Watching a movie in theaters is always a treat. The dark room, the larger than life image, surround sound, perfect temperature, a bag of popcorn all add to that enjoyable fun experience.
When we first moved to the United States, the theaters we went to just didn’t appeal to us. They were dated, had awfully narrow seats, absolutely no leg room for more my over 6 foot husband, stained floor carpets and a musty smell from not having proper air circulation. We had been used to going to fancy theaters with large living room seats and decorated as if they were theaters for a play, with beautiful drapes and chandeliers. We loved going to the movies in India and were rather disappointed here.
Besides, when we first moved here we paid an arm and a leg to watch a movie, making it a rare. Over time though, we learnt that if we watched movies on weekend mornings, they were cheap. If we bought AMC’s “sliver tickets” in bulk, we got to see movies at discounted rates. And we learnt which theaters were newer and better maintained, making our experience better with each visit.
The good thing about watching a movies in USA, unless it was at Regal in Manhattan or some such, you can just walk into the theater when you wanted to watch the movie and get seats- good seats. In India, movie watching in theaters is such a big deal, tickets get sold out as soon as the are out. People books days and sometimes weeks in advance to watch movies. Regional language movies obviously get a preference, but English movies have their fan following too. We were used to choosing “good” seats , booking them at the window or online and then waiting for the day we could go see the movie.
It’s true what they say though, ‘when you have it in abundance, you don’t appreciate it.’ Tickets and seats are always available, here in the US, so why book and await for a movie? So that stopped us from booking, and when the day came when could watch the movie, we got lazy and watching a movie was not as often as it used to be.
The whole thing was just different! And change always takes me time to get used to.
One thing I did easily get used to was watching the entire movie without a break. See- in India, theaters always break in the middle of a movie at ‘interval/intermission’. Back in India, cinema halls always stopped projecting, mid way through the movie and restart 15 minutes or so later. It is their way of making more money with food sales and giving us time to relieve ourselves in between the three hour long Hindi movies. Breaks are always at a cliffhanger moment in the movie.After interval, the movie always abruptly begins from where they left of, invariably when one is still in line to pee or is finishing paying up for your popcorn. Every neighbor of mine in all my years, has always missed a few critical moments in the movie and interupts my concentration with, “What happened?”. I cannot even began to rant on the rustle of people fidgeting to get comfortable in their seats, slurping of drinks and people walking right in front of me still returning to their seats just as the hero is telling the heroine why he he must go on some insane quest.
How I hated that madness and am glad this country plays the movie right through.
But the fact still remained that movie watching was just not as fun, if the theater was dated and we had to go early to get good seats, since advance booking online cost a few extra dollars! The theaters that were accessible to us, were not enjoyable to go to. They were not ‘fancy’, making them attractive to sit in and watch a flick.
By and by, things have changed for us, since our first few years we were in the United States. We have learnt more and know when where to watch a movie to enjoy them and enjoy them for a discounted price. It helps that our local Jersey City theater just got a facelift. We now have awesome recliner living room seats which we can preselect and are so lucky the crowds are not as crazy as those in Manhattan.
Now, after all these years here, I find it strange to go back to India and watch a movie in theaters. Advance booking for a movie, crazy intervals and not being able to go see a movie when I want to drives me so crazy that I cannot even enjoy sitting in the fancy cinema hall. I guess it’s just time and learning the tricks of enjoying movies in America.
My Take On Watching Movies For Cheap In Theaters:
- Always sign up for their points/rewards program. Each has their own perks- free popcorn, birthday drink, $ to spend on movies. A few examples
Stubs for AMC ( We do the paid one for more benefits. But free one is good too.)
Crown Club for Regal (Free)
Starpass membership for Showcase cinemas (Free)
- Many theaters have cheap shows on weekend mornings.
- Often times, theaters have discounted movie tickets on Tuesday nights.
- If you watch movies often- movie pass is seems to be a great option for unlimited movie viewing at a whole lot of good theaters that charge $13 and more for a ticket.
Let me know if you have some more cool tips and tricks to watch movies in theaters.
Would especially love to know if Angelika in Manhattan has any offers! And if they ever plan to renovate! ?