Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Full Service Movie Theaters: Yay or Nay?

Ever been to a Full-Service Movie Theater? In So. Cal there's two I'd heard about specifically: The AMC Experience and iPic Theaters. Honestly, I was looking forward to trying one out and finally got to over the weekend.

I came into this whole experience at an advantage. We had a $50 gift card to an iPic theater plus our friends had been before and suggested we give it a try during a double date. The ticket prices alone actually shocked me: $58 dollars for two premium seats. My husband quickly inquired if a foot rub and oil change was included in the cost! 

The price per ticket comes with unlimited popcorn, reclining leather seats, a pillow, blanket and full-service drink and food menu (additional cost) brought to your seats at any part of the movie. Staff were extremely friendly and attentive. There you get what you pay for. Also, the bar ambiance was inviting and hip. 

Then things took a turn...

I really, really wanted to like this place and was excited thirty minutes into it. By then I had a flavorful margarita and my feet up on the reclined leather seat. Then... the food came. First off, all food and drink options are pretty pricey. I wouldn't mind that, except the food wasn't very good. We got small, tasteless dinner options that felt more like cheap appetizers.

My husband tried the Mahi tacos suggested by our waiter and he was thoroughly disappointed.  I ordered the pizza after our waiter seemed to negate my other choices. Turns out a very "fancy-sounding" pizza was actually nothing more than overpriced cheesy bread. Their signature Bloody Mary was also a huge fail. If my memory serves me correctly that drink costs around $15 dollars.

My vote is for folks to skip the full-service experience and instead splurge on a great meal, bottle of wine and follow that up with a classic matinee. That's likely to run you around $80-$100 on a great meal and not the $150 (less $50 gift card) we spent on crummy popcorn, bad food, overpriced liquor and a movie.

Have you tried a full-service theater you liked?

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