How do you choose your movie theater?

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Asmo917

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What are the most important things to you in picking what theater you go to when you're seeing a movie? Some context: I live in an urban area and have two theaters within incredibly reasonable walking distance. Both offer reserved seating. The one that's a little farther away (say 2-3 blocks) also has reclining seats. The closer one has (last tie I was there) Coke Freestyle. One's an AMC and one's a Regal, I have each one's free membership thing. Both offer alcohol.

It seems stupid but I sometimes find myself almost paralyzed when choosing between theaters if the showtimes are roughly equivalent. I'm curious what everyone else looks for? Concession choice? Other restaurant availability? Would you rather recline with your feet up for 2 hours or be home 5-10 minutes earlier? Help me work through my completely unimportant choice paralysis!

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foggel

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The most important for me is audio quality.

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ShaggE

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^ Audio for me, too. Nothing ruins a movie experience like painfully loud volume or shitty speakers. I'll take bad food, funky seats, even subpar projection (to an extent, I'm not a monster) over bleeding eardrums any day.

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inevpatoria

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I have an Alamo Drafthouse. The choice almost makes itself.

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nutter

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These days? The people (less is more).

Depending on the location, Cinemapolis theaters can be fantastic. Laguna Beach was amazing. Hartford, CT is totally okay.

I’ll usually go for an old school second-run theater, though because of the people (there are so few of them). Cheap tickets, no seas of humanity, etc.

If I go to the local multiplex, I’ll make sure to go to a 2D IMAX theater so I can reserve seats, at least.

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hassun

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There are 2 theatres in or near my town. One is a multiplex, the other is a small arthouse theatre with screens you could often see in episodes of mTV Cribs.

Not much choice really. They each have their niche and I have to go where the film I want to see is playing.

The multiplex does have the highly annoying tendency to pump up the audio levels way too high, so I have started taking headphones or earbuds to see films there.

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Gundato

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Two things really

  1. Needs to be in a decent part of town with decent parking options. Parking minimizes stress and I don't have to worry about pulling a Wayne
  2. Assigned seats that I can pick. I don't want to have to put any effort in to finding a seat or dealing with "Oh, we wanted to sit there". I buy my ticket, I sit down, and I enjoy the movie.

And bonus points if I can get a pint of beer to drink with the movie.

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Zleunamme

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The Alamo Drafthouse. I can buy food and beer. They have assigned seating and their special events are cool. The one thing I like the most is that anybody talking or playing with their phones during the movie get kick out of the theater.

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liquiddragon

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Ppl have thoroughly ruined the movie going experience for me. Seriously, what happened to a little decorum? Usually the smaller ones that focus on the limited releases are better 'cuz ppl that go their appreciate and respect films. I had too many movies ruined consecutively couple years ago, now I really dread going to the theater.

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fisk0

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#10 fisk0  Moderator

Screen size for me, not in that I want IMAX or whatever, but a lot of the more newly built theatres around here have incredibly small screens, like barely larger than what you can get at home with a projector, so I tend to prefer older theatres with maybe 250-400 seats and a screen size above 10x5 meters or so.

Not a huge fan of packed theatres either, but that's more film than location dependent, I think. I prefer going to classic or independent movies since the people who go there are actually interested in watching the film rather than check their phones and talk.

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Ginormous76

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For me, Reclining Seats > Coke Frestyle and the extra 5 minutes of walking.

However, my top choice when picking a theater is show times.

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norm9

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Location is priority. I have a theater three minute drive away from me so I always go to that one.

If I'm meeting up with people, assigned seating is the priority.

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someoneproud

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I like the theatre with my couch and cheap food and booze, it has to let me pause the movie when I wanna take a piss and no kids or popcorn are allowed. I also need to be able to pay once per movie to watch it whenever I like.

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captubaplayer

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1) Seating I can reserve ahead of time 2) Recliners.

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Marino

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#15 Marino  Staff

I go to the one that still exists here.

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isomeri

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Great question. Helsinki has had a real resurgence of movie theaters lately and the largest chain has gotten its first real competitor. The downtown area has about a dozen good cinemas catering to various interests. A half dozen more can be found a few metro stops away.

For big blockbuster releases like Star Wars I usually go to one of the big screens at the Finnkino and Cinamon chain theaters. Great audio, big screens and so on. Most of the time however I frequent smaller cinemas like Orion or WHS because they often show more interesting movies, have more respecting audiences and are quite laid back about bringing your own snacks and drinks. Also Orion is now 92 years old, so watching older movies there just fits the atmosphere so well.

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wardcleaver

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@nutter said:

These days? The people (less is more).

Depending on the location, Cinemapolis theaters can be fantastic. Laguna Beach was amazing. Hartford, CT is totally okay.

I’ll usually go for an old school second-run theater, though because of the people (there are so few of them). Cheap tickets, no seas of humanity, etc.

If I go to the local multiplex, I’ll make sure to go to a 2D IMAX theater so I can reserve seats, at least.

This is how I pick showtimes-the ones with potentially the least amount of people. I usually go on Sunday morning, around 10 ish. Went to see Rise of Skywalker last Sunday and, I think, there were only about a dozen people in a 200+ seat theater.

To the OP, I only go to the theater that is closest to my home.

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rorie

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I'm lucky enough to live near-ish a Drafthouse, and once you've been to a place where they kick people out for talking/cell phone use, it's really hard to go back to other theaters that are more lax about that kind of stuff. It helps that they emphasize 2D showings of stuff (at least at the SF one) instead of all the 4D frouhaha that a lot of chains are ramping up towards. The only downside is that the food is delicious and the drinks can be pricey.

Obviously some people tend to find the servers scurrying around in front of everyone annoying, but I mind it much less than having people text all the time, which has happened at pretty much every non-Drafthouse movie I've been to in the last couple of years.

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sbarre

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#19  Edited By sbarre

In Canada we have "VIP Theatres" that provide the following non-negotiables for me (a middle-aged man):

  • Reserved seating you can book in advance
  • All ticket holders must be 19+ (because they sell expensive beer - that I don't purchase)
  • Nice reclining seats (set up in pairs with an armrest in the middle that you can optionally lift)

Otherwise, we don't go to the movies anymore, because I don't want to stand in line or show up super early to get good seats, and also teenagers don't know how to shut the fuck up anymore (which I blame on social media, where everyone has a hot take that they feel compelled to share with the world).

Yeah yeah, old man yells at cloud, I get it.. ;-)

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doombot13

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@marino said:

I go to the one that still exists here.

Pretty much this, except I have my choice of two. One mall 8 miles away, one mall 15 miles away.

(There's also a historic theater that's pretty awesome but only plays two movies with two showings each. And the drive-in a ways away but I haven't been there in years.)

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TobbRobb

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Big city life, so it really doesn't matter. They are all fine here. I just go to whatever is closest and has a good time for the movie I want to see. Very convenient.

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MeierTheRed

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Do i want to travel 20 minutes or do i want to travel 45 minutes. I'll take the closest one thank you.

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Firepaw

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Location. Do I want the one in my town or the one 22 miles away...

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jamesyfx

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The seating.. my favorite local cinema has big reclining seats with tons of walking space in front of them so there's no getting sandwiched in.

It's a bonus that it's also cheapest in town!

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Justin258

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#25  Edited By Justin258

Am I going with friends or not? If so, they choose and I just go along.

I have a pretty good audio setup and a reasonable display. If I'm not invited to go see it, I'm going to wait until I can watch it my vastly preferred way - with a good volume setting on a lazy weekend evening with no more than two or three people watching with me. And in a clean room with coffee to drink.

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cikame

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I live in the UK, there's one thirteen miles away which is the one my family and friends had gone to all our lives so we're partial to that one, during that time another was built a little closer but is a little less impressive from the outside and i've only been there once, and now there's one literally ten minutes walk away, but i haven't been to that one either as the last time i saw a film in a cinema was 2013.

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MonkeyKing1969

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No Caption Provided

The one that isn't 30 miles across the wind-whipped sea...whenever possible.


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Corvak

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I go to the cineplex because I live in Canada and there is only one theatre chain left.

We don't even get second run places.

Related, I don't go to movies much.

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zombiepenguin9

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The audio experience is really important to me. We have both AMC and Regal as choices, and I vastly prefer AMC simply because the Regal theaters around here tend to have painfully loud audio. I've left one or two movies with a headache that I believe was due to the volume.

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ghost_cat

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If it says “Alamo Drafthouse” on the front of the building, then I go there. Food and service are great, but all of the ones I go to have consistently good, balanced sound (which is the most important thing).

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Tom_omb

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@corvak said:

I go to the cineplex because I live in Canada and there is only one theatre chain left.

We don't even get second run places.

Related, I don't go to movies much.

@sbarre

Yeah, the Cineplex monopoly is a bummer. Here, in the Vancouver area, there's at least one Landmark theatre with nice, big reclining seats. Still I don't get out there very often, but I do go to movies regularly. Location, what's playing, and when is the most important thing for me in deciding what theatre to go to.

Price is super a important thing for me too. I tried VIP once, but wasn't worth it to me. I go on cheap Tuesdays and optimize my points. Regular showings are ideal, 3D is paying more for a worse experience, the quality difference of AVX is negligible to me, but iMAX might be worth splurging on for the right movie. I never go opening weekends and see afternoon shows more often then not to avoid the crowds.

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psmgamer

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I have Santiko's Mayan Palace and it got a makeover a few years back with leather recliner seats and a soda machine and looks way better than it did before. Plus you can pick your own seats and it's $5 during the week for early bird showings. It's pretty close to where I live and I love it.