Wednesday, March 30, 2011

theater experience

The topic seems to be a common one. It is worth it to go to the movies, or is the home experience just as good, or better? I for one feel that there is something intrinsic about the movies that some films are just meant to be experienced at the theater. Key word: EXPERIENCED. Others, may be best enjoyed at home with a savings in cost.

Theater owners are meeting this week in Vegas for their industry convention. With declining ticket sales and attendance, theater owners are scrambling for ideas to revitalize the movie goers options.

Food and drink seems to be the focus this year. I for one, would enjoy the option of a cocktail in theaters. Surprisingly, the major chains are considering more upscale options, with a minimal increase in cost, $2-4 per ticket. In the Portland Metro area we have had for several years the option at Cinetopia. Their website includes info that in addition to the original Vancouver location, a Beaverton and second Vancouver location are to be opened in June and November of 2011 respectively. While I enjoy their Living Room theater experience (mainly the large, roomy armchair like seat with footrest and tray) the additional cost does make me choose carefully which movies I am willing to spend the extra change on. Frankly, since Jennica moved to Milton-Freewater, I have only been to Cinetopia once. It was for a 3-D showing of Avatar over a year ago. Do note, that they take 3-D very seriously at Cinetopia. My observation is that the gap between regular concession fair and the gourmet options is significant. While the typical concession items are primo, I have not been able to enjoy a cocktail. Similar to a point made in a recent Entertainment Weekly print article on the topic, I am concerned about movies being constantly interrupted for those requiring wait staff service. I like the limitation that once the movie starts, no more orders can be placed.

Check out the article on the owners convention here: Landmark theater owner wants to check out the competition at Cinetopia.

EW does not seem to have archived their article, though I did find the clever artwork (above). They also featured approximately ten theaters around the country with varying food options and perks. Portland's downtown Living Room multiplex was included and the Seattle location made me want to drive three hours just to see a movie there. Not bad NW! Seems to me about seven years ago EW did a similar article. That one featured Kennedy School and put it in my head that if I made it to Austin, I would visit the theater highlighted.

Shout out to all the alternate options in P-town. Those previously mentioned, the various McMenamins theaters and Laurelhurst theater. Also, Valley Theater on Beaverton-Hillsdale is McMenamins-esk. Beer and pizza are available, no art.

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