Flexing Their Plexes 

Century opens in Walnut Creek; movies 'n' antiques in Alameda.

Walnut Creek gets its own: Century Theatres is slowly taking over the cinema world, but seems to be avoiding certain lucrative urban areas like the plague. With 107 screens in eight East Bay plexes, including seven mainstream-oriented Century theaters and one CinéArts in Pleasant Hill, the San Rafael-based company claims it has no plans to move into Oakland and Berkeley anytime soon. But Nancy Klasky, Century's VP of marketing, views her company's East Bay operations as a self-sufficient entity, and they're doing fine all over Northern California, thank you very much. Century attributes that success to its attention to detail. "What we decided was that we at Century feel that presentation experience is paramount to people," Klasky says, "because they could be sitting at home watching television, but no, you choose to come to a movie theater." The company's latest East Bay location is the Century 14 Downtown Walnut Creek, which opens to the public on Friday. The theater will feature two Cafe Cinemas, one on each level. "It's an opportunity to, either before or after the movie, get an espresso or cappuccino and a dessert and maybe talk about the film with somebody," Klasky explains. "This is not something to come in and have a meal, but you don't have to purchase a movie ticket to come to the cafe." The Century 14 Downtown Walnut Creek is at 1201 Locust St. See CenturyTheaters.com for show times and details. -- Stefanie Kalem

Antique night at the movies: Allen Michaan of Renaissance Rialto has always been an antiques fanatic. In fact, his theater chain, led by the sumptuous Grand Lake, could be considered a collection of antique movie houses that just happen to play films. With the opening of the new Movie Classics by the Bay, he is again combining his two passions in one spot -- the luxurious sales auditorium of Auctions by the Bay, at 2700 Saratoga Street in Alameda. Michaan, who takes credit for establishing the Paramount Theatre's movie series back in 1989, rehabbed the former Naval Air Station's base theater into what he calls a "glamorous, opulent" 450-seat showcase for antique auctions, but "it was sitting there empty much of the time." Now it's open for Friday and Saturday screenings of 35mm prints of such Hollywood classics as The Maltese Falcon (July 25) and Philadelphia Story (July 26). Each film shows twice, at 7:00 and 9:30 p.m. Admission is $7, $5 children and seniors, and even though the interior is too posh to suffer popcorn, candy and snacks are available. Movie Classics' first calendar, booked through September 27, comes direct from the Warner Bros. library. Log onto AuctionsbytheBay.com -- Kelly Vance

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