Last week I was asked to attend a special blogger preview night at the newest AMC Dine-In Theater at Menlo Park Mall in Edison, NJ. It sounded like a request for free advertising, but I had my reasoning for showing up there. It was a total trip for me to see this theater after it’s makeover since I actually worked there for nearly 5 years. I had some of the best times of my life there believe it or not, and I met a bunch of people that have become life long friends. What seemed like an easy part time job throughout high school and some of college was truly an awesome experience, so I felt like I needed to check out what they’ve done to my old digs. It was great to see that the structure and layout has stayed primarily the same, but what has changed is the fact that the traditional movie theater will soon be extinct.
Specially selected AMC Theaters are transforming into a place where you can watch a film, get tanked, and eat dinner all while chilling on a cozy leather recliner. At first I really wasn’t interested since what once was my favorite hobby, going to the local theater to watch a movie, has become an annoyance. Nowadays I’d rather watch movies at home, either selected from my obscene amount of DVD’s and Blu-rays or from Netflix and the nearby Redbox. My worn-in couch and all the little minor luxuries of home make going to the movies a big chore, so this concept is a tough sell for me and I’ll explain why.
Dinner and a movie used to be one of the simplest dates you could go on. Now, even if you want to take your lady out for dinner and a romcom you wind up waiting 30 minutes at the restaurant for a seat, and then once you get to the movies and sit in the theater some a-hole is talking nonstop behind you and kicking the back of your chair. Combining the experience streamlines the process in terms of time and money. Obviously, no theater gimmick will get rid of the talking a-holes with the leg spasm, they will always be there; but this new Dine-In concept may improve theater going in some respects while making it worse in others.
If I’m going to get really comfy, I don’t want to do it at Menlo Park Mall. Once I get comfortable, I fall asleep. So, inviting me to come into your theater to kick back in an easy chair and conk the f*ck out is not the best plan, especially if you want my tab to get paid by close of business! Terrible idea people! Are they supplying woobies too?
The old box office and business office is now a lounge area with LCD screens
First off, I hate hearing people eat when I’m trying to pay attention to a movie, unless of course, I’m also eating at the same time, then I’m not paying attention to them at all. If the theater is mostly quiet and some couple are chowing down on crunchy nachos beside me, I would want to scratch my eyeballs out. If I was trying to watch a movie and get distracted because someone in front of me is ordering their fifth Mojito and a giant sized portion of lobster ravioli and the server is in my view of the screen I would really freak out in my mind.
I am very particular when I watch things. It’s not so much that I am missing something it’s that old general principle of being quiet in a library. You can wolf down food and domestic beers with your friends at a bar, you can bullshit with your yenta sister in law at your house during the holidays, but I believe in a calm and cool attitude in a theater. It’s a time to relax.
I already mentioned the leather recliners, but there’s also airline style “seat side service buttons” that alert a waiter or waitress that you want to order some grub. That’s a red light for me. Imagine how many people are going to abuse that one. Do they provide puke buckets too? Because when those cougars start getting all up on those raspberry martinis and horning it up over Mark Wahlberg, those poor ushers are going to have some cleaning up to do.
A full wet bar and cocktail lounge has taken the place of the old rarely used front concession stand
How do you feel about Dine-In Movie Theaters? Can’t wait to go or your ass will be staying on the couch? Let us know in the comments!
The AMC Dine-In Theater at Menlo Park Mall in Edison, NJ officially opens to the public this Friday and also feature upscale Cinema Suites.
AMC Menlo Park 12 Dine-In Theater
390 Menlo Park Mall
Edison, New Jersey