New Luxury Theaters To Charge $35 A Ticket

Luxury-TheaterAll you have to do is walk into a movie theater more than 15 years old to notice how much more “luxurious” modern theaters have become. Better seats, better screens, better sound, better design… yadda yadda yadda. The nicer theaters already charge a little bit more for a ticket to see a movie in their facility, and some of us have been more than happy to spend it for the small extra amount of comfort and quality we get. But how far does that go.

Are you willing to pay $35 for a movie ticket in a REALLY nice theater? There is a group of investor that are willing to bet you are! The folks over at Variety give us this:

The partners will spend $200 million to build 50 theaters nationwide over the next five years, with the first two venues set to open in South Barrington, a suburb of Chicago, and the Seattle suburb of Redmond in October. Others are planned for Fairview, Texas, near Dallas-Fort Worth, and Scottsdale, Ariz. Each complex will sport theaters featuring 40 reclining armchair seats with footrests, digital projection and the capability to screen 2-D and 3-D movies, as well as a lounge and bar serving cocktails and appetizers, a concierge service and valet parking. But the circuit will especially push its culinary offerings — made-to-order meals like sushi and other theater-friendly foods from on-site chefs (a service button at each seat calls a waiter). Moviegoers will have to pay extra for any food they order, however.

The story goes on to explain that the company just sees themselves as offering a first class ticket as opposed to an economy one. It’s actually a good comparison. You do after all get what you pay for (at least in the facility, the extra cost doesn’t ensure the movie will actually be any good).

I have to admit, when I first heard about these new luxury theaters with their $35 tickets, I scoffed. “Screw this!” I almost said out loud. But the more I thought about it, I realized I would probably take advantage of a theater like that once in a while. Maybe for Hulk, Iron Man, Transformers 2 or Avatar. Just 40 seats… all recliners… and at that price you’re pretty much guaranteed no noisy kids or idiot talking and texting teenagers. Yeah… I could see myself going to one of these theaters once in a while.

So how about you? If a theater this luxurious was in your neck of the woods, would you visit it occasionally even at $35 per ticket?

32 thoughts on “New Luxury Theaters To Charge $35 A Ticket

  1. I have been to VIP theatres in Mexico City and Cuernavaca .. and I can’t tell you what a differece it makes. The menu on the food is great and the seats totaly recline. With ample space between every 2 seats. You can’t hear anyone whispering.

    Every theatre should offer a VIP theatre.

    What’s the delay?

  2. I like the option being available, but no matter how you cut it, you’re paying an extra $23-$27 for a bit more comfort while the same annoying and inconsiderate strangers distract you from the movie (odd body noises, txt messaging, etc)

  3. When I first heard about these types of theater experiences I was all for it. Then they opened the Sundance Kabuki in San Francisco and they don’t charge anywhere near as much as $35 – just a couple more than other theaters and I resent it. I don’t find the experience to be appreciably superior to regular state of the art stadium theaters. I actually avoid the theater beacuse of the added cost. Of course I go tot movies at least twice a week so $35 would quickly drain me of thousands of dollars over the course of the year. I also find that SF audiences are not as disruptive and obnoxious as the reports I hear from other cities.

    Salt Lake has a place called Brewvies that sells beer and hot food items and has counters in front of the seats to place your pitchers, glasses and plates on. When it started in the 90’s it was second run theater and ticket prices were $2. Not sure what they charge these days. I did love the food and beverage options and the age restriction on all films. Didn’t have to pay a premium for it though.

  4. I like the idea, but it’s still a little rich for my tastes. How about current movie theaters just remodel two or three of their rooms and charge a premium to see a new release in one of those rooms instead. That might weed out some of those obnoxious people that love to talk on their cell phone during the movie …. or smoke crack … whatever.

  5. Honestly, for that price its pretty much guaranteeing I’ll just wait until it hits the home market and watch it there. Paying so much money for a ticket that I could just buy the entire DVD or Blu Ray for later makes the choice obvious to me, go with the option that will let me watch it more than one time for the same price.

  6. Fuck the 30 dlls .here in Mexico it doesn’t cost more than 10. The only bad thing about drinking the beer is that you have to pee half way the show. Besides in the regular cinema you have a little open bar with butter and jalapenos for your popcorn all the napkins you want. It rules

  7. What…..$35 dollars? NO WAY!
    I have a bluray player and to buy a movie on bluray brand new the day it comes out is like $23. I would rather purchase the movie before watching it for $35 just once. Or I would rather go to 3 times and many movies in a regular theater before going to see one. Or I would wait about two weeks and then go see the movie because the theaters are damn near empty by then and you dont get many distractions.

  8. Like Mikey, I have actually had the pleasure of experiencing Gold Class first hand when I was in Australia last year. Their ticket prices can sometimes be as high as $42 for a Sat night session and demand is always high (it is often booked out for 1month+ in advance for big blockbusters like Lord of the Rings). The service and atmosphere is great – you don’t even notice the waiters coming in. Looking at the price, it is like trying to compare the cost of flying first class with coach. Those who can afford to pay the difference will, and there will be no comparison in terms of the luxury and service. It is very difficult to go back to watching movies in a regular cinema once you have been to Gold Class!

  9. No. Half the fun of movies is seeing them with a large audience.

    And if I wanted that type of luxury when watching a movie – I’d stay home and watch it on my own TV, in my own chair, at my convenience, with my own food. And only pay $2.50 for the rental at Blockbuster. Or $5.00 for a double feature at my home. From Blockbuster.

  10. As people have said about Australia, this has been around for quite a while, and the different cinema chains (Village Roadshow & Hoyts) both have their own versions as mentioned.

    I definately think its worth it. Its not a once a week visit, but maybe once a year to the big blockbuster of the year. My wife and I are planning to see Indie4 in Gold Class which is the Village brand!

  11. Sounds like a date with a guaranteed happy ending. I’d be down, but only to take a girlfriend or something. Never with just friends. that would be a lil gay.

  12. We have had this in Mexico for ages… it’s exactly the same as its described, including the sushi and the so helpful service button for calling a waitress.
    The Best is that here it only costs something around 9 dollars (98 pesos)

  13. For once I cant beleive Australia has had something cool before the US!!

    Normally we get everything years after the states.

    We have had these cinemas for at least 8 years or so they are called Gold Class or Regency Lounges and yes reclining chairs, a bar and meals available and unlimited popcorn

    They are great for blockbuster movies thats for sure I saw Epsiode 2 and 3 on opening night there. It was great we booked out the whole theatre for ourselves and we didnt have to line up at all on opening night it was like our own private screening of Star Wars

  14. I agree this would be nice, but I don’t like the concierge call button at every seat. So instead of noisy teenagers, you’ll have waiters coming in to take orders during the movie? I don’t really like that idea.

  15. I absolutely would pay for an experience like this once in a while, for a movie i knew i was going to enjoy and didn’t want spoiled by the kind of conditions i usually put up with.

    The way ticket prices are going in my country, i’ll probably be paying that much in a few years anyway for a normal theatre with no assigned seating and awful people.

  16. Here in Wichita KS, we have the Warren Theaters. They are Privately owned and already do a lot of these things. By Fall all theaters (over 60) will be Digital and 3D compatible. Our Downtown Theater has had Waiting staff and meals at your seat for years. At the East Side Theater, they have a Balcony that has Couples Charis with Memory Foam cushions and they serve Dom Perignon by the bottle. They are building 2 more theaters with Dual balconys at the West Theater.

    All This and THX cert in EVERY theater. Tickets are 8.50 to 18 dollars.Recliners are cool though.

    Check out their site to see what I am talking about. They are opening another in Norman OK next month.

    http://www.warrentheaters.com

  17. i have to say that the muvico theater is a nice place. with the premiere theater u get free valet and there’s a nice restaurant and bar too. altho there isnt a bunch of noisy kids there u just have to watch for the noisy drunks there go there. i had to deal with 5 idiots who wouldnt shut up throughout the whole movie. they were outside at the bar earlier drinking up a storm.

  18. Nah. There’s a great indie theater here called the Cameo that costs $9, has a ton of food, strictly enforces the no cell phone rule, and DOES NOT ADMIT CHILDREN UNDER TEN. TO ANY MOVIE. Now, that’s luxury!

  19. We’ve had these in Australia for a real long time. I think Greater Union Cinema’s revealed it about 5 years ago. The price started at around $40 Aust. Dollars. and they stayed that price for a few years but since got less popular with regular ticket prices going up and the classy fad oh Gold Class staying stagnate that ticket prices have dropped as low as $19 to $30, depending on the movie which is very strange.

  20. John. I had the pleasure of seeing the Bourne Ult. premier in Australia in a theater like this. They are called Gold Circle theaters. Best experience I have ever had going to the movies. I mean ticket prices are getting up to that as it is. The really nice thing about it is if you are going to dinner and a movie there is no chance of missing anything anymore. Everything is right there for you. And it is pure movie fans (that or someone who really wants a quiet theater experience) that arent going to annoy anyone. I didnt hear a peep through Bourne. When my girlfriend I came out we wondered two things: 1) why dont we have these in the states and 2) how can we make money by bringing these to the states. Unfortunetly someone beat me to the punch. I’m stoked about this and hope they come closer to my home. PS If you ever go to Australia buy Aussies version of the Dove bar and you get a free Gold Circle upgrade.

  21. Too expensive for my pocket, but the idea of no noisy teenagers, whiny children, or people bringing babies (why do people do that?!) is very appealing.

  22. 35 dollars just to see one movie?, Are you kidding me? Hell no! I’m perfectly fine with the theater I go to to see a movie.

  23. I’m going to reiterate what Kurt said about the Varsity VIP. I stopped in there while I was in Toronto last year just to check it out. The movie was Lust, Caution which I thought would be perfect for a smaller quiet theatre. What I ended up with was having a group of 20 some year olds making fun of the movie for the first 30 or so minutes until they left. After they left I had to listen to people around me constantly whisper the entire time. The small room just amplified everything that annoyed me about the audience and there was no way I could hide from it.

    Have of the fun of going to the theatre for movies like you mentioned (big blockbusters) is feeding off the crowd watching the movie.

    I’m not against this and would love to watch a movie like Lust, Caution by myself or with a couple of friends in the Varsity VIP but I’d also want to make sure we had the entire room to ourselves.

  24. Yup, we have this in Minneapolis too. The only difference is the pricing. We pay $100 for the room in total (plus regular admission for a ticket) and the room seats 19.

    So we get 10 or 15 people together, split the $100 and pay for our ticket. It’s pretty boss. I’ve already reserved the room for opening weekend of Indiana Jones.

  25. There’s already a theater in Rosemont, IL (right near Chicago) called MUVICO, which does almost the exact same thing by giving you an upper class movie experience with a theater(s) full of loveseats and/or recliners. AND it’s only around $15-20 for these premiere seats…in addition to the general seating they also offer. It’s the only theater I’ll go to now.

  26. They already have this in Toronto, The Varsity VIP. The issue I have, is that the folks who plunk down a much higher ticket price, tend to threat the smaller auditoriums with leather plush seating and side-tables as their living room and tend to talk more. The smallers size of the room makes the talking even louder and more obnoxious.

    It’s weird that a premium ticket price would have this effect, but I’m not alone in this observation, many people have had this experience at the VIP, in art-house and mainstream type of movies. Weird, but true.

  27. Also, I want to add that South Barrington is a really good spot to open a theatre like this, it’s close to a lot of upper-class communities and they actually already have another unorthodox theatre experience with The Catlow theater. They show one movie thats voted by the customers and theres actually a sandwich shop in the lobby and you can take your awesome deli sandwich into the theatre with you. The one movie has usually already been out for a while but still, I’ve heard its a great experience.

  28. This is awesome news for me since I live about 15 mins away from South Barrington and I’m always watching movies at the AMC there instead of the closer theatre because the crowds tend to be better and the theatre is nicer.

    Sounds like a place I would hit up for a birthday or other special occasion.

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