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What is Your Favorite Theater Chain? 
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Post What is Your Favorite Theater Chain?
I hate most movie theater chains, often preferring local ones run by private individuals or arthouse cinemas. Either way, what do you think of AMC, Regal, Cinemark, Landmark, Loews, and other major theater chains?

I will say this: as a resident of Los Angeles, I am surrounded by at least 50 different movie theaters within miles of my city, but I always prefer Regal to AMC. The ambiance may not be as accommodating, and the sound may seem more muted, but I have never been fond of AMC.


Thu Feb 14, 2013 5:43 pm
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Post Re: What is Your Favorite Theater Chain?
There is a chain here in Michigan called Celebration! Cinema that is very good. It's a fairly standard-order modern theater chain as far as accommodations go--stadium seating, an IMAX auditorium, automatic flush in the bathrooms, and so on. What makes it special is that they do more than just new releases or simulcast sporting events.

They carry special programs like the Rifftrax Live events, they do seasonal programs of older and classic movies, they show operas and other musical programs, and they also put together the occasional movie marathon event based on patron feedback. It's special for the simple fact that they try to make it a little more of a personal experience for the customers.

Although I have been pestering them for over a year to do a weekend screening of Superman and it still hasn't happened...

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Thu Feb 14, 2013 6:53 pm
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Post Re: What is Your Favorite Theater Chain?
Warren Theatres. They're based in Wichita and operate 7 complexes total, in Wichita, Kansas, in Moore, Oklahoma and Springfield, Missouri. Three of them have 17 - 20 screens. Two complexes, one in Moore and one in Wichita, have the biggest digital IMAX screens in the world.

I'm familiar with the one in Moore, which is maybe ten miles from here. it has an excellent restaurant and 20 screens not including the IMAX. Two of the screens are Grand Auditoriums, which means they have oversized screens, and balconies where the restaurant will serve you food. All screens have THX sound and digital projection.

The second-best theater within fifty miles is the Quail Springs AMC 24, despite it being located in a shopping mall in far north Oklahoma City. It's right next to a good food court, and very often gets movies none of the other local theaters get, such as Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Restrepo and, unfortunately, Apollo 18. The Warren and Quail Springs theaters had Silver Linings Playbook running for months before any of the other movie complexes got it. However, the other AMCs in the area don't compare with it.

The Hollywood Theater in Norman shows some unusual fare, such as Cowgirls N Angels, It Might Get Loud and My Child Could Paint That, and does opera broadcasts from the Met, but it's getting a bit run down.

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Thu Feb 14, 2013 6:56 pm
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Post Re: What is Your Favorite Theater Chain?
The Phoenix area is dominated mostly by Harkins, although the closest theater to me is an AMC, so that's the one to which I usually end up going. I really hate this particular AMC though. It seems like more often than not when I go there some sort of problem will pop up, whether it's video/audio issues or fire alarms going off (I've had a film interrupted by a fire alarm twice in the last half year, once right in the middle of Lawrence Of Arabia, which led to a postponement of the screening). There's also the issue of pre-film advertising. I'm not as familiar with what other theater chains program in front of their films, but AMC bombards you with product commercials and ads for television programs. If I take the time to go out and see a film in the theater, the last thing I want to see is a 10-minute Inside Look preview of Cougar Town.

Harkins is a better option, although it costs slightly more for screenings early in the day and I have to drive a little longer to get to one. They're a little more open to showing less mainstream fare, although if I want to see something like Amour, I have to drive about 45 minutes to get to a particular Harkins that programs nothing but arthouse selections.

The only other option near me is an independently-owned theater called Pollack Tempe Cinemas, which offers $3 ticket prices and mainly shows films that have already left the larger theater chains. There's kind of an old-school vibe to the place, with a bunch of life-size mannequins of famous figures. It's also the only theater I know in Arizona that still uses film projectors, so it offers a fairly unique experience overall.

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Thu Feb 14, 2013 7:49 pm
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Post Re: What is Your Favorite Theater Chain?
I enjoy Cinemark, though Marcus Cinema would have to be my favorite.


Thu Feb 14, 2013 7:49 pm
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Post Re: What is Your Favorite Theater Chain?
Landmark Theaters is amazing. They're only in major urban areas (the two I frequent sometimes are Bethesda and downtown Washington) but they're modern, comfortable, awesome multi-screen theaters that show independent/intelligent films. Right now, for instance, the Bethesda one is showing:

Lincoln
Django Unchained
Quartet
The Impossible
Amour
Anna Karenina
The Master
Rust and Bone.

Bless them. Bless them so much

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Thu Feb 14, 2013 8:06 pm
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Post Re: What is Your Favorite Theater Chain?
Personally speaking, I'm not the biggest fan of seats that have no head support. Providing I go for a matinee, going to a chain like AMC or Cinemark usually won't bother me because the seats are comfortable and the projection's usually good enough. There are exceptions, but whatever. It's the evening showings that are shit because all the young people come out to use the theater as an excuse to text, talk, and beat it. Am I still part of that demographic? Yikes.

Landmark's awesome in terms of playing films that are harder to find. Unfortunately, most of the theaters in the Bay Area don't have the aforementioned head support that I've been spoiled by. It's not a big deal; I'll take two hours of minor discomfort to see something that I wouldn't see otherwise.

My closest Cinemark played Rust and Bone for a week, though, so there's good to be found.

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Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:41 pm
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Post Re: What is Your Favorite Theater Chain?
The only theater we have left in Goldsboro is the Premiere Theater. I don't know about the rest of the chain, but this location isn't well thought of.


Thu Feb 14, 2013 11:55 pm
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Post Re: What is Your Favorite Theater Chain?
The closest theater to me is an AMC, where you can still see a movie prior to 6pm on weekdays for $5. Can't go wrong there. 8-)


Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:58 am
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Post Re: What is Your Favorite Theater Chain?
JamesKunz wrote:
Landmark Theaters is amazing. They're only in major urban areas (the two I frequent sometimes are Bethesda and downtown Washington) but they're modern, comfortable, awesome multi-screen theaters that show independent/intelligent films. Right now, for instance, the Bethesda one is showing:

Lincoln
Django Unchained
Quartet
The Impossible
Amour
Anna Karenina
The Master
Rust and Bone.

Bless them. Bless them so much


This. So much this. I frequent those same two theaters (Kunz hates letting me know when he's going to one), and they're both great. The DC theater also has midnight showings on the weekends (Harvey and Donnie Darko this weekend), but I go to the Bethesda one more often because it's 15 minutes away from me. They are the best independent/arthouse chain I've come across.

Shade might be the only other one to care about this, but I also find it pretty cool that Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban owns these chains. He also owns Magnolia Pictures. That guy is fucking awesome.


Fri Feb 15, 2013 9:41 am
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Post Re: What is Your Favorite Theater Chain?
Anyone ever been to Magic Johnson Theaters?


Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:58 pm
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Post Re: What is Your Favorite Theater Chain?
Like stated elsewhere I tend to go for independent mom-and-pop theaters if possible. But as far as chain's go, the best one is Frank's. They have one relatively close to where I live and if I have teh choice of going there or the local Regal I prefer Frank's. Costs less overall and it often gets movies teh Regal passes up.

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Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:03 pm
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Post Re: What is Your Favorite Theater Chain?
Memphis is dominated by Malco. There are a couple of Hollywood theaters on the other side of town from me, but I've never liked them. Malco is comfortable and pretty average for a chain from what I've seen. Also nice that they have one four unit complex that serves as an art house outlet. I have no gripes for the most part. They are all stadium seating and there are enough locations that I'm never more than a few miles from one. Never had any projection issues at any showings I've been to. The sound seems to be overdone no matter which location though.


Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:47 pm
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Post Re: What is Your Favorite Theater Chain?
Laemmle Cinemas. A few years back they revamped the downtown area of our neighboring city and added this little gem to the strip. It's geared towards adults with certain viewings only allowing 21 and older. Apparently there's a few of these in the Los Angeles area and they brought one out to us. Showings include arthouse fare, foreign, some current viewings, some short films and some obscure stuff, as well. Four small, intimate theatres where they rotate the films every two weeks. My first experience at this theatre was Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, although, I wouldn't even count it as a viewing since I fell asleep hard on the leather reclining love seats they have. Yeah...leather reclining love seats. I hear a voice say, "Sir, the movie's over." I wake up to a girl with a broom.

And beer. They sell beer. And I don't mean just like in no paper cup, I'm talking about a glass of beer. Wine too.

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Fri Feb 15, 2013 7:42 pm
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Post Re: What is Your Favorite Theater Chain?
I'm gonna go a head and choose Regal Cinemas. It's the chain I go to the most and I have a Regal Crown Card which often gets me free shit. Like a free small soda and on the occasion a free movie ticket.


Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:58 am
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Post Re: What is Your Favorite Theater Chain?
In my area we have Micon (locally-owned by MIke and CONnie Olson) cinemas with 19 screens including a 2 screen late run "budget" and a single screen 90' drive-in. -The biggest in the state.

Micon has done great things for my area. The drive-in has events nights with camping, special meals, special rates, on-site contests and exceeds every expectation, retro or modern with their audio, video, concessions or guest services (car starting:-) They have the window hanger speakers -originals from the 60's and also broadcast in AM and FM. The FM clarity and stereo separation is on par with any theater sound, provided your car system is up to it. The indoor theater showings of 3D movies use glasses with GLASS lenses. They bought a washer unit for them and clean them between each use. Never saw a 3D movie with glass-lensed viewers? You'll never go back to the disposables; trust me. It was $100k for this setup and was well worth it.
The budget runs special event showings and local film festivals and has had special opening nights for local film-makers. The main cinema will run Packer games on the big screen (for free, 'cause they can't charge) and makes their money on concessions. Ever watch a football game on a 480" flatscreen with 150 other people, "stadium seating"? It's like being there, only better. You can see the players' nostrils, dammit!!
Enjoy the Oscars? They bring back or bring in all the Oscar nominated best pics and run special showings leading up to the Academy Awards.
Wanna season pass to save some money, like with skiing? Yep. How about your own drink container you can bring back for discount refills. Oh Yeah!!
How about a kids party at the theater with a private party room for up to 30 kids? Maybe you want a special deal on pizza? Good news! They've got three of these rooms at each cineplex and work with Dominoes and Little Caesers to get best pricing. It's around 10$ per child for dinner, movie and snack. Oh, did I mention the kids snack packs that the locals designed? Little popcorn, little drink and fun sized candy for 4$, all in one easy to carry unit. Pure freakin' genius!!

I've toured Micon projection rooms. The man didn't buy the least expensive of anything. Having seen a DVD (NOT Blue Ray!) projected up to 40', I can attest to the clarity. I've worked directly with the owners to bring in special showings for my club activities, and I'll do it again. We created and ran a full ad campaign with posters, handbills, local print media... Hell, I even went on the radio to promote it. They run a fantastic cinema and do so as residents of the area they live in. They've built a place where they would want to go to enjoy the best that movie (local, foreign, special, or doc) or local sports interest would provide. If it's not playing there, I probably won't see it on a big screen. -It's almost ALWAYS playing there.

There's SO much more I could say about this local cinema chain and its 19 screens, but damn, I'm convinced I've got the best right in my backyard!!

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Sat Feb 16, 2013 10:31 am
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Post Re: What is Your Favorite Theater Chain?
Like Vexer, my favorite is the midwest's Marcus chain (but I may be biased since I own stock in them too). With pre-paid coupon books, my cost per movie is usually between 6 bucks and 7.50 depending on the release. We have some Landmark cinemas, but they are on the other side of town and are former palaces from the early 20th century so, while ornate, they don't have the latest technological upgrades. Their selection, as Kunz points out, IS quite eclectic though. One of them is currently the record holder for "longest movie engagement" as they've been showing "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" on Saturday late night shows (now once per month...used to be more) since January of 1978.


Mon Feb 18, 2013 6:48 pm
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