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The July 4th showtimes for Reading Cinemas Gaslamp 15 indicated a major change. How can a theatre that has only one digital projector present 3D screenings of The Amazing Spider-Man at noon and 1 pm?

The line stretched down 5th Ave. when I arrived for the 3:30 show. Manager Ken Gillich stood inside the lobby concierge booth doubling as a ticket seller. Gillich stopped to admire the pair of Spider-Man shoes the 5-year-old boy in front of me was wearing.

After cautioning the tyke not to walk on the ceiling, he greeted me with a smile. The good news was two auditoriums (#1 and #6) have been outfitted with new sound and projection systems.

"As you know, our #1 house is the best place to watch a movie in San Diego," said the proud manager, "and it's great to finally have a top of the line Barco 4K digital projector in the booth This projector woks at variable frames per second which will allow us to show The Hobbit, Avatar 2, and whatever else comes our way."

But wait, there's more! Audiophiles take note: according to Dolby's official website, the big Gaslamp is now one of only two non-IMAX theatres in the county (the other is the Edwards Escondido Stadium 16) equipped with Dolby 7.1.

Had I known ahead of time, I certainly would have arranged to attend a screening in the big house. As is, I arrived early and poked my head in and watched a few minutes on the 40-foot screen. The sound, focus, and brightness levels were so exact it gave me goose bumps.

Now if only they'd play something worth looking at. Lickona's dismissal of The Amazing Spider-Man pretty much echoes my sentiments.

Let's keep our fingers crossed that the big Gaslamp will follow Christopher Nolan's orders and screen The Dark Knight Rises in 35mm when it opens on July 20. If they do, there won't be a sweeter spot in town to watch it.

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