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By C. Jayden Smith

Leadership from The Outlets at San Clemente and the Metropolitan Theatres Corporation were present to welcome guests into the new MetroLux Theatre for a soft opening on Thursday afternoon, Feb. 24.

“It’s a really powerful feeling of fulfillment because it’s the fruition of an incredible team effort that many, many people took part in to make happen, with a tremendous amount of energy and time,” Dale Davison, Metropolitan Theatres’ senior vice president of operations and development, said of the moment. “It’s a real high.”

While the theater did not show its first movie until 3:50 p.m., first-time guests were still able to explore, see the progress made, and buy concessions.

Monique Cecil and her son Drew were the first official customers of the cinema. Cecil had heard about the development before its opening, and she would repeatedly check to see when opening day would come, as she was excited to have a movie theater back in town.

“I think it’s beautiful,” said Cecil, who bought tickets for an upcoming birthday party. “I think they worked hard on it, and under the circumstances, with COVID stopping the construction and I’m sure things were difficult to do during that time, they still tried as much as they could to open as soon as possible.”

The Outlets’ partnership with Metropolitan was born out of an opportunity that arose once George Krikorian, former movie theater mogul, left the industry.

“George basically retired, and that sent us scrambling again because we wanted to find the right operator who could do a great job here,” said Steve Craig, owner of Craig Realty Group and the Outlets.

He added that their vision was to have more than a theater, but an evening experience.

“We probably spent twice as much time as most people would spend on a normal theater, maybe three times, putting in all the different elements that you see here,” Craig said.

Of the multiple options that were available with which to partner, the Outlets found a corporation that had staying power, experience, and knew what Craig wanted.

The official grand opening has yet to be announced.

C. Jayden Smith graduated from Dana Hills High in 2018 before pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in digital and broadcast journalism from the University of North Texas. After graduating in December 2020, he reported for the Salina Journal in Salina, Kansas. Jayden loves college football and bothering his black lab named Shadow.

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