The AMC Theatre chain is ready to unveil the tenth theatre in the oountry equipped with a "Dine-in" concept, at the West Olive 16 theatre in Creve Coeur Monday.
The company has reduced seating in each of the 16 theatres to create two experiences to cater to audiences looking for a comfortable seat and a little more than the traditional popcorn and soda menu, including alcoholic beverages.
Fork & Screen® theatres are open to customers 18 or older, except when a parent or guardian is present. Cinema Suites® theatres are open to customers who are 21 or older. The theatre will check for identification, regardless of your age.
Will the increased food experience detract from watching the movie. Or to put it in Hollywood parlance, would this be a better theatre for an action film instead of a drama that might require more focused attention?
"The first question everyone asks is how do I watch a movie and not be disturbed," said AMC spokesman Ryan Noonan during a media tour Thursday. He said everything is set up in a discreet way to stay out of the way. The smaller audience sizes should allow better ease of access for staff.
Customers order their food before the movie starts, then get their check delivered 45 minutes to an hour into the film. Each seat has a customer service button, not unlike what you see on board a plane.
Noonan wouldn’t divulge exactly why Creve Coeur was chosen as St. Louis' first location with the Dine-In concept, but he said the hope was that moviegoers would consider it a "destination theater" from across the area.
He also wouldn't compare it to the dine-in experience launched in recent months in St. Louis by the competitor, Wehrenberg. He did say he'd sample it while he was in town.
One question that came during public discussion in front of city council members when the theater project came up for city approval was wether the more adult experience would push younger crowds to the AMC 12 theatre a few miles east on Olive near Lindbergh.
Noonan said they weren't expecting issues, just giving people more opportunites, noting a similar situation in the Kansas City area with theatres located nearby.
AMC wanted to get the Dine-In setup running in time for the usually lucrative holiday movie season.
Six screens in each concept will be ready for Monday's opening. The remaining 4, along with digital projection for all, along with a lobby bar, will be finished in January.
The company's staff at the theatre has expanded from 40 to roughly 300 in making the switch to dining.
To mark the opening, AMC is giving away 24 tickets (two a month for 12 months) and 12 free appetizers (1 a month for a year) to the first 100 people in line Monday morning at 9 a.m. The company says it will allow people to start lining up Sunday at 10 p.m.