Lights, camera, hi-tech action...

The largest cinema complex in the country, equipped with state-of-the-art viewing technologies, opens in Haifa.

movie theater 88 224 (photo credit: Courtesy, Tzilum Pirsum)
movie theater 88 224
(photo credit: Courtesy, Tzilum Pirsum)
The only theater complex in the world to survive a direct hit by a Scud missile (during the 1991 Gulf War) will explode onto the Haifa scene today, July 4, as YesPlanet Haifa, the newly-crowned largest cinema complex in Israel, holds its grand opening. Located inside Cinemall (formerly the Lev Hamifratz mall) in Lev Hamifratz, Haifa, the complex is composed of 23 screening rooms, encompassing some 4,000 seats in total. According to promoters, YesPlanet promises to deliver the last word in cinematic experience: the latest in projector and audio technology, including 3-D movies, with an investment of around 100,000 Euros per screening hall; the "stadium seating" system, which increases the space and height difference between rows for more comfortable and unobstructed viewing; nine manned ticketing stations and 11 ticket machines, in addition to the option of ordering by phone or through the internet (though at increased charge); and enhanced accessibility to handicapped viewers. The state-of-the-art complex will be open seven days a week from 2 p.m. (11 a.m. on Saturdays, holidays and school vacations) until midnight, with frequent screenings (a movie begins almost every 15 minutes) and no intermissions. The complex includes a special VIP section for a more private experience, with four separate screening rooms (31 seats each), a lounge with plasma television screens, an open buffet and electronically reclining chairs. Normal tickets will cost NIS 35 each; VIP tickets are NIS 99. YesPlanet Haifa is the second "Mega-cinema" built by "Yes" and "Israel Theaters," after Ramat Gan's "Ayalon" complex, which was completed in 2006 (with 15 screening rooms). Plans are underway for the construction of a third in Rishon Lezion by 2010, which will be even larger than the Haifa complex, with 25 screening rooms. "We believe the enhanced viewing experience will make the people fall in love with film again," said Muki Greidinger, CEO of Israel Theaters.