Friday This ‘n’ That – Timing is Everything

#firstworldproblems

I love going to the movies. Currently, Friday is my day off and I like to spend the day at the movies. During the summer, things are great as movies start between 10 and 11 in the morning. I can get in three features before meeting my wife for dinner.

Unfortunately it’s not summer so two of the three theaters I frequent, Regal Biltmore Grande and Epic Theatre of Hendersonville, don’t even start their shows until 1 in the afternoon. Ditto the three I don’t go to, Carmike, Beaucatcher, and Asheville Brewing. Only Carolina Cinemas has morning showings, some as early as 11.

This is the absolute nitpickiest of nitpicky complaints.

Regal Cinemas

Biltmore Grande has a rather annoying schedule. The vast majority of their films run on a 1, 4, 7, and 10 rotation (as many theaters do). While this does mean that you can simply show up at the theater prior to one of these times and be pretty sure you’re okay, it really leaves out those of us who like to string together a marathon or even a double feature.

Carolina Cinemas

Again, Carolina Cinemas comes to the rescue. Their movies are scheduled at all different times so, if you know how long a movie is, you can plan a string of movies. This past Friday, for example, I could have gone to Biltmore Grand to go see The Visit at 130 and Crimson Peak at 4. Alternately I could have gone to The Carolina to see Crimson Peak at 1150, Sicario at 205, and Bridge of Spies at 420.

A Little Local Theater Frustration

This is going to be an absolutely whiny post so feel free to skip past. My favorite local theater is Carolina Cinemas. They have a great combination of mainstream and arthouse films, fantastic food, good customer service.

Lately though I haven’t had a clear cut winner. This is a shame as I go to a ton of movies during the summer. I would love to have a theater that had all the things I look for.

Epic Cinemas

EPIC: My closest theater is great as it is only fifteen minutes away. They have nice screens and sound systems. Their prepared food is almost exclusively microwaved and they have the world’s worst pretzels. They often have nice promotional plastic cups. They accept DealFlicks but not Fandango and have a $6 Tuesday special (Sony and Warner excluded).

Carolina Cinemas

CAROLINA: Their screens and sound are quite good but just a touch below Regal and Epic. Their fresh, locally sourced food is a mixed bag but even a mixed bag easily beats the microwaved food of the other two. Soda refills are FREE for all sizes and are located outside the counter. They are about to accept Dealflicks but do not accept Fandango and they have a $5 Wednesday promotion (Sony excluded).

Regal Cinemas

REGAL: State of the art stadium theater seating equals Epic. Their upcharged RPX theater is the best in the area. The upcharge is annoying but also means that it is less crowded. They also have the only Coke Icee available. They accept Fandango but not DealFlicks. They also have a children’s movie program in summer where the other two do not.

 

Regal Summer Movie Express

Regal

“Welcome to the 2013 Regal Summer Movie Express! Below is a list of participating locations and start dates. Each location will host the Summer Movie Express on Tuesdays & Wednesdays at 10am for nine weeks. Admission is $1 and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Will Rogers Institute.”

Regal Summer

The ones in my area begin June 11th but check the link above for your area. I love taking my granddaughter to the movies and I’m sure to catch a few of these.

Week 1: The Three Stooges & Ice Age: Continental Drift

Week 2: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days & Parental Guidance

Week 3: Mr. Popper’s Penguins & Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked

Week 4: Monte Carlo & Rio

Week 5: Coraline & ParaNorman

Week 6: Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax & Big Miracle

Week 7: Yogi Bear & Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

Week 8: Racing Stripes & Happy Feet 2

Week 9: African Cats & Chimpanzee

Regal Biltmore Grande 15 – Asheville, NC

Biltmore Grande

The Regal Biltmore Grande 15 or, as I look at it, the butt-numb-a-thon theater. Even though this theater is closer than the Carolina, I typically only come here for the marathons they show. I have attended the Dark Knight marathon (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises), the Lord of the Rings marathon (all three films in extended editions), and the Die Hard marathon (I should have left after the first four – the fifth was terrible). On May 2nd, I will be there for the Iron Man marathon (Iron Man, Iron Man 2, The Avengers 3D, Iron Man 3 3D).

Iron Man Marathon

The marathons run $20-$30 and include a coupon for a $5 medium combo. I always upgrade the drink to the large bucket (a ridiculous 64 oz.) so it lasts all day. Sad piggy that I am, I also look forward to the flight of mini-hot dogs on marathon day. I look at these as mini-vacations and always look forward to the next one.

Hot Dog Flight

The Biltmore Grande has nice stadium seating throughout, clear, large screens, and good audio. Their RPX auditorium has an even larger screen with even better audio. Unfortunately there is an upcharge for RPX and Biltmore Grande’s ticket prices are expensive for this area.

Regal has a FREE reward card. You get one point for every dollar spent but are limited to twenty points a day. Every fifty points nets you a reward – the usual rotating drink, popcorn, movie ticket (not good on 3D, RPX, or new movies). They have $2 Candy Mondays and $2 Popcorn Tuesdays.

Seniors and children are $7. Matinees are $7.50. Evenings are $10.25. 3D upcharge is $3.50 (highest in area). RPX 3D surcharge is $5. Biltmore Grande does not have a kitchen but has a wide range of concessions. Concessions are a bit pricy.

Biltmore Grande is a nice choice if top-notch audio and video are of paramount importance to you. It is high quality without the bells and whistles and they charge a price commensurate with that.

FREE Iron Man 3 and Marathon

Iron Man 3The summer season is almost upon us. My summer movie season will start with Regal’s Iron Man marathon on May 2nd. A list of participating Regal theaters is here. The marathon is $30 for members and comes with a coupon for a $5 medium soda and popcorn combo. Advice: When you get your combo, ask them to upsize your drink so you can get the FREE refill to last you all day. Same with the popcorn if you are a big popcorn eater.

1:00 p.m. Iron Man

3:30 p.m. Iron Man 2

6:00 p.m. The Avengers in 3-D

9:00 p.m. Iron Man 3 in 3-D

AMC will also have a marathon. AMC attendees will get Iron Man 3 3D glasses. Participating AMC theaters are here.

Red Baron

* If you don’t want to go to the marathon, you can always score a FREE ticket for Iron Man 3 at the grocery store. Specially marked boxes of Red Baron, Freschetta, and Tony’s pizza as well as Pagoda asian food have an offer. Four boxes net you a FREE movie ticket. The advertising is for Iron Man 3 but the ticket can be used for any movie. Limit two offers per household.

* Subway is also having a promotion with their kids meals. It is a sweepstakes with a 1 in 25 chance of winning.

Woot! Woot! Die Hard Times Five!

Nothing to report today as I am spending my day watching Bruce Willis perform his duties as a New York police officer by killing terrorist thieves in Los Angeles then killing terrorists in Washington at Dulles (check out the Pacific Bell phones though – doh!) before returning to New York to stop some more terrorists and then some more. Having eliminated all U.S. terrorists, he apparently has to go to Moscow in the latest installment.

I will be thoroughly enjoying this twelve hour odyssey of death, destruction, and one-liners with an absurdly large Coca-Cola and a platter of mini hot dogs.

Die Hard Marathon! Yippie Ki Yay Mother Russia!

I LOVE movie marathons. It gives me an excuse to spend my day in a darkened movie theater with an unacceptable in New York bucket of soda. All my cares drift away as the lights go down.

I’ve missed quite a few recently. I wasn’t interested in Twilight so I skipped the Twilight marathon. The Mighty Marvel Marathon (Iron Man 1 & 2, Thor, Captain America, The Incredible Hulk, & The Avengers) wasn’t playing anywhere near me. The Indiana Jones marathon was playing in Charlotte but I had previously promised the day to my wife.

That said I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Batman Begins and The Dark Knight right before the premiere of The Dark Knight Rises – all on Regal’s super duper RPX screen. The week before The Hobbit opened, Regal also played The Lord of the Rings extended edition trilogy and I loved that butt-numb-a-thon (with a tray of mini hot dogs!).

Mark your calendars! February 13th is a Die Hard marathon. I missed Die Hard in the theater so this will be my first time seeing it on the big screen (if I’m lucky). Yes, only the first Die Hard is a bona fide classic but I still enjoy the other three. I’m also looking forward to A Good Day to Die Hard capping off the marathon.

Price at Regal is $20 for cardholders and that includes the new movie. Woohoo!

Die Hard: 12:00 p.m.

Die Hard 2: Die Harder 2:35 p.m.

Die Hard with a Vengeance 5 p.m.

Live Free or Die Hard 7:30 p.m.

A Good Day to Die Hard 10 p.m.

Heat Waves and Air-Conditioning

One of the things I love about going to the movies in summer is enjoying some fabulous air-conditioning. Asheville’s recent heatwave had me craving some ice cold relaxation. The other day I went to a Regal Cinema instead of my normal ever-reliable Carolina Cinemas.

Boy was I disappointed. There was barely a temperature differential between the outdoors and the inside of the showing of The Amazing Spider-Man. The theater is large but very modern (it only opened a few years ago). They have an usher in at the beginning of the movie, presumably to check on such things as the temperature. I really should not be sweating during a movie, unless it’s a drive-in. Later I saw a FREE showing of The Avengers and that was much cooler (smaller theater).

Now to be fair to Regal Cinemas, I’ve been disappointed in almost every indoor venue since our little heat wave began. My wife and I have been in several local restaurants that have not been cooled down properly. I understand that air-conditioning costs quite a bit but that is part of the reason people go indoors in summer. I’ve never felt sweaty at The Carolina – though it hasn’t been nearly as cold lately.

One of the big draws of movie theaters during the middle of the last century was air-conditioning. It had yet to become the norm that people had air-conditioning. I’m not saying that we should return to the heyday of the movie palace but I should not be so warm that the temperature distracts me from the movie I came to see.

Still I guess I should stop complaining as our heat wave has left and we’re looking at highs in the low 80s. I love living in the mountains – elevation makes a big difference. Still insist on good air-conditioning at your theater – else why not stay at home.