Yesterday it was announced that AMC will be opening an 11-screen movie theater in Block 37's ghost town. The term "luxury" has been bandied about to describe this new downtown movie house, which automatically has us flinching. Luxury generally means pricey, and as many of the city's cinemas have begun to upgrade their amenities, it's a word that means less and less when it's applied to the movie-going experience. This posh multiplex is set to boast a bar, table service and "Cinema Suites" that are only open to viewers 18 and older. While these perks sure seem nice, they're pretty commonplace in these type of establishments. If we're going to be shelling out extra bucks for a swanky night at the movies, here are some amenities we'd like to see at this establishment.
RECOMMENDED: The best movie theaters in Chicago
Distraction-free table service
Restaurant-style menus were one of the first upgrades that lavish theaters rolled out, but even though the concept has been around for years now, few have actually found a way to deliver food and drinks to patrons without getting in the way of the movie. Austin's Alamo Drafthouse has managed to accomplish this with the wonderfully low-tech solution of slips of paper and an extra, recessed aisle between seats that servers can easily walk through to pick up orders and deliver food without blocking your view of the screen.
Healthier food options
We already feel guilty for dropping way too much money on movie snacks. Must we also feel bad about the obscene caloric intake as well? You've got a full kitchen back there, surely there can be a few menu options that won't have us rolling ourselves out the door. And try to be creative—salads don't eat well in the dark.
Movie trailers are fun. They're short films that can make awful movies actually seem mildly entertaining for a few minutes. Advertisements, however, are annoying and a disrespectful use of your audience's time. We're here to be entertained, not to earn you ad dollars.
Zero tolerance for bad audience members
A movie theater is a shared space and a single person checking their phone or talking with their neighbor can ruin the experience for everyone else in the room. Audience members shouldn't have to further interrupt their movie to leave and find a staff member to handle the problem. Ushers should be at the ready to manage problem patrons.
Larger seats and aisles
We are not a slim-hipped city and while many of our local multiplexes have fairly comfortable seats, the aisles leave something to be desired, especially in a packed house. No one enjoys having to play musical chairs so that someone in the middle of the row can go to the bathroom.