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Multiplex Here to Stay

National Amusements plan to keep theatre open.

National Amusements says they have no plans to sell the Mount Vernon Multiplex Cinemas. Rumors had been circulating that the land was up for sale and that the theater was closing.

“We are not closing, we are excited about what’s coming up,” said Steve Bochan, district manager of National Amusements.

He was talking about the summer line-up of new movies — Star Wars, Madagascar, Longest Yard, Herbie, Bewitched, and Batman.

Lee District Supervisor Dana Kauffman has heard other things from his sources and said, “My understanding is that while there is no eminent date of closure that the property is being marketed.”

He wasn’t clear if that information was accurate, and said, “I believe that you will still be able to see Star Wars there.”

“We’re just getting started,” said Bochan, who is very familiar with the Richmond Highway location. He can remember not only when it first opened — November, 1986, but when it was a drive-in theater before that.

“We started out as a drive-in [movie] company,” Bochan said. “We came roaring into town and developed property that we already owned.”

They also converted the drive-in theater on Lee Highway and Lee Highway Multiplex Cinemas opened in December, 1986, a month after Mount Vernon.

Back then, there was no Wal-Mart or Home Depot at that end of Richmond Highway. “People asked why are you building this beautiful theater in the middle of this mess.” Bochan said. “We were the first to show faith in Southeast Fairfax.”

Bochan said that they were the first theater in the area with rocking recliners, stereo sound and big screen. He admits that 20 years is a long time for a theater and said, “They’re due for a review. We’re constantly refurbishing and replenishing.”

Bochan said that most of the shows aren’t selling out, but looking on the bright side, said, “It’s a guarantee that you’re going to get a seat.”

He also said that it’s a perfect alternative for people who don’t want to sit in traffic getting to one of the newer theaters in the area. One of those theaters is their own — the Fairfax Corner 14: Cinema De Lux. Bochan said that it was “state-of-the-art and blows anything out of the water. It’s the only theater with stadium seating in Fairfax County and has a lounge and a restaurant.”

“We wanted to build a destination station, but there’s a place for each kind of venue. We’re holding our own in Mount Vernon. The popcorn’s never tasted better,” Bochan said.