Movie Theater luxuries

Discussion in 'The Moving Picture' started by JimWagner, Jan 7, 2016.

  1. JimWagner

    JimWagner Practically Family

    Messages:
    946
    Location:
    Durham, NC
    My wife and I went to see the new Star Wars movie this afternoon, but the movie isn't really what this is about.

    We went to a new theater near us that's only been open about a month. On premises it had a bar and grill as well as a bowling alley.

    The theater had a "recline and dine" option. Recliners were grouped in fours and had power reclining mechanisms. Get there 30 minutes before show time and wait staff comes by with a menu you can order burgers, sandwiches, pizza, appetizers, drinks and such off of. Each recliner had a plate size swivel around table for your food.

    Oh, they still have all the usual concession stand items too.

    Movie tickets were about $8 each for the two of us. By the time we had lunch and watched the movie we dropped right at $60 including tips.

    We've been there and done that now. Don't think we'll drop that much on a movie again. On the other hand, dinner and a movie isn't exactly cheap anywhere.

    Anybody else seen variants on this kind of thing?
     
  2. buelligan

    buelligan One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    109
    Location:
    London, OH
    We've got a place here in Columbus that serves meals but the seats are more like roll around computer chairs and not recliners. It's still nice to get a decent meal at a theater though and you're right it isn't cheap but if you figure how much you would spend on a separate dinner and then a movie it's probably not that far off of the mark.
     
  3. Doctor Strange

    Doctor Strange I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    4,834
    Location:
    Hudson Valley, NY
    I recently went to one of the Alamo Drafthouse theaters in Austin (though there are now theaters in this franchise much closer to me than Texas!) It's a bit different in that there are normal rows of seats, but with a narrow table in front of each row running their entire length. You order food and drinks before, or put written orders up on the front of the table during the film. I dropped $50 for three meals and just sodas, but it was a fun experience. (The other selling point of this chain is that the films are programmed by serious film geeks, with expert projection and hilarious old ads and shorts airing before the features.)
     
  4. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,818
    Location:
    Nebraska
    They recently put in a bunch of reclining seats in our movie theaters - they call them "dream loungers." I haven't tried them out yet. :) Nothing as fancy as the dining options others have talked about, though. Just the standard, over-priced concession stand fare.
     
  5. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    We sell beer and wine at concerts -- bottled beer at $5 or $4 depending on the brand, and individual size bottles of Chardonnay or Cabernet at $5. I've deliberately priced these at a point where it's very expensive to get drunk, but that doesn't stop some people. If it was up to me, I'd get rid of the booze, because I hate dealing with drunks, but it's profitable, so we have to keep it.

    I set our concession prices specifically lower than the multiplex up the street, and haven't raised them in about seven years. We offer two tiers of packaged products -- regular boxed "movie candy" at $3, and high-end "artisanal" candy at prices from $1.50 to $4, depending on the item.

    Concessions may seem overpriced to those not in the business, but those price levels are necessary. With studios and distributors taking the majority of the ticket money, concession sales are the only source of profit for theatres, and even though we're a "non profit" with a membership program to supplement this income, concession sales are still vital to determining whether I, and nine other people, have jobs or not. If I see people smuggling stuff in, I take it away from them -- they're stealing the bread off my table, and I tell them so.

    There was some talk a few years ago about ripping the seats out of the balcony and installing "table service," but I told the GM I thought it was a bad idea, given the money we make from reserved ticket sales at the opera broadcasts, and she saw my point and that was the end of that. Our seats don't recline, since they date to 1968, but we did install cupholders during the renovation -- which I am constantly having to replace because inconsiderate jerkheads use them for footrests and keep breaking them off.

    We have self-flushing toilets, which do startle the elderly folks.

    A few weeks ago, one particular customer complained that she just HATES the awful stench of popcorn, and asked "Can't you sell steaks instead?" I have a hot dog machine where you impale the weenies on spikes and they rotate under a heating coil until they look like wizzled-up fingers of the dead, but I don't think that's quite what she had in mind.
     
  6. ChiTownScion

    ChiTownScion One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,888
    Location:
    The Great Pacific Northwest
    A new multiplex near us is exclusively reserved recliner seating: every seat in every auditorium. It's a pricier option, and the concessions are hiked up accordingly, but there is a comfort level that's nice. You get spoiled fast. Far cry from our newly married days when we'd view films at art houses in the city that were little more than the nickelodeons of old.
     
  7. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

    Messages:
    14,067
    Location:
    New York City
    My dad, who never read Adam Smith, Marx or Engles, was neither a right winger, nor a liberal, nor very political - did have some very ground up experience and wisdom that I continue to be amazed at. He was a local small business owner who also did a lot of charity work and, effectively, ran one for many years in the days before everything was formalized - i.e., he would, today, be referred to as "the head of...," then, as he said, it was just something he did to help the kids (it was for kids crippled [the term used back then] from Polio and other childhood diseases). But he always said to me, be it a family, you by yourself, a business, a charity or the government, in the end, someone has to "pay the bills." I heard it so much it just washed over me for years, but now I see its brilliance. A for-profit or not-for-profit entity have most of the same challenges - like your "non profit" theater - to meet payroll, pay rent, buy supplies, etc. It's funny, but the market - or the need for revenue to pay bills - always associated with the commercial world of for profit businesses, really exists everywhere - in charities, not-for-profits and even government social programs - because always, "someone has to pay the bills."

    Re, the popcorn women above: Based on so many of your stories, your customers are insane.
     
  8. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    Not so much insane as really, really entitled. I've learned more about bourgeois behavior in ten years of serving them than I ever possibly could from a lifetime of reading.

    What they do to my bathrooms could be a whole book in itself.
     
  9. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

    Messages:
    14,067
    Location:
    New York City
    I worked for years in Sterns, a mid-level department store, for years and found that most customers were somewhere between nice to okay, but a few were like the ones you highlight - beyond entitled. However, it was those entitled jerks who could ruin your entire day. Do you find it is a small percentage of your customers that are entitled or is it a big part?
     
  10. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    It depends on the type of show. The regular movie crowd is usually pretty good, but the opera crowd is something else again. They leave, by far, the worst messes of any crowd we get, and they really don't seem to care who they inconvenience as long as they get what they want. Some of the individuals in this crowd are OK -- there's one nonagenarian lady I'd crawl across broken glass to help -- but as a class, we always grit our teeth when we see them coming.

    I still have, tacked to the bulletin board in my office, a note one of them slipped into the suggestion box: TOO MANY WOMEN WEAR PUFFY HAIR AT THE OPERA AND BLOCK MY VIEW OF THE SUBTITLES. SUGGEST YOU NOT ALLOW IT. Yessir, right away sir, I'll have my spray bottle of water and my sheep clippers right there at the door to take care of that for you.

    But the worst bunch to deal with personality-wise is the ballet crowd -- they're generally younger and much pushier than the opera folks, and are really aggressive and arrogant about it. One of them this season demanded a five-dollar refund on her ticket because she didn't get a printed program. When I pointed out that there were no printed programs and that all the information found on one would be announced from the screen -- in four different languages, yet -- she snorted at me and said "WELL THEY HAVE PROGRAMS IN JAMESTOWN NEW YORK." I really wanted to suggest that that she go somewhere other than Jamestown, New York, but I held my tongue. She didn't get any five dollar refund though.
     
    AmateisGal likes this.
  11. JimWagner

    JimWagner Practically Family

    Messages:
    946
    Location:
    Durham, NC
    Entitlment attitudes are not a class specific thing. What someone feels entitled to does seem to vary somewhat though. And bad manners easily span all classes.
     
  12. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    Be that as it may, the majority of folks who come to our working-class-oriented shows -- country music concerts and such -- tend to leave a much tidier toilet behind them. The main problem I have there is people drinking too much and knocking beer bottles off the balcony rim onto the sound technician.
     
  13. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,598
    Location:
    vancouver, canada
    I bought myself a big screen TV for Christmas, other than "live at the Met" on Saturday mornings once or twice a year I likely will not set foot in a movie theatre for a very long time. Watching at home in my PJ's, in my own recliner and my own popcorn is a far better experience IMHO. AND I can hit pause and ask my wife to explain the parts I did not hear or understand in the moment not while walking back to the car after the movie is over.
     
  14. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,818
    Location:
    Nebraska
    I usually prefer to watch movies at home, too, but there are some movies I absolutely must watch at the theater: any new James Bond movie or new Marvel movie (my teenage daughter got me hooked on those). I also had to watch the new Star Wars in the theater and the new Peanuts movie because I'm a huge Snoopy collector.
     
  15. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,598
    Location:
    vancouver, canada
    I guess I am old as I don't usually watch any blockbuster type movies. Tend to watch foreign movies, French and German. I love them because nothing happens! It is my conceit of "culture"
     
  16. MisterCairo

    MisterCairo I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,679
    Location:
    Gads Hill, Ontario
    Our one and only movie theatre in Stratford, Ontario, takes cash only (but does have an ATM conveniently and expensively located in the lobby), seats about 100 people in the largest screening theatre (there are five), and the owner runs the cash, doesn't give receipts and is a known jerk.
    The usual chocolate bars, candy and pop is available. The popcorn I will say is good and served with real butter.
    If you're ever looking for ownership opportunities, Lizzie, PLEASE come to Stratford...
     
  17. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

    Messages:
    14,067
    Location:
    New York City
    Hmm, all cash, no receipts and the owner is physically handling the cash. Nope, nothing suspicious there. I'm sure all taxes are being paid.
     
  18. MisterCairo

    MisterCairo I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,679
    Location:
    Gads Hill, Ontario
    ^^^
    I took a niece and nephew there several years ago. One adult, one youth and one child, came to, can't recall, let's say $22.50. Gave over let's say $30 even, a ten and a twenty, change back at those figures is $7.50. Walk in, one of them goes to the loo, I'm standing around waiting.

    No crowds, and one of the employees comes over (buddy has left the booth) and says "sir, have you paid?". "Yes" was my reply. "Are you SURE?". "Yes" says I, getting angry but not showing it. "How do I know you've paid"? says she.

    Why I love being a lawyer: "You don't. And you won't. But I'll say this - one adult, one youth and one child at $22.50 and (presenting change from pocket without looking at it) this is $7.50 which you'd agree would be change from $30. And perhaps if the owner ever decided to give out RECEIPTS people like me wouldn't be standing here having conversations like this with people like you".

    To this day, I can't recall what movie we watched!

    Only that...
     
  19. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

    Messages:
    14,067
    Location:
    New York City
    Good for you - you couldn't have handled that better.
     
  20. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    On the other hand, I've had people slip past the ticket taker in a crowd, walk right in and take a seat. When I catch them, I have absolutely no qualms about confronting them with a simple "I'm sorry, I didn't get your ticket." And when they can't produce a stub, I have absolutely no qualms about offering them the choice of going down and buying a ticket or being escorted out the door. I once sent a U. S. Senator back outside in a snowstorm to buy a ticket when he tried to crash a line, so nobody's going to intimidate me with sass.

    And anybody who ever addressed me as "people like you" would get chucked, period. I'll take a lot of crap from customers, but I won't take that from anybody, whether directed at me or at any member of our staff. And we have an excellent lawyer on our board who will point out that the fine print on the back of the ticket stub allows the management to revoke the license granted by the purchase of a ticket at any time and for any reason upon refunding of the purchase price. Here's your $8.50, sir, enjoy the sidewalk.

    I don't know what the regulations are in Canada, but in the US theatres are required to give you a ticket stub. The ticketing system is audited via computer to ensure that every person in a seat has paid to get in or been issued a legitimate pass, and the MPAA will put a theatre out of business in a New York minute if there's any monkeyshines. In the big chain theatres, the distributors will actually send credentialed agents at random to physically count the house and compare it to theatre's half of the ticket stubs, and if there is any discrepancy, God help the manager. You are required, as a condition of your contract with the film companies, to permit such audits at any time whatsoever. Some studios, Fox in particular, will cut off theatres for six months or a year if they even give out too many passes.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.