Sixteen years ago, Layton didn't have a single indoor movie theater. Now it's on the verge of becoming the movie capital of Utah and the Intermountain West with 36 total indoor screens.

Cinemark U.S.A. announced last December it would demolish its Movies 6 complex in Layton this year and build a new 16-screen facility on the site by fall, giving Cinemark, in addition to its existing Movies 10 building, 26 movie screens on the Layton Hills Mall Ring Road.Now another theater chain, Cineplex Odeon, is planning to build a 10-screen complex just a few hundred feet to the north at 700 West and 1525 North.

This will give Layton three dozen movie screens in a half-block area. That's more than twice the number of movie screens in all of Weber County and double what the rest of Davis County has. (Salt Lake County has 102 indoor movie screens.)

Ironically, Layton had the Ritz indoor theater from 1941 to 1968, but when it closed 27 years ago, all the city had left was the Davis Drive-In for 12 years until 1980 when Movies 6 opened. Movies 10 opened in 1990, and the Davis Drive-In was torn down in 1993.

Cineplex Odeon presented its site plan to the Layton Planning Commission Tuesday. Scott Carter, Layton's director of community development, said the Cineplex theaters will have a total of 2,350 seats on a four-acre site that is part of the Heritage Park Development north of the mall.

He said the theaters will share parking with several proposed near-by office buildings, which will mean there will be 600 parking spaces available.

"They're neck and neck," Carter said of the Cineplex and Cinemark proposals, explaining they are almost racing to see who will be first to open. He said the two companies are about equal in the building-site approval process.

Carter expects Cinemark to present its site plan to the Planning Commission at its Feb. 28 meeting.

The Cinedome in Riverdale and the Wilshire theater in Ogden are currently the closest Cineplex-Odeon theaters to Layton.