The turnaround could offer a glimmer of hope for the darkened theater and for Independence Plaza. The South Broad Street shopping center lost its two anchor tenants — Destinta and a Superfresh grocery store — in the past seven months.
It’s one of several plazas in Hamilton to see occupancy rates tank in the past few years.
Michael Angarone, Hamilton’s economic development director, said he is hopeful a theater replacement can draw in new businesses.
“It’s a good thing, especially in that area where they’ve had some stores closing,” said Angarone. “Hopefully, it’ll be a catalyst for some other things.”
Down the street, construction has also started on a Bottom Dollar discount food store at a the site of a long-vacant Pathmark.
Kafash and his brother, company president Ben Kafash, said they, too, want customers back at Independence Plaza.
To do that, they’ve come up with what they believe is a winning business strategy: offering movie tickets at bargain-basement prices.
Ben Kafash said movie tickets at Destiny 12 will cost just $5, all day, every day.
“Harry Potter, Smurfs, Captain America, all the new ones coming out are going to be one price for all,” said Peter Kafash.
The company, which operates four other theaters in Rhode Island, Florida and Connecticut, offers a similar price plan at two of its locations.
According to Cinema Holdings’ website, moviegoers in Palatka, Fla., can pay $5 to see new releases such as the latest Harry Potter movie and “Transformers 3” for $5, along with slightly staler fare such as “Despicable Me,” an animated children’s movie that premiered last summer.
At the company’s Rumford, R.I., theater, prices are even lower, at $2.50 per ticket and $1.50 on “Recession Tuesdays,” although blockbusters such as Harry Potter are missing from the lineup.
“We want to bring the Hamilton plaza back to life again and we’re going to do whatever effort it takes to do that,” Peter Kafash said about the company’s low prices.
AMC Hamilton 24, about eight miles away, charges $11 for adults and $8 for kids after 4 p.m.
The Kafashes said they are in talks to rehire some of Destinta’s staff and planning some minor cosmetic changes to the 12-year-old theater. Larger-scale renovations could follow in coming months, and Ben Kafash said promotions such as birthday parties and so-called Mommy Matinees are also in the works.