Luxury Treatment

Luxury Treatment

Electric-powered, oversized plush reclining seats, wall-to-ceiling screens, state-of-the art surround sound systems and beer and wine selections at the concession stand are luxuries that Southeast Texans might have never imagined their local theater would offer.

But those luxuries, which many traveled to Houston or Austin to enjoy, are now available right here in Beaumont.

It’s been a week since Cinemark Tinseltown 15 debuted its beer and wine selections at the concession stand, and while it may take some customers a while to get used to having alcohol available at a movie theater, if the new services are received as well as the luxury loungers that began the transformation of the theater, Cinemark will reap the benefits. All of the theaters’ seating was converted to luxury loungers by early March, said Vice President of Marketing and Promotions at Cinemark Bryan Jeffries.

While the theater lost about half of its seating when it remodeled, it is seeing more return visits and better attendance in its matinees and on weekdays, Jeffries said.

In fact, Taryn Petty, assistant manager at Cinemark Tinseltown said that the company is predicting its annual attendance to increase by 20 percent.

Petty said the theater has also been able to cut back on the number of cashiers used at the box office because so many people purchase their tickets online prior to the show.

“You’ve definitely seen a shift from purchasing at the box office to purchasing online,” he said.

While there has been some resistance to the new method of preordering tickets in advance to reserve seating by some customers — you can still purchase your seats at the box office if you wish — a majority of customers enjoy being able to walk right in and have their tickets scanned on their smart phones, knowing they have a reserved seat on the row that they’ve pre-selected waiting for them when they arrive at the theater.

Jeffries said offering luxury services at theaters like beer and wine selections at the concession stand is a trend that is spreading quite quickly across the nation.

“For us it was just a natural progression,” he said, of bringing these services to the company’s Beaumont location. “It’s been happening at a lot of the major cities and so the surprise might be that we’ve rolled it out into some of the smaller or mid-sized markets, but for Cinemark, it has been an ongoing effort to broaden the number of choices the customer has.”

Bottled beer choices like Stella, Angry Orchard, Saint Arnold Fancy Lawnmower, Fat Tire, Blue Moon, Michelob Ultra, Corona, Miller Lite and Karbach Hopadillo, and draft beer selections including Bud Light, Karbach Love Street, Shiner Bock and Dos Equis are now available. There is a nice selection of wines as well as frozen margaritas and daiquiris made with wine-based liquor substitutes customers can also enjoy. The theater, however, does not sell liquor.

Also a hit with customers is Tinseltown’s new pretzel bites, which are an affordable choice, as far as movie theater-priced items go, and come with Rico’s Gourmet Nacho Cheese, a Texas favorite since 1909 and made in San Antonio. Pepperoni and cheese pizza, hot dogs, nachos, chicken wraps and samosa are other concession stand favorites.

“There’s a wider selection of menu items for customers to choose,” Jeffries said.

If tantalizing your taste buds with beer, wine and pretzels with nacho cheese isn’t enough to get you excited, your other senses are in for a treat as well if you decide to upgrade to the Cinemark XD experience, which includes a 56-foot-long XD screen, similar to IMAX, a projector capable of 35 trillion colors, and a surround sound system with more speakers than ever before.

“When you are in an XD auditorium, the entire fourth wall is the screen,” Jeffries said. “You have this wrap-around sound that includes speakers in the ceiling. They refer to it as object-based sound.

“When an object in the movie might be going over your head or past you on the right, you will hear it go past you on the right, as opposed to just hearing the sound without having any real sense of direction.

“Most people walk in and see the large screen and say, ‘Wow, this is going to be awesome!’ but they typically leave talking about how it sounded, especially if they are in one of those great action adventure films.’”

The theater has also upgraded its 3D movie experience to RealD 3D technology.

According to the Cinemark website, RealD 3D is the new generation of entertainment, with crisp, bright, ultra-realistic images so lifelike you feel like you’ve stepped inside the movie.

“The one thing that is the secret to making a real good 3D pop is having the lights and the darks be very vivid and very sharp,” Jeffries said. “That sharpness on screen is what makes a 3D image pop, and when you have a RealD 3D image, it’s considered to be the best in the business in terms of the contrast on the screen.” Why not go all out and choose the 3D XD experience, which incorporates the best of both? Perhaps a film like the new War for the Planet of the Apes, which hit theaters last Friday, would be the ideal kind of movie to test out the XD experience for the first time. While the third installment in the Planet of the Apes reboot series hasn’t fared as well as Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, debuting 22 percent below it — War grossed an estimated $56.5M while Dawn premiered to $72.6M this same month in 2014 — the movie did open just 3 percent higher than the first film of the trilogy, 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes, according to Rotten Tomatoes.

Rotten Tomatoes rates the film at a high 95 percent.

Cinemark Tinseltown is 3855 I-10 in Beaumont. Call (409) 840-4432 for more information.