Reel excitement rolls into Rocklin
Workers are putting the finishing touches on the brand new, state of the art Blue Oaks Cinema 16 theaters off Highway 65 and Blue Oaks Boulevard scheduled to open at midnight Thursday.
The theater is owned by a Bay Area family business called SR Entertainment Group, which operates 125 screens at 14 theater locations including one in Lodi. Its President Dan Tocchini can’t wait for his much anticipated opening with “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1,” which opens at 12:05 a.m.
Tocchini has put nearly $10 million into the theater, converting it from an old Mervyn’s department store. Now he’s eagerly awaiting the aroma of the popcorn and the thrill of the crowd on opening night.
“Sometimes I go down to the front and look back at the faces as the Disney sign comes on and see all their faces lit up,” Tocchini said. “There is always excitement on opening night.”
Tocchini’s father started the business in 1924 at a small theater in Santa Rosa.
“It was a Nickelodeon,” Tocchini said. “The movies weren’t talking yet so he would play the organ.”
Tocchini shared his father’s love of the movies and has helped run the business with his wife and children ever since.
Blue Oaks will be the first in the country to offer Ultra Digital Cinema with a ceiling to floor screen and 29 speakers embedded in the ceiling, walls and behind the screen. All of the movies will play out of a server with crystal-clear images.
“There are no moving parts in digital. The last person that sees it is as good as the first person,” Tocchini said. “You won’t see scratches and tears on the print.”
Visitors will notice fancy movie posters, which have video screens to project not only the poster image but the movie trailer itself. The hallmark of the high-end concessions will include the old movie popcorn flavor of coconut oil, which was removed from the industry nearly two decades ago in favor of canola oil.
“Popcorn does taste better with coconut oil,” Tocchini said. “About 15 years ago they said it was bad for you; now they say it’s not. They now make a mix of coconut and canola, we’re looking at that.”
Curious Roseville residents Charlie and Barb Fass are anxiously anticipating the opening.
“We love the movies and seeing the theater all lit up when I go to work in the morning, I knew it’s got to be soon,” Barb Fass said.
Tocchini hopes the Fass family will join nearly a million yearly visitors expected from as far away as Auburn and Citrus Heights.
Tocchini said his theater is considered a different market area than the Roseville theater so they won’t have to compete for the new movies.
Tocchini said he was amazed by the 108 new job openings the theater brought to Rocklin that drew 1,700 applicants.
“There were lines to get in line,” Tocchini said. “It was amazing the response to the ad.”
The construction contractor said 150 jobs were created for the construction of the multi-plex. Surrounding businesses can’t wait for the flood of entertaining customers attracted to the movies. Operators of the new pizza joint called Skipolini’s in the theater’s parking lot moved up their opening a week in anticipation of tonight’s opening, and OMG! Yogurt owners picked the Blue Oaks center location to attract business from the theater as well.
Tocchini said the theater will be running a full schedule starting Friday.
Blue Oaks 16 Cinemas
Where: Blue Oaks & Lonetree Boulevards
How much to build: $10 million
Capacity: 3,000 rocking seats
Features: All digital picture & sound
Opening: At midnight Thursday
Prices: $5.50 to $15.25; for details on ticket costs, go to www.northamericancine
For more photos: Sneak peek at Blue Oaks Cinema 16 - Rocklin's movie theater