The country's largest movie exhibitor is giving Lower Mainland patrons a chance to order food to their seats inside the cinema.
This week, Cineplex Entertainment opened five VIP Cinemas inside the SilverCity Coquitlam multiplex at 170 Schoolhouse Street.
The five VIP Cinemas are restricted to people 19 and over, whereas the remaining 15 theatres are open to patrons of all ages. People who want to attend one of the five VIP auditoriums can purchase tickets from a dedicated box office.
Not only can moviegoers order food directly into the VIP auditoriums, they can also eat in a spacious new restaurant on the premises. That's in addition to the traditional concession stands in the cinema lobby.
"The VIP dining area is actually for all of our guests in the theatre complex ," Cineplex vice president Pat Marshall told the Straight during a tour of the theatre. "If you're a minor, you must be accompanied by an adult in this area."
In the dining area, it's possible to order nontraditional cinema food, such as flat-bread pizza, chicken sliders, barbecue steak wraps, quesadillas, and edamame, as well as the usual movie food like popcorn. Marshall explained that the company hopes in the future to obtain a licence to serve liquor in the VIP areas.
Pat Marshall explains how the VIP process works at SilverCity Coquitlam Cinemas.
Last month, NDP MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert submitted a petition to the legislature to allow alcoholic drinks to be served at movie screenings. This is currently illegal in B.C., but it's allowed in some American states.
The VIP Cinemas also feature reclining seats in the front row. Marshall explained that it's possible to go online and reserve your seats, similar to what one might do for a concert.
Pat Marshall explains how you can order food from your theatre seat.
Cineplex Entertainment has also installed one UltraAVX screen, which is possibly the largest movie screen in the region. This technology includes the latest in Dolby digital sound technology, and the company also provides reserve seating in high-back rocker seats.
It's one of five 3D projection systems in the complex. "Not every movie needs to be made in 3D, so we're not putting 3D in every auditorium," Marshall said.
In addition, the company has converted the traditional movie posters into digital presentations. "We have our own digital media-lobby network," she explained. "So it makes it far more interactive, and allows us to be much greener."
Cineplex Entertainment has pegged the construction cost of the upgrade at $2.1 million.
In January, the company will open an XSCAPE Entertainment Centre in the lobby, which will offer the latest interactive video games. "So what will happen is you'll be playing the games, and you'll get coupons," Marshall noted. "And you'll use those coupons at a redemption centre for prizes."
The cost of tickets has been staggered to reflect the moviegoing experience. General admission is $12.50, with children and seniors paying $9.50.
The UltraAVX general admission and general 3D admission price is $15.50, whereas an UltraAVX general admission price for 3D is $17.50. There are lower prices for children and seniors.
The VIP general admission is $19.50, compared to $22.50 for a 3D film in the VIP auditoriums.
Follow Charlie Smith on Twitter at twitter.com/csmithstraight.