Movie lovers have been longing for it for years, and now, the new Regal Stonefield Stadium 14 and IMAX is finally open for business. The crowds came out Friday to kick off the opening weekend for the biggest theater in Albemarle County.
"It doesn't feel like it's in Charlottesville," Albemarle County resident Ben Deng said of the new theater. "It's kind of modern. I feel like I'm in New York City."
Deng and his friends were just a few of the many moviegoers who lined up to see Skyfall, the latest James Bond movie. Some people stopped by hours in advance to secure their tickets for the flick. Others faced sold-out showings once they hit the box office.
Matt Fazenbaker and his group of friends, all University of Virginia first-year students, came out to see the action thriller. Fazenbaker said, although there are other options nearby, he and his friends are willing to make the trek to the Stonefield development because of the variety.
"There's a movie theater a little closer to us downtown, but that doesn't have nearly as many films or new films as this one does," said Fazenbaker.
The group waited more than two hours to see Skyfall, after the viewing they originally planned to see had no seats left.
Also hard to come by -- parking. There are paved lots, spots lining the street and even a garage directly beneath the theater, but some patrons say it's not enough.
"There are no parking places," said Albemarle County resident Marie Grant. Grant and her husband don't think it's just an opening-night rush. They say they suspect once all the neighboring businesses open, parking will be an even bigger mess.
"I don't know where they're going to park, really," Grant said. "We just think that's kind of poor planning."
Street-side parking spots were snatched up by drivers circling the cinema as soon as they became available. The garage attached to the theater remained full or nearly full for most of the afternoon and evening. The lots, the farthest walk from the theater, were the least congested Friday.
The new theater joins the other shops and restaurants set to make up The Shops at Stonefield. The businesses have had staggered openings.