Dine In Theater- A Nice Idea that Just Doesn’t Work For Me   1 comment

I spent this past week on vacation, traveling though the far-off exotic lands of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Between trips to Philadelphia’s Mütter Museum and getting my windshield replaced, I saw Pixar’s Brave (which was good, but not as good as I had hoped it would be) at one of the movie theaters I used to frequent growing up.  In the years that I have been gone it has been transformed from a run of the mill suburban multiplex into an AMC Dine-In Theater.  The idea is that you can order a meal during the movie, which is brought to you at your seat.

Fruit salad has no business here and your bread roll looks like a dong. Take it away.

It is no longer the sticky floored teen hang out that I recalled from high school.  The target audience now seems to be an older crowd, such as ladies out on the town seeing Magic Mike, and families with kids going to see the same movie I was.  The video games out front have been replaced by a lounge area where you can partake in the theater’s food offerings even if you are not seeing a movie. The concession stand has been replaced a bar called MacGuffins. Ha! They are so clever!

Take the drink, but never peer into her cold dead eyes.

Most of the money movie theaters take in from ticket sales goes to the film distributors, leaving theaters to rely on the sale of food to make a profit.  That is why your bucket of butter and salt topped popcorn with a Diet Coke costs you as much as the movie ticket did.  So the transition that more and more theaters are going through to become a one stop spot for your night out makes sense.  Why should you go to dinner and then a movie if you can kill two birds with one stone?!

Well, I sort of hated it.

The food cost as much as it would have from a full restaurant, but the quality was fairly low.  Which makes sense because it is a movie theater. Duh.  The food tasted like it came out of a package and was heated up in a microwave.  I could have had the same meal if I had hit up the 7-11 freezer section for about a quarter of the price.

I ordered before the movie started as to not have to deal with whispering my order to the waitress while the show was going and missing part of the movie.  The food arrived quickly, which I liked, but it also meant that once the previews were done and opening credits had rolled I was finished eating.  I wasn’t eating during the movie, which I thought was the appeal, I was eating before the movie.  I could have done that at the TGI Friday’s in the same mall and had better(ish) food.

The seats were big and comfy and angled back, almost like recliners.  The seats were nice when I was done eating, but during the meal I constantly had to angle myself forward to reach the table.  It was annoying and uncomfortable for my back.  I ended up eating faster so that I could just get that over with.

Each time I went to take a bite of my Country Fried Steak  (it looked good in the ad!) I would need to look down and squint into the darkness to see the plate, causing me to miss what ever was happening on-screen during the brief part of the movie that my meal over lapped with.  Suddenly I remembered the appeal of popcorn, the food you can shovel into your face hole without ever taking your eyes off the screen.

Sweet buttery goodness! I understand you now!

You can still get popcorn at the Dine-In, for $8 a bowl.  In comparison that would buy you four lbs of popcorn kernels, which should cover your popcorn needs for about five years.

The saving grace was the drink menu.  The cocktails weren’t great and the draft selection wasn’t huge, but I could hit a button and a person would bring me more booze while I was watching the movie. It is hard to complain about that.  Next time I go I’ll remember to eat before and just get drinks during the movie.

What do you think? Does Dine-In movie going appeal to you or are you happy with popcorn and soda?


Posted July 7, 2012 by atomicsam in Film, Real Life

One response to “Dine In Theater- A Nice Idea that Just Doesn’t Work For Me

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  1. I really liked the Alamo Theater I went to in Austin, So I feel this can be done right. Alamo has a good draft list and I was told by people who have excellent taste in food that it’s good eats, too. They seem to be more of a movie peoples’ movie theater. When I was there I saw Hugo and then the 1902 silent film A Trip to the Moon (French: Le Voyage dans la lune) with an actual human playing a Wurlitzer. They also do cool things like marathoning Iron Man (2008), The Incredible Hulk (2008), Iron Man 2 (2010), Thor (2011) and Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) before showing The Avengers. I’m planning to see Dark Knight Rises (probably for the second time that week) when I am down in Austin this month. I’m doing dinner on the company dime and will be sure to thoroughly review the food and all of the experience. If you want to check it out yourself, the closest one is in Winchester, VA and I think this is the only one outside of Texas.

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