Mercer Mall Cinema

3371 US Highway 1,
Lawrenceville, NJ 08648

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Guodone
Guodone on October 8, 2020 at 5:01 pm

Nice theater. I took my son to see a couple of Disney movies there. We also saw the ‘updated’ version of Star Wars, A New Hope.

optimist008
optimist008 on July 12, 2016 at 12:53 pm

Good posting above and GCC’s other problem was that they were stuck in leases for theaters that became obsolete when other chains like National Amusements started multiplexing…

tombumbera
tombumbera on July 12, 2016 at 12:32 pm

General Cinema Corporation went under largely due to overbuilding. They got into a fierce screen-building competition with AMC, and AMC won. Among many factors in its decline was GCC’s corporate policy of building free-standing theaters (with higher overhead expenses)wherever possible as opposed to AMC’s policy of building in high-traffic shopping malls. Of course today AMC’s theaters are bigger than some shopping malls. Booking was also a problem – GCC’s head buyer passed on movies like “E.T.” while we played dogs like “Author, Author” with high guarantees. This meant that we played many films to near-empty theaters for way too long as we tried to recoup as much of the guarantee as possible. It is no coincidence that that booker left GCC to work for Fox distribution! Today Mercer Mall is booming and if GCC had stayed afloat they’d probably be doing quite nicely there.

tombumbera
tombumbera on July 12, 2016 at 12:17 pm

markp, I don’t know what union-vs.-non-union booth has to do with print wear. The alignment and tension on the take-up reel would be factors in sprocket hole damage. We had issues with this since the theater opened thanks to initial poor setup by a lousy RCA service man. I eventually learned how to address most of the problems in the booth myself. And perhaps I am misremembering after all these years but it seems to me that Universal’s prints (i.e. Jurassic) were made on a better film stock than Paramount’s (Saturday Night Fever). I never had to replace a Universal print. We were also running SNF five shows a day with midnight shows on the weekends. We ran SNF close to 1000 times during its run.

MrX
MrX on November 9, 2014 at 11:30 pm

I remember seeing JAWS there

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 4, 2013 at 8:08 pm

One, or perhaps both, of the expansions of the Mercer Mall Cinemas was designed for General Cinema Theatres by Port Washington, New York, architect James Thomas Martino.

markp
markp on September 5, 2013 at 7:24 pm

Not for nothing tombumbera, but I ran prints of Jurrasic Park at the old Amboys Multiplex for 9 months back when it first came out and we never had to replace the prints once. Of course we had a full union crew of projectionists, as opposed to the non-union crew that was at Mercer Mall.

tombumbera
tombumbera on August 11, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Mercer Mall Cinemas did indeed open Xmas 1975. I was the first head projectionist (from 1975-1979). The theater was very successful, with months-long (!) runs of “Saturday Night Fever” and “Animal House.” I had to get a replacement print for “Fever” due to extreme sprocket hole wear!

rivest266
rivest266 on October 2, 2011 at 4:38 pm

This opened on Christmas day, 1975. Grand opening ad posted here.

chubbyhubby
chubbyhubby on January 25, 2010 at 10:58 am

Dave, I was there about the same time you were (spring 1976). I was there to see ‘Peter Pan,’ but I distinctly remember ‘The Bad News Bears’ was playing simultaneously, because while waiting in line, I heard a father say to his son, “We’re not going to see ‘The Bad News Bears,’ we’re going to see ‘Peter Pan’.” (Wish I had seen BNB on the big screen. I had to settle for the bowdlerized TV version until home video came along.)

I too have great memories of the place. Saw ‘Animal House’ there back in ‘78, 'Airplane!’ in ‘80, 'Star Trek II’ in ‘82, etc., etc. Just went back yesterday to buy shoes for the kids, and made sure to let them know how it used to be.

On an unrelated note, anyone remember the old Game Barn arcade? It was right in the corner of the mall where TJ Maxx presently is. It opened in late ‘75, but I don’t think it survived the decade.

azpuma68
azpuma68 on December 13, 2009 at 6:19 pm

I saw the original Bad News Bears here. Great memory. A bunch of others during high school and shortly thereafter including The Mask and Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

CenturyJJ35
CenturyJJ35 on June 24, 2008 at 12:38 am

Mercer Mall Cinema I II III, opened in late 1975. Originally seating C 1- 543, C 2- 386, C 3- 336. It received a long overdue expansion and upgrade in 1988. At that time four new theatres were built on the north side ranging in size from 144 to 270 seats. The original theatres had new seats and screens with movable masking installed during this build, along with new speakers and Dolby CP 55 processors. During the next few years the larger theatres were equipped so they could play films with DTS, SRD, SDDS digital soundtracks. In the mid to late nineties Mercer Mall received its second and last expansion. Three new theatres were built on the south side of the building, ranging in size from 120 to 218 with large screens. All theatres were capable of all three digital sound formats by this time… Dolby CP 45 processors in 8 of 10 theatres. Projectors were Cinemacanica V-5 w/consoles and Christie AW3 platters in all theatres. Mercer Mall Cinema 10 closed in the fall of 2000 due in large part to the fact that it was a “flat” theatre… Stadium seating was all the rage, and with a brand new 24 screen with stadium seating within a few miles, and another new 12 screen with stadium seating a couple of miles past that… Mercer became a ghost town in short order. General Cinema itself was soon out of business… bought out by AMC.

amatin
amatin on January 5, 2007 at 12:16 pm

The information on this theater is incorrect. It was not built in the mid 80’s. I moved to Princeton in September 1980 and it was already there. It was converted from a three-plex to a 7-plex around 1988. I have a memory of “The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad” being one of the first movies to play when it re-opened. It converted because a year earlier the Movies at Marketfair! 9-plex opened just a short distance away. Infact, the Movies at Marketfair! and Garden Theater are the only theaters in the Princeton area from the 80’s that are still running.

amatin
amatin on January 5, 2007 at 12:16 pm

The information on this theater is incorrect. It was not built in the mid 80’s. I moved to Princeton in September 1980 and it was already there. It was converted from a three-plex to a 7-plex around 1988. I have a memory of “The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad” being one of the first movies to play when it re-opened. It converted because a year earlier the Movies at Marketfair! 9-plex opened just a short distance away. Infact, the Movies at Marketfair! and Garden Theater are the only theaters in the Princeton area from the 80’s that are still running.

teecee
teecee on March 2, 2006 at 2:45 am

Listed as a 7 screen in the 1991 International Motion Picture Almanac.

JackS124
JackS124 on December 27, 2005 at 8:45 pm

A DSW Shoe Warehouse now occupies the site of the former Mercer Mall Cinema.

I was kind of surprised when it closed because it was a nice theater. One of the last films I recall seeing there was “Gladiator” around Memorial Day 2000. The theater closed sometime later that fall.

John Fink
John Fink on July 18, 2005 at 7:04 pm

This was a General Cinema location.