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.

Regal You So Crazy Part 2 – Mockingjay

Regal Cinemas

Apparently Regal got a good reaction to their limited edition $100 Spectre card. Now they have a $100 limited edition The Hunger Games: Mockingjay part 2 card.

Mockingjay 2

Guests with the Regal Ultimate Ticket can receive one admission to “Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2″ each day for the entire run of the movie in Regal theaters. This limited edition stainless steel collectible is laser etched and features the iconic Mockingjay symbol. Each will be personalized FREE with the recipient’s name. Hurry! Production is limited to only 1,000 available units.  Be Part of the Revolution. Again and again.”

Ultimate Mockingjay

There are a few things that Regal has clarified since the introduction of the Spectre card. Customers receive 100 points on their Regal Crown Club card. They tout this as a bonus but it is just the same number of points you would have received had you spent that $100 on individual tickets. The card is good for IMAX and RPX showings as well.

I like the tchotchke but with RPX showings being $13 in our area, I’d have to go see the movie on eight different days to get my money’s worth.

Obviously the big question is will they do this program for Star Wars?

Also on the Regal front, I received an email about Regal’s new My Way Matinee program. This is a serious misnomer as it is pretty much the opposite of my way.

“In partnership with Puzzles International and the autism community, Regal Cinemas brings you My Way Matinee. This program is a way for individuals, families and friends to enjoy a morning at the movies in a comfortable environment. The auditoriums dedicated to the program have their lights up, the sound turned down and audience members are invited to get up and dance, walk, shout or sing!”

While this program does not at all appeal to me, I do applaud Regal’s efforts to reach out to the autism community. It is interesting that they note “enjoy a morning at the movies” because both Regals in my area stopped showing morning movies as soon as summer ended.

Lots of Special October Theater Screenings

Wow! I love special screenings and there are a remarkable number of them this month. Sadly, I won’t be able to attend most of them due to work and family obligations but YOU, you could go!.

Fathom Events, your source for special if overpriced movies, is showing the RiffTrax version of Miami Connection tonight at 7:30. For those not familiar with RiffTrax, it is very similar to Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K) in execution (people onscreen mocking the events in the movie). Tomorrow night (10/7 at 7:30), Fathom presents the extended version of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. The extended version of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies concludes the trilogy on 10/13, also at 7:30.

Dracula

Turner Classic Movies presents a Dracula double feature on October 25th and 28th at 2 and 7. The original Bela Lugosi version of Dracula will be shown followed by the Spanish version that was filmed at night on the same sets. Finally on October 29th at 7:30, Fathom and SpectiCast are bringing back John Carpenter’s Halloween.

Not movie related but Fathom Events is bringing a filmed live version of Benedict Cumberbatch’s Hamlet to theaters on 10/15. It is four hours long but I’m going to that with a couple of dear friends.

Back to the Future

Regal Cinemas is presenting the entire Back to the Future trilogy on the big screen one day only, 10/21/15 (naturally, for those who are familiar with the timeline). Strangely, it appears to currently be priced as a single matinee ticket. AMC and other theater chains are also participating so check your local listings. Unfortunately for me, this embarrassment of riches conflicts with a local showing of The Exorcist at Carolina Cinemas, 10/21 at 8.

My Fair Lady

Epic Cinemas is also getting into the trend of bringing back classic cinema to the big screen. On 10/18 at 2 and 10/21 at 7, they will be showing My Fair Lady.

I love that the theaters are doing all of this. My only complaint is that they usually do a terrible job of advertising and the screenings are often close to empty. This of course leads to a cancellation of future showings. Regal used to have a classic cinema series but abandoned it due to poor attendance.

 

Oh Regal, You So Crazy! Spectre Ultimate Ticket

Regal Cinemas

I love Regal’s special offers and try to take as much advantage of them as I can. Their newest offer is hilarious. They are offering what they call the Regal Ultimate Ticket to Spectre. For $100 plus shipping (seriously, they aren’t even covering the shipping of a card!), you get an anodized steel collectible card that they will personalize with your name.

Spectre

 

So what does this card do? It allows you to see the new Bond movie at Regal Cinemas every single day. Of course they do specify only once a day and there is no mention of it being valid for RPX or IMAX. Of course as this is the only intrinsic value of the card and tickets run $8-10 in my area, I’d have to see Spectre at least ten times to get the value of the card (slightly less if they allow it to be used for RPX or IMAX).

I can’t remember the last time I saw a movie ten times in the theater. My guess would be that if I have, it would have been Star Wars or Grease when I was a kid. I’m not above seeing a movie two or three times but ten? Speaking of Star Wars, I could really see this being a hot item for that movie.

On the other hand, this might make a great collectible.

Hot Dog! Lots of Regal Offers!

Regal Cinemas

* Tomorrow (9/17), Regal and a number of other chains are offering a double feature: Maze Runner and the new sequel, The Scorch Trials. The neat thing is that Regal (mine at least) is offering the double feature for the same price as a ticket to just the sequel. The double feature starts at 6 with The Scorch Trials premiering at 8. I love double features and marathons but I’ll be working.

* Starting Thursday, receive an Everest patch with IMAX 3D ticket purchase while supplies last. I have found that most theaters forget about this type of promotion so if you go, make sure to ask if they have them.

* Speaking of IMAX, Regal still has the deal where if you see two eligible IMAX films using your RCC card, they will give you $10 off a ticket for a third. I went to see Mad Max Fury Road on IMAX last weekend and it was amazing on the huge screen.

* The first 50 ticket holders to go see Captive will receive a collector’s ticket

* As usual, Regal still has $2 candy Monday and $2 popcorn Tuesday

 

Regal Crown Club

* If you download the Regal app to your phone, September’s coupon (which can be used on multiple visits) is $1 off a hot dog. I’m not sure if this is just regular hot dogs or also the footlongs and the corn dog minis.

Regal IMAX Offer

Regal Crown Club

Regal Crown Club just sent out an offer I’ll take advantage of.

Enjoy the Triple Crown IMAX® Offer for a limited time. See 2 different qualifying IMAX® movies from 8/28/15 through 11/30/15 and get $10 off your next adult IMAX® movie ticket purchase. The discount will be automatically loaded to the Crown Club member’s card with qualifying purchase. The $10 offer can be redeemed at any Regal IMAX® box office. Redeem offer by 12/31/15.

Qualifying movies are:

Jurassic World

Jurassic World

The Transporter Refueled

Everest

Everest

The Walk

Crimson Peak

The Hunger Games Mockingjay – Part 2

Spectre

Since I was planning on heading down to the Simpsonville IMAX (a little over an hour away) to go see Jurassic World and was already planning on doing the same for Everest, I have my two qualifiers already.

By the way, if Everest at all interests you, you should definitely read Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air. Not only does it intimately cover the terrible true events befalling that expedition but Krakauer was actually there at the time (and is depicted by Michael Kelly (Stamper in House of Cards) in the movie).

 

Regal West Town Mall Stadium 9 in Knoxville, TN

My wife and I were in Knoxville again this weekend so I used the opportunity to stop visit another theater. On previous visits, I have stopped at the Regal Pinnacle Stadium 18 Imax and RPX. It is a really nice theater, apart from having a fake Imax, that I’ve talked about before.

Regal West Town Mall

 

This time I went to Regal West Town Mall Stadium 9. I was blown away by what a waste of space this theater is. I mean this in more than one sense. I have to assume that this was something else at some point. The theater has a tiny downstairs portion in the actual mall that is really just some posters and a narrowish escalator to funnel you upstairs.

The upstairs is absolutely vast. They have a large empty room at the top of the escalator occupied only by one of their electronic ticketing machines. This is followed by a giant empty hallway, a nice, very large (for a theater) arcade. The arcade is surrounded by vast empty space. Entering the theater proper results in a ticket booth to the left and concessions to the right and a vast, roped off space before each of them. I’m not sure they have to deal with crowds often but they clearly are prepared to. The thing is that we were there on a Friday night for a 7 p.m. show and it was a ghost town.

After purchasing tickets and concessions, we went to the ticket taker and my wife had her tiny (about the size of two hands) purse searched. I had never had this happen before but the Trainwreck shooting was still in mind and Nashville had had a shooting at Mad Max. After passing through, there was another vast empty area in front of theater 1 and another concession stand.

Icee lonely

 

The other concession stand was unmanned with all the lights turned off. Strangely, even though there was no chance they would need the other stand, the Icee machine was running. There were a couple of tables but the space could easily have held a dozen tables with plenty of walking room.

Candy machine

At the Biltmore Grande, my wife likes to spend fifty cents to get a handful of M&Ms from the machine. Here in Knoxville, they had a sophisticated machine that would dispense M&Ms (three varieties) or various other candies at $4 a pop, just insert your money and the cup helpfully provided on either side of the machine. Except of course that neither side of the machine contained cups, just empty spaces where they would go.

You should never arrive at a theater and think ‘my gosh it’s hot in here’. Sadly this was the case at this theater and it didn’t get much cooler during the film. We arrived a half hour early as we usually do to pick a good seat and relax before the movie. Again sadly, we were not allowed to take our seats until 12 minutes before the feature. in the very warm theater.

We were in their main auditorium and it was a little rundown. We normally sit in front of the rails so my wife can put her feet up without bothering other patrons. Instead of a rail, there was a solid wall that was far too close, making things rather uncomfortable.

All in all, not a theater we would go back to.

Friday This ‘n’ That – RCC, FF, The Mart of Walls

Just a few notes while I have a brief respite.

Regal Crown Club

I have always aspired to the near mythical Elite status of Regal Crown Club. Supposedly sometime after you reach the 10,000 point mark (a serious milestone given that, in general, a point equals a dollar spent), Regal extends you an invitation to their secret reward club with lots of goodies.

Sadly I have to mourn now as a reader who was in the club said that it was summarily ended last year. /sigh well between two Regal cards (one each for my wife and I since they have caps on points per day) and cards to Carolina Cinemas and Epic Theaters, I was not going to reach 10k points any time soon. Say, those grapes over there look nice.

Fantastic Four

Wal-Mart has a lot of DVDs and Blu-Rays that have various movie moneys on them (Fantastic Four, Man from Uncle, etc.). They also have some $5 DVDs and Blu-Rays that have $8 in concession cash on them. Yes, that’s right, Wal-Mart will actually PAY you to buy their movies. The Blu-Rays that were $5 included Last Stand and Empire State.

I’ve heard from others that they also have $8 Fantastic Four movie money on $5 DVDs. Unfortunately, some Grimm reviews seem to indicate that you will be doomed to a poor experience should you choose to see this movie.

X-Men Apocalypse

I am not of the camp that Marvel can do no wrong (Thor: Dark World, I’m looking at you!) but the first two Fantastic Four films were dreadful and this one does not look better. I sure would love to see these rights revert to Marvel like Daredevil and Punisher. I think it is neat that Marvel reached an agreement to have a Spider-Man cameo in Captain America.

I have really enjoyed the X-Men films (the Wolverine movies less so) though I do wonder what would happen if Marvel had those rights. It certainly seems odd that none of the Marvel Universe movies can use the word mutant.

I am really looking forward to X-Men Apocalypse and Deadpool looks promising. I love that we get all these superhero movies now that would not have been possible when I was growing up (Christopher Reeve on a wire was my experience) but it also seems to choke the big budget movie calendar so we get fewer non-superhero blockbusters.

So Many Rewards Programs, So Few Rewards

I love rewards programs. Well okay, I love rewards programs that actually reward you. Companies love to change them claiming that they will serve you better when what they mean is “we just figured out that we are giving you too much”.

Coke Rewards

 

Best Buy completely neutered their program a few years ago. It’s still worth using IF you are going to buy at Best Buy anyway but it’s not worthwhile as a selling point. Coke Rewards was barely worthwhile to begin with and then they went and made you jump through a ton of social media hoops to get the ‘good’ stuff.

Cinemark

I have rewards program cards for three separate movie chains locally (Epic, Regal, and Carolina Cinemas). Cinemark, which we do not have, sent me a FREE popcorn for my birthday. None of our local ones even wished me a happy birthday. I sure hope Regal rolls out their revamped program soon, even though it does nerf some of the usual rewards. Fandango wished me a happy birthday and wanted me to pick out a movie to see but was happy to charge me full price to do so.

Disney Movie Rewards

Disney Movie Rewards I find to be very worthwhile. They give a tiny amount of FREE points out with their newsletter each month. They give you a nice bonus of FREE points on your anniversary date and for your birthday. Submitting movie ticket stubs is fairly easy on a smartphone (up to four per Disney movie). I get merchandise from them all the time. Most recently I got Funko Pop figures of Anger and Joy from Inside Out for my granddaughter (I didn’t have enough points left for Sadness).

Regal Hollywood Stadium 20 & RPX – Greenville, SC

We had the opportunity this past weekend to knock off another theater I hadn’t been to. Yes, it is just an excuse to post pictures of my granddaughter. The front sidewalk has an enormous amount of room. I’m not sure if they use it for events or not. They have the usual Regal people ropes (a la Disney) for properly herding ticket buyers.

Regal Hollywood 20

 

Inside I was surprised that they had ropes again for herding customers to the refreshment counter. I guess they get bigger crowds than I am used to. The usual Regal fare was there (soda, icees, popcorn, candy, hot dogs, pretzels). Miss D found a Minions display.

Minions

 

They also had a really nice full-size Kung Fu Panda statue (which will come in handy for the third movie).

Kung Fu Panda

 

We didn’t try the RPX (which I love in Asheville) as the film was Ted 2 and just a tad inappropriate for the little one. Seating was stadium-style but the seats were rather hard and not very comfortable.

A good time was had by all at Inside Out but no one was particularly impressed by it. I think I enjoyed it more than the girls did.