Tuesday, July 17, 2012

at the movies

With our love of movies and the oppressive heat, a popular place is the movie theatre. Luckily they have some outstanding ones here in Wichita. The Warren Theatres dominate the market, a local company.

There are 3 in town - one on the west side (17 theatres plus IMAX), the east side (20 theatres), and downtown (7 theatres). The IMAX is the largest digital IMAX screen in the world! The three locations have different features for different tastes and needs - stadium seating, cry rooms, waiters, bar, diner, director's suites, malt shop.

The d├ęcor reflects the golden age of movies, art deco, lots of neon and gold. Music from vintage movie soundtracks plays in the lobby and in the theatres before the movie starts, inspiring a guessing game of name that movie. Buddy recognizes some from the basement movie era at his folks house, some get stuck in your head and you find yourself humming them much later, like "I could have danced all night" from My Fair Lady.

Then the curtains go up and (unlike other theatres) there are NO commercials for the dentist down the block or for upcoming television shows or how to rent this auditorium for your next business meeting. There are 3 previews of coming attractions and then the movie starts.

Most of the time we go to the closest one here on the west side, here in the 'burbs where the everything is big - parking lot, lobby, bathrooms, and we love it when the usher takes our tickets and directs us, "go past the second lobby..."

We recently decided to try out the downtown theatre. It is a little smaller than the ones in the 'burbs, fitting into a revamped area of Old Town along with adjacent restaurants and shops.

One of the first obvious differences at the downtown location is - instead of a concession stand there was a bar, with stools, and lots of wines and beers lined up on the wall. Not very convenient, we thought, what if there was a crowd looking for popcorn? We bellied up to the bar and ordered our usual tub of popcorn and diet coke.

Walking into the movie, we were handed a menu, and discovered that you can order anything directly from your movie seat - by pushing the call button. Anything from popcorn and coke to nachos to hamburgers and fries to ribs, everything is delivered to your seat on a tray that attaches to the cup holder. The space between the rows is enormous so the waiters can come and go easily. The waiter takes your order on a handheld electronic device, the order goes electronically to the kitchen and is delivered promptly back to you. You 'run a tab' with the waiter and at the end of the movie he comes around to get your credit card information.

This was all pretty weird and neat at the same time, except the waiters did not wait until the credits to settle up (like advertised) instead they came around during the climax of the move, the last big scenes, which was very distracting. We were obviously newbies here - we got popcorn and coke in the lobby... and decided that we couldn't imagine eating all that food in the dark movie theatre anyway, but it was quite entertaining and a new experience for us.

We have always loved going to the movies and often frequent our local theatres at home, but I must say these Warren theatres are the nicest we have ever seen.

1 comment:

Linda_J said...

interesting concept, Susan.