By now, since we can only imagine that since you are an astute fan of film who ravages the halls of the interwebs daily to find the most interesting movie news and tidbits, that you have heard of this new “luxury” movie theater chain that plans to charge upwards of $35 per ticket in exchange for some world-class amenities.
Beginning in South Barrington, a suburb of Chicago, Village Roadshow Ltd. will begin their march to build 50 Village Roadshow Gold Class Cinemas to the United States. The venture, which will cost over $200 million dollars, will bring Americans a theater experience so lavish, we may just never leave. The theaters will feature 40 reclining armchair seats with footrests, digital projection and the capability to screen 2D and 3D movies, as well as a lounge and bar serving cocktails and appetizers, a concierge service and valet parking.
On top of that, the chain will also feature its made-to-order meals like sushi and other theater-friendly foods from chefs on-site, similar to any Movie Tavern or Alamo Drafthouse, just with higher prices and fancier food. The chain will be geared toward “affluent and upscale” moviegoers, and will be placed near high-end shopping centers.
So this brings us to the question of the day: Is this your ultimate movie theater experience? One of luxury and fine foods? If not, what is your ultimate movie theater experience?
Personally, I am a big fan of unique theaters, ones that do not conform to the big chains that have been popping up all over the place. Places like the Arena Grand theater here in Columbus, Ohio, the Arclight in Hollywood or the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas.
The Arena Grand, my favorite hometown theater, is what I would consider to be the “luxury” cinema experience. With comfy leather seats in the balcony, a full bar and a wider array of food selection (like the Village Roadshow theaters, they serve sushi), this is a scaled down version of what Village Roadshow will be trying to accomplish. The only problem is that people in Columbus (which is a fairly affluent city), are often reluctant to lay down $12 to see a film at the Grand, so I can imagine they wouldn’t give a passing waive to the $35 price tag at the Roadshow theater as they head over to the local AMC to see a film.
What it comes down to, at least for me, is being comfortable but also remembering that it is a movie theater. You are not going there to lean back in dad’s leather recliner and eat Filet Mignon while you watch Saw V — you are going there to sit uncomfortably close to your neighbor, stuff your face with popcorn and be delivered into another world via the silver screen. My favorite theater experiences, had at places like The Eccles Center in Park City (which is a converted auditorium that uncomfortably seats 1,200 people during Sundance), is more about seeing a film with a huge crowd and feeling the energy generated by a great work of cinema. Sure, it is nice to sit in some wider, more comfortable seats once in a while (mostly because I have a fat ass), but I would take the experience of seeing a Tarantino flick on opening night at the Alamo Drafthouse any day.
Finally, as a professional movie patron, I will say this. The mainstream American public is looking for better movie theater experiences — digital projection, slightly more comfortable seating and maybe a few quirky and fun amenities — but we are not looking for Chez Louise to be delivered to our seat by some chap named Gaston.
But then again, that is just my opinion — what’s yours?