Our Trip To A Luxury Cinema: The Hidden Importance of Movie Theaters
By: Chris Darkes - May 20, 2017
Category : Places
Over the weekend, we made our way to the Cinépolis Movie Theater in Westlake Village to watch the weekend opening of Beauty and the Beast. Normally we wouldn’t go over-the-top with our movie watching experience, but this was a special visit. My girlfriend had wanted to see the movie pretty much since Disney was discussing a live-action version. It’s been years since I had seen the animated version, but I happily obliged as the previews looked like it kept the integrity of the original story. With that — we purchased our tickets online and hopped in the car.
Westlake Village is adjacent to Thousand Oaks and has a really stunning Promenade. Ample parking and out of the congestion of Los Angeles is what makes this place unique. Traffic had been relatively light, and we got there with plenty of time to roam if we wanted. I should have taken a photo of the entire space to give you an idea of the scale and number of fountains throughout.
We made our way to the theater and weren’t disappointed by the well appointed facade.
We had kicked around the idea of seeing a movie here before, but couldn’t find a reason to justify the price. But this was a movie we felt was worthy of the experience.
As we entered, it felt like a four star hotel. There was a person at the ticket counter who greeted us, and explained what the layout of our seats would look like. We were impressed. If you had been there before, and didn’t want the spiel, you could turn right and pick up your tickets from the digital kiosk.
Beyond that, the concession stand awaited our arrival with a full bar, plush lounge chairs, and gourmet food. It felt like you could spend hours in just the lobby soaking up the visuals. We wanted to see what the dining options were, so we walked past and into…
The hallways with decked out chairs at every turn. It was like walking around a large living room. It had the sense of build up that makes you excited to see a show. As we wound our way through the hallways, the anticipation grew steadily. One of the things you absolutely can’t duplicate at home is the grand sense of theater.
The entrance sported a classy display of the movie’s showtime. At this point, we entered the theater knowing we made a great decision.
Just like they pitched it. There were menus on the lamp-lit desk next to your seats to order cocktails and a full-scale menu.
A waitress took our order. We decided on a large popcorn, some fries, and two drinks.
When the waitress came back, she reminded us that if we need anything else to hit that button on the side of our seat.
The movie was excellent. It was faithful to the animated film, while providing a greater scope and scale that just wasn’t possible with the original. There was more depth to it, without giving cheap exposition. Great casting. Great story.
It’d be pointless to go into detail just how fascinating I find the Walt Disney company. But capturing great stories and transporting the audience is the key to great storytelling. It doesn’t matter if it’s a 50 seat stage, or a 100,000 seat stadium. Disney does that. A great movie theater does that. I have always loved carving out time to see a movie at a theater. There’s some things about me that are old fashioned. This is one of them. Without spinning the yarn — in a weird way I think it breaks down barriers to be in a theater full of strangers who are getting a shared experience. It’s something we take for granted. It’s becoming more of a lost part of society. I hope movie theaters get a boost when people realize this, but that’s my overly optimistic view. They may disappear in my lifetime. We’ll see.
Back to the ranch. We had an incredible time, and would definitely go again for a special occasion. Blending the dining experience with a luxury theater is a smart choice to get people filling the seats. Also kudos to Disney for once again putting the magic into movies!
Also published on Medium.