Even in the age of Netflix, cinemas entice the eager moviegoer. Movies are still a common topic for review and discussion, despite the variety of media at our fingertips.
But what of the film-going experience itself? In Kamloops, we have two options for cinema. The Paramount Theatre on Victoria St. is a familiar part of the downtown landscape for any local. In contrast, we have the much newer Cineplex Odeon in Aberdeen.
Is a theatre enough to sway a viewer?
The Paramount and the Cineplex are from different centuries. The Cineplex was born of the modern age and continues to update its technology to suit it. Customers can pay for admission online or using a smartphone application. Tickets can be scanned directly from a phone, reducing paper waste and the likelihood of loss simultaneously.
Meanwhile, when opening the doors of the Paramount, moviegoers encounter an old-timey ticket window. It inspires a feeling of nostalgia for a time to which few of us have ever belonged. The technology is old, but lineups are rare enough that a digital ticket would be redundant. The lobby is small and the snack area is smaller. The candy selection is surprisingly similar to its competition. Of course, popcorn’s enticing aroma fills the air.
Logistically, the Cineplex needs to offer applications for tickets. During prime show times, the lobby is filled with crisscrossing lineups. People wind through ropes for tickets, crowd around self-serve machines, bunch before the glowing menu of snack combos and shuffle up a small set of stairs to have their tickets ripped. So long as there are seats to be saved, people will avoid queues.
Then there are the dollar signs. The cost differences between the two are noticeable, but not too drastic. Admission at the Cineplex costs $10.75 for adults, $7.50 for children and $7.99 for seniors. If the film is in 3D, each ticket will cost $3 more. The Paramount charges $8.50 for general admission and $6.50 for both children and seniors. Both theatres offer discounted ticket prices every Tuesday.
Once through the lines with popcorn in hand, it’s important for viewers to consider where they will be seated for the next two hours.
The Paramount offers two screens with an average of two show times per movie, per night. Inside, the seating is expansive and flat. If someone with a penchant for top hats goes to the movies, he is easily avoided. Seating options abound on the average night. The short seats are in tight rows the entire width of the theatre.
To suit its demands, the Cineplex Odeon boasts eight screens and back-to-back viewings for new releases. Its seating is on a comparatively steeper pitch, increasing both the visibility of the screens and the chance that patrons will trip up the stairs in the dark.
Ultimately after emerging from a theatre, it is the film that dictated the experience. We may comment on a front-row seat or the loud person next to us, but the question remains: how was the movie?