Modern technology has made a lot of our favorite activities seem arduous, inconvenient and sometimes even a bit absurd. Why write a letter when an email will suffice? Why head to a sporting event when the experience is just as good on TV?
One of those quaint notions that has been struggling in the face of convenience recently is going to the movies. Tickets are expensive. The seats are uncomfortable. You need to arrive early, lest you get stuck in the front of the theater, straining your neck to see the screen. Often, it’s easier to wait until a movie comes out on DVD or on-demand where you can watch it in the comfort of your own home, on a nice TV, in your favorite chair.
With sales and attendance dwindling, moviemakers have been working on ways to get people back in the seats, with 3-D movies being the latest fad. Instead though of changing the movies to get you to come, what if they altered the theaters?
One such place in Arlington has done just that. By revamping its interior in a radical fashion, it’s resulted in a movie theater experience like none other: easy, comfortable and enjoyable.
AMC Courthouse 8, right in the heart of Arlington, has been undergoing renovations for the past several months, turning the cinema into what one day may be the gold standard for all theaters across the country.
They brightened up the once dark entrance and added more modern touches to the concession stand, but the real change comes in each of Courthouse’s eight theaters.
All the old, plastic, uncomfortable seats have been ripped out and replaced with plush leather recliners. You didn’t read that wrong. The movie theater now has three-foot wide seats for each individual, complete with oversized armrests so you don’t have to fight with your neighbor.
photo courtesy of AMC
The seats really do go recline; each individual chair has a black button you can use to lie down or sit up. Press it back and your seat flattens to an almost level position while a footrest comes up. Now you’re almost lying completely down, in your own comfortable chair, about to enjoy a movie. The seats are so big you can almost completely forget there’s a person to your left and right.
The size of the seats and rows make it so you don’t worry about anyone else in the theater. Part of the renovation also remade the floor into wide tiers. There’s enough room for you to entirely stretch out. Even if the person in front of you leans back, you couldn’t touch them with your feet if you tried. Airline seating this is not. Each row is raised enough from the previous one that regardless of what the people in front of you do, your view of the screen is entirely unobstructed.
It really is a movie theater trip like none other, especially because it has two other trends counter to what movie goers are used to. For starters, the renovations have not raised ticket prices one bit. Despite the new seating arrangements, which significantly reduced capacity, prices have not gone up. You’ll pay the same amount at any theater across the area.
More importantly, there’s no need to arrive at the theater early and sit through commercial after commercial as you wait for your film. Each seat at AMC Courthouse 8 is numbered, so when you purchase your tickets online, you get to pick exactly the place you want to sit. Prefer to be closer to the front or on an aisle? It’s all yours, so long as you snap them up online first. That way, you can stroll into the theater at whatever pace you’d like, never again having to worry about where you’ll wind up depending on the crowd.
With all that convenience and comfort, it might be time to rethink the movie going experience and start heading out of your house again.
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