It’s not like movies aren’t pulling in the big buck$ these days. In just 2018, billions of dollars have been pouring into the studios and the theaters are profiting from over-priced popcorn and fountain drinks.
So, why the hell is Cinemark going with these?
They had to remodel each theater and there are fewer seats, so they lose potential revenue on each showing. And a couple of times, the people next to me kicked off their shoes and leaned back, which is, to say the least, off-putting. If I want a recliner, I have one in my living room.
On top of that, the real deal-breaker: Assigned seating. That’s right, you cannot go in, find the spot that suits you and stake your claim. No, you have to look at a chart and guess which seat is going to give you the prime viewing experience. And since there are a variety of setups, every time is a guess.
Finally, Cinemark’s employees are starting to get a bit surly at times. It is obvious that the chain has cut back on staff; half the time, you have to get your tickets at the concessions stand. The last couple of times I tried them, even their self-help kiosks weren’t operative. Overworking your employees isn’t going to make them satisfied employees.
This is a lesson that ALL employers need to learn.
I did find an alternative: City Lights Theater in Georgetown, TX is a beautiful movie house. It’s 12.5 miles away, but most of that is on the expressway, so it usually takes me around twenty minutes to get there. This is part of a Texas chain, Schulman Theaters, which are also in Bastrop, Weatherford, Palestine, and Hudson Oaks.
I’m sure there are other theaters out there that will not force you to preselect your seats. Flix Brewhouse in Round Rock has assigned seating, plus I really hate having the wait staff running about as the movie starts, so they’re out. I’m going to give Regal Gateway Stadium 16 & IMAX a try today. I’ll update after I see a movie there today.
Update: Regal Gateway Stadium 16 & IMAX
The Pros: Nice theater, excellent projection and sound system. Comfortable temperature. Very courteous employees.
The Cons: $8.75 for a Senior matinee and ~$13.00 for a small popcorn and small water, so a bit expensive.
The seats were very cramped; I felt like I was in an airplane, very little legroom.
The theater I was in was filthy; it looked like it hadn’t been cleaned in a week. I looked in on a couple of other theaters, same thing.
I cannot recommend it.