I’ve always enjoyed going to the theater and watching movies on the big screen. When the lights dim and the previews start playing there is little that can divert my attention from the images streaming from the projector. It’s not an activity I do all the time, only when a movie comes out that I think is going to be great or, for one reason or another, one I really, really want to see. It’s just something fun to do when there is nothing else going on.
Here in New Zealand, going to the movies is not just something to do, it is an experience!
I have always remembered when I was last here and went to the theater to see Mission Impossible. I was so impressed with the look of the theater; it was a visual throw back to the days when live theater was still king and moving pictures were just gaining in popularity. Best of all they had a room sectioned off for families with young children and babies, so you didn’t have kids running around and babies crying while you were trying to enjoy the film you paid good money to see. I didn’t think theaters could get any better than that and was a little disappointed to go back home to my typical movie theater.
This trip around my expectations have been blown away. New Zealand theaters have really raised the bar for a great movie experience. They have put in comfortable seats with armrest large enough to share and isles wide enough for people to walk past without you having to angle your legs to the side. The theater also assigns your seat, or allows you to choose your own at the kiosk, so you don’t have to worry about arrive 20 minutes before the start time to get a good view.
The snack selection beats anything I would find in my hometown theater. At one theater you walk through the snack area and pick up the items you want then just wait in line to pay, a much quicker way of getting the treats you want. They have an area where someone will make you an ice cream sunday, you can pour your own soda or pick up a bottled drink, and the popcorn is already packaged and ready for you to grab a box.
The thing I really find awesome about going to the movies is the LA Premiere viewing option. The tickets are a bit more expensive, but I think you get a really neat experience for your money. I never thought I would spring for the fancy LA Premiere ticket, but the other day found myself shelling out the money for a ticket. And I have to say it was worth it.
Our night started off by entering the theater through a separate entrance, taking a set of stairs leading to a private area above, able to look down at the snack area. We walked up to the bar and placed our snack orders and were then directed to have a seat on one of the couches. When our movie was set to start, an usher approached and leads down the hall to the theater and showed us to our seats.
Our seats were in a completely different section of the theater, set in the back with a lower wall to separate us from the cheaper seats. Why were our seats separated? Because they were Lazy Boys. That’s right, you get to prop your feet up and lean back just like you would if you were home. And you have armrest all to yourself, no sharing here.
Included in your ticket price is a non-alcoholic drink and popcorn that will be delivered to you at your seat. There is also a whole food menu with gourmet pizzas and burgers for to select from and selections of wine, beer, and adult drinks to go with it. And it will all be brought to you either in the first half of the film or second half, your choice. Oh? So your ordered dinner and are worried about eating it in your lap? No worries, they have a little table you can place everything on with a low light to see what you are eating.
It was really cool being able to watch a movie in the theater and have the chance to put my feet up and stretch out a little. Having my food delivered right to me and when I wanted was downright awesome. Is it something I’ll do again? Probably, but only as a special treat and outing for an important movie. Other than that, I am perfectly fine with the usual movie going experience here in New Zealand.
In fact, I think it is one of the things I’ll miss the most when I get back to the States.