Maya reels into the old Brenden theater

Larena Hernandez

The Brenden Theaters said its goodbye after 22 years of service to its community. While many may wonder why it closed down so abruptly, the company simply decided to not renew its lease due to the lack of business. Award winning producer of well-known films, such as Selena, starring Jennifer Lopez, entrepreneur and community activist, Moctesuma Esparza, 63, grasped this opportunity right away.

Esparza is the CEO of Maya Cinemas, founded in 2007. There are two Maya Cinemas locations nationwide, the first being in Bakersfield, CA and second in Salinas, CA. Esparza is looking to expand the chain and by grasping the opportunity of the Pittsburg location, that is just what he is doing.

Why Maya Cinemas? Many members of our community have asked. What does that mean? Esparza’s goal in all that he does is to promote positive and inexpensive activities for the Latino community and low-income communities in general. The cinema does offer Spanish films upon request according to Project Manager Joe Madrid. “If enough people request it, we can do it. Just go to the website.” Madrid has been with the company for two years, originating from the Bakersfield location.

Esparza “would wake up because he would have dreams about how he wanted his theaters to be. He dreamt that we would have higher ceilings, larger screens and better speakers with surround sound,” says Amanda Daoud, House Manager. While the entire building has been restored and has been reconstructed a bit, to match its theme, there are a few changes that many locals can appreciate. With 10 theaters inside, two of them are the Maya Premiere Experience. Similar to IMAX, “It’s the best out there.  You have 28 speakers in each theater, stadium seating, surround sound, and bigger screens with digital projection screens,” Daoud adds. While the Maya Premiere Experience displays a high quality by utilizing state-of-the-art technology, every theater in Maya Cinemas has the most advanced speakers, stadium seating, digital projection screens for the clearest picture, and comfortable rocker seats with cup holders. When asked what makes Maya Cinemas different compared to its competitors Daoud responded with, “Our customer service. We treat every customer like a celebrity walking in, because we want them to have a good experience and come back. Without them, we wouldn’t have jobs. Also, our prices. We are able to maintain the best customer service for only $9.50, I visit our competitors, and you don’t get that.”

In celebration of Maya Cinemas’ grand opening, the theater offers Family Day every Tuesday with an admission fee of only $5.50 excluding all Sony Pictures, $2.00 hot dogs available Mondays and Tuesdays, as well as Wednesdays being Senior Day with an admission fee of $4.00. Regular admission, fees are $9.50 for adults and $6.50 for children ages 3-12, and $6.50 for a matinee. There is an additional fee of $2.50 for any 3D films. Brentwood resident, Jane Hall enjoyed her first visit to the theater, “It’s beautiful! You can’t beat a senior price of $4.00.” She and her husband came to see “Bourne Legacy”. While many are enjoying their first visit, many have already become familiarized with the theater. “This is my third visit and I love it,” says local Denise Grahm, while purchasing snacks before viewing “Lawless”.

The theater is working on adding two more theaters as well as an arcade, and benches in the lobby area. There is no set date as to when this will be done, but management is hoping for Christmas.

To fulfill your enjoyment during your comedy, drama, or thriller, you can expect the traditional snacks such as popcorn, pizza, ice cream, nachos and churros for about $1.50, a price that is  less than any other theater in the area. To avoid customers waiting in long lines, they also offer self-serve touch screen soda machines with over 125 different flavors to choose from.

Relying on word of mouth advertising, if you plan on attending the Pittsburg Seafood Festival, there will be snack coupons on the back of your tickets.

As for Brenden’s previous employees, Maya Cinemas did their best to contact them for employment opportunities.

During the month of September they will be promoting their Blockbuster Film festival by showing some of movie viewer’s past time favorite movies such as “Jurassic Park”, “Grease”, “The Princess Bride”, and “Raiders of the Lost Ark” for only $6.

Maya Cinemas would like to give Los Medanos College students the opportunity to tell them what movies they would like to see back in theaters and they will happily extend the film festival. To do so contact Amanda Daoud at [email protected]

The theater’s hours of operation are seven days a week 9:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Hours may vary depending on showtimes. Stop by the Maya Cinema, and enjoy the friendly atmoshphere.