San Marcos, California: Outdoor Movies Back to Regularly Scheduled Program After Upgrades

A San Marcos shopping center with an outdoor movie screen has resumed its nightly entertainment schedule after suspending it for a few weeks to accommodate equipment upgrades.

Managers of the Civic Center Plaza said Friday that they also plan to expand the entertainment lineup to include more live acts and events, group movie nights and classic 3D films.

"The overall facility was designed to add an attraction for our community," said Ed Engle, president of Oceanside-based Asset Management Specialists Inc., which manages the property. "The goal is to have a presence in the community."

Entertainment has been a part of daily life in the Civic Center Plaza since it opened about two years ago at 133 N. Twin Oaks Valley Road.

Home to an L.A. Fitness center, a food court and two other buildings, the center has an outdoor courtyard with the movie screen, a small stage and a large fireplace. The McDonald Group, a Rancho Bernardo-based development firm, owns the property.

The management company oversees the center's entertainment. The lineup includes cartoons and short films shown on the movie screen from sunset to 10 p.m. five nights a week.

Family-friendly theatrical releases start running on the outdoor screen at 6:30 p.m. every Friday and Saturday, with a few dozen people typically pulling their chairs close to the fireplace to watch the movies.

A Pizza Nova restaurant in the center also sponsored replays of Mission Hills High School football games on the outdoor screen last fall.

The entertainment was temporarily stopped around Christmas so the center's video and audio equipment could be improved.

Engle and Nick Zynda, co-director of programming for the center, said the changes improved the clarity of images shown on the screen and made it possible for technicians to adjust individual speakers independently so their sound was audible to viewers but doesn't bother customers in outdoor eating areas at some of the food court's restaurants.

The center successfully hosted a November student film festival that showcased films made by local high school and college students. The event was such a success, Zynda said Friday, that the center will hold a second film festival at the end of June.

"We will begin accepting student film submissions for the festival as early as February," he said. "As always, all entertainment is free to the public and begins at sundown every day."

The popular time-travel movie, "Back to the Future," is scheduled to be shown on the screen Saturday night, weather permitting.

Andrea Moss


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