself won't be closing down. Dallas, Texas-based Starplex Cinemas is expected to officially take over operations of the theater next Tuesday.

Starplex plans to eventually add stadium-style seating and screens to the eight-screen theater. Starplex president Steve Holmes said the name of the theater will change to Gateway Movies 8 once the new operator takes over.

"Our plan with the landlord is to come in and expand," he said.

Including its new Federal Way location, Starplex runs 20 theaters in California, Texas, Colorado and Indiana.

Holmes said Starplex will operate the theater here in much the same way Galaxy did, offering first-run feature films and standard concession fare and even keeping most of the existing staff.

"The (Galaxy) operators were doing a good job," Holmes said. "We're not planning to change operations."

Galaxy Cinemas general manager A.J. Witherspoon was unavailable for comment, but Galaxy has indicated the ongoing bankruptcy proceedings of Gateway Center and potential competition from a 16-screen theater slated for The Commons at Federal Way (formerly SeaTac Mall) contributed to the movie company's decision to leave.

Galaxy 8 was the only theater in the city after AMC left its Seatac South location in the mall in August 2001 and its Seatac North location in September 2002.

Century Theaters plans to open its megaplex theater at the mall this year. Plans that were initially announced in November 2003 included a late-2004 opening.

Officials of San Rafael, Calif.-based Century say the theater will feature stadium seating, wall-to-wall screens, rocking love seats and a cafe.

Staff writer Erica Hall: 925-5565,

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