- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 3, 2004

Washington and Philadelphia are teaming up to show off their national treasures. The competing destinations are joining forces for a new promotion in connection with next month’s release of “National Treasure,” a film starring Nicolas Cage, which takes place in Washington and Philadelphia at some of the country’s most historic sites.

The program was created by the Washington DC Convention and Tourism Corp. and the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp. Both have contributed $100,000 for the project.

“Visitors to the Mid-Atlantic have been pairing up our two cities for quite some time, and we have been looking for a way to make that connection easier for them,” said Meryl Levitz, president and chief executive of the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp. “With Hollywood shining the spotlight on landmarks such as Independence Hall and the National Archives in this new movie, we felt that the timing was right.”

Here’s a quick synopsis of the movie, without giving anything away: Mr. Cage’s character, Benjamin Franklin Gates, is in search of a war chest that was hidden by the Founding Fathers after the Revolutionary War. The chest’s whereabouts are hidden in clues on the back of the Declaration of Independence, which is housed at the National Archives. When Mr. Gates learns of plans to steal the historical document, he decides to steal it himself.

The movie opens nationwide Nov. 19.

The program includes a 10-panel, four-color brochure that maps the movie’s path in both cities — highlighting locations such as the National Mall and Library of Congress in the District and Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell Center and Washington Square Park.

Participating hotels in both cities are adding discounts and package perks. Loews L’Enfant Plaza Hotel in Southwest, for example, has rooms starting at $135 per night on weekends, which includes continental breakfast, a collapsible cooler with drinks and snacks, and a disposable camera.

Amtrak also has discounts on fares between the two cities.

More information can be found at www.movietour.org.

Air mall

Tysons Corner Center has named Independence Air the mall’s official airline and customer service center sponsor.

As part of the partnership, the airline, which started flying out of Washington Dulles International Airport in June, will be promoted in the mall on maps, directories, displays, online marketing and at the customer service center desk.

Officials won’t disclose the cost of the partnership.

A spokesman for the McLean shopping mall said officials at Independence Air approached mall officials about the partnership to help build brand awareness.

In other news …

• Magic Johnson Theatre is scheduled to open in Landover on Friday at the Boulevard at the Capital Centre. The 52,500-square-foot, 12-screen theater complex has stadium-style seating and accommodates 2,600 moviegoers.

• EuroMotorcars, which has a location in Bethesda, is opening a second Mercedes-Benz dealership in Germantown. The 60,000-square-foot, $20 million facility, at the Germantown Town Center, will have 60 employees.

Donna De Marco can be reached at 202/636-4884. Retail & Hospitality runs every other Monday.

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