Mann Hazard Center 7 Theatres
Mission Valley, San Diego, CA, USA

This is the last remaining multiplex in the Mann Theatres chain operating in San Diego. Not far from this theatre are two AMC megaplexes with 38 screens in total. As a result of such competition, this theatre has courted and become a home for a number of local film festivals, including the San Diego Asian Film Festival (late September) and the San Diego Latino Film Festival (early March). Mainstream films are also shown here.

Exterior of the theatre. There is another marquee at the opposite side of the complex, near a busy street and is visible from a nearby freeway. The theatre is right across the street from a San Diego Trolley stop.

The concession stand.

Auditorium entrance. All seven screens are THX-certified. (This is the only multiplex in the San Diego city area to boast this.) Screens 1, 2, 6, and 7 also feature DTS digital sound. Sound is clean, full, and articulate, especially where DTS is used.

Screen 6, a 190-seat auditorium. Screens 1-5 are also of the same capacity.

Screen 7, the largest house at 400 seats and the only screen featuring a curtain. The curtain is raised so the NCN ad slides can be shown as patrons arrive, then is lowered about two minutes before the show, then raised once the show starts. Shows end with the lowering of the curtain.

Typical projection console for Screens 1-5. Projector heads are Century SA-TA, soundheads are Century R3E, and consoles are Xetron XCN35 2Ks.

Automations are all ORC VA-301. Start timers are installed in all consoles, but shows are manually started.

Xetron dimmers, mounted on the rear of the console, handle the houselight duties.

Typical sound rack for Screens 1-6. All amplifiers are QSCs. The rack for Screen 2, shown here, boasts a Dolby CP-55 with SRA-5 SR adaptor. Screen 6 has a CP-55 (no SR). Ultra*Stereo JSX-1000s are used for the remaining screens. On the DTS-equipped houses, the playback units were placed on top of the rack due to lack of space within.

Film is served up on ubiquitous Christie AW3R platters in all screens.

Bevan-Poos hold a short subject in place for a film festival screening.

Screen 5 equipment, with an Elmo XP-750 xenon 16mm projector brought in for the 2001 San Diego Asian Film Festival. I custom-built the stand to allow projection out of the observation port. Needless to say, threading the 35mm projector and focusing both 16 and 35 were somewhat of a challenge. The lens for the 16mm was slightly shorter than optimal, requiring the "poor man's aperture plate" on the port glass to control spillover. The 16mm picture looked quite good, though.

We also showed video, using rented Sony Betacam decks (shown here) feeding Christie "Roadster" DLP projectors installed above the auditorium entrance alcove (these video setups are the reason for the taped-down extension cords shown in some of the booth photos). The company installing the projectors were unable to come up with the appropriate lenses and had to resort to digital scaling of the picture to fit the screen, resulting in an image almost painful to watch.

Screen 6 equipment, again in film festival mode with a Xetron/Fumeo 900 16mm projector the theatre has on hand for such occasions, as well as another Betacam deck. The Magnacom shown attached to the scope adaptor bracket is required to use the 2-inch standard lens for this situation. I brought in a 1-1/2-inch lens to fill the screen without the Magnacom. Access to the 35mm equipment was just as compromised as in Screen 5.

The 35mm setup is identical to Screens 1-5, except for the console.  For reasons unknown, this screen got a 4K console. There is a 2K lamp within, and it lights the screen just fine.

Threading path of the Fumeo. Look ma, no shoes!

Screen 7 equipment, with film being sent down to Screen 6 for an interlock showing. Here, we have a Century JJ1S-TA 35/70 rig and a 4K Xetron console. The ample sound rack, not shown, features a CP-65, USL magnetic preamplifier, the DTS playback unit (this time rack-mounted; 35mm-only reader on the projector), and QSC amplification. The results this combination puts on the screen with a 35mm scope feature are so good that you'd cry over the specter of digital projection. Too bad there's virtually no good 70mm to run here, especially on a platter setup.

Closeup of the Elmo 16mm, this time being used in Screen 7. Lack of appropriate lenses to adequately fill the screen resulted in the desperate act of gaffer-taping the Magnacom from the Fumeo onto this projector, the Magnacom resting perfectly in the recess in front of the lens holder. As ugly as this monstrosity looked, the on-screen results were actually bordering on excellent!

One of two film workbenches, this one made from the guts of a Kelmar table mounted on a door, installed on the frame of what looks like an old ORC MUT. (Don't ask why, but it works.) This was brought in to handle the crush of film-festival work and placed between screens 6 and 7. Above the bench, film is being sent from Screen 7 to Screen 6 in interlock.

The second and original film workbench, near Screen 5.

Special thanks to Jon Miller for the pics.