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.

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).

 

How Bad is Sinister 2?

I have written the title and the beginning of this post prior to seeing the movie. I’ll change the title if I’m wrong. (I wasn’t wrong)

Sinister 2

 

Sinister 2 (2015) – Rated R

A young mother and her twin sons move into a rural house that’s marked for death.

I normally try not to prejudge movies but the original Sinister was just okay. It cost nothing to make so naturally made a ridiculous profit. It helped that indie darling Ethan Hawke was in it.

Along comes Sinister 2 with no Ethan Hawke and no advance reviews. Not only that but Fandango was giving buyers $5 concession cash to go see this. I guess the other thing which doesn’t give me hope is that all the latest horror gems have been independent and/or foreign features (The Babadook, It Follows) while the dreck have been quickie sequels (well some of them – The Pyramid and As Above So Below were not only terrible but wasted their locales).

Sinister 2 is director Ciaran Foy’s sophomore effort. His debut was with 2012’s flawed but fascinating horror movie, Citadel.. The writers are the same ones as Sinister, Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill. These are Cargill’s only feature credits but Derrickson has written other horror (Deliver Us from Evil, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Hellraiser: Inferno, Urban Legends: Final Cut)

Sinister 2 promotes James Ransone’s (The Wire, Generation Kill) support character of Deputy in the first film to leading man here. The deputy might as well be named deputy doofus a la David Arquette in Scream. Shannyn Sossamon is Courtney Collins, our struggling mother of twins. They gave her an absolutely hilarious movie job – she is an antique furniture restorer. It is portrayed as believably as it sounds.

Well, the first two acts were just meh. The main flaw is that all the characters are quite unpleasant or horror movie stupid. There is a scene in the film that is really nonsensical and only serves to sideline a character to serve the plot. Oh and to stupidly set up the obligatory stinger.

The third act is indeed as stupid as feared. Honestly the first two acts should have been edited down to one act. The real second act is completely missing – you’ll know what I mean when you say “huh? what the heck?” When the third act starts. I’m guessing the parts leading up to the third act jump may have been filmed but looked ludicrous and were deleted. One characters fate will have you scratching your head.
Sinister 2 is indeed terrible but I thank them for the grub and the hour and a half in a darkened theater.

Friday This ‘n’ That – The Sinister Fandango

“A bad day at the movies beats a good day at work” – Kevin Smith

I have a really wonderful life but I’m an introvert and periodically I need alone time to recharge my batteries. Usually I get a day a week which is great but it’s been several weeks so I’m a little antsy. Thankfully, today is my day off.

As much as I’ve made my home into a theater, I still get a real sense of comfort from going to the movies in an actual theater. I’m not sure why that is. Perhaps I should work harder on making a cozier theater.

Fandango

I normally only use Fandango with special offers as they charge that pesky customer fee on every transaction, even on their own promotions (EXCEPT for you lucky AMC Stubs members, I’d sure like it if Regal Crown Club would follow suit). Well, they are currently offering a $5 concession gift card with purchase of a ticket to Sinister 2.

Sinister 2

Apparently I’ll go see a bad movie if you offer me FREE grub to go with it. Woohoo! Mini corn dogs ($5.50) for dinner! And a drink from my Regal Crown Club card! Maybe it won’t be so bad. I’ll probably go see a second film with my soda refill.

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.

Regal, Regal, Regal, and FREE Movie Tickets

Regal Cinemas

Normally, I’m not fond of big chains but this summer Regal has really won my business. Neither my local Epic nor my beloved Carolina opted to do summer kids movies. Let me tell you the Regal Biltmore Grande is absolutely packed on Tuesday and Wednesday morning for their $1 movie. They have obviously reached out to various groups as children arrive by the busload for the Regal Summer Movie Express.

Regal Summer Movie

 

Regal also gives points for concession purchases on their card (though only a ridiculous few) which is something my Epic does not. The big chain does have other advantages. My wife is able to exchange credit card points for Regal gift cards and Blue Cross Blue Shield also had a program that allowed me to redeem a Regal card through them.

Regal Crown Club

 

Combining Regal gift cards, the Regal Crown Club, and the numerous FREE movie ticket promotions has allowed me to spend very little on movies this summer.

There are currently FREE movie ticket offers at Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and Target on various DVDs and Blu-Rays for current movies Terminator Genisys, Max, Magic Mike XXL, Minions, and upcoming movies Fantastic Four, Mission Impossible Rogue Nation, Hitman: Agent 47, Man from U.N.C.L.E., and Pixels. Most of the stores have one or more endcaps devoted to those offers.

Hormel Pepperoni, Totino’s Pizza Rolls, and Orange Crush all have FREE movie ticket offers as well.

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’s New Crown Club Card

Regal Cinemas

 

I spent the past weekend at a conference in Atlanta with my wife and granddaughter. I hate Atlanta – too hot, too many people, too much traffic – but while I was there, I got to try out Regal’s new pilot program for their rewards card. It is currently in Beta and I am not sure what other markets it is in (certainly not our Asheville one).

I have to say both that I hate it and that I cannot wait until it comes to Asheville. Periodically, theaters and stores will revise their rewards programs in order to ‘serve you better’. This is typically market speak for we are taking away what you liked about our program and giving you something far worse and cutting your benefits but we’ll make it shiny so you won’t notice (looking at you Best Buy).

Their current program gives you a point per dollar spent, with a lot of caps and restrictions, namely a maximum of 20 box office credits per day (two tickets at most theaters will put you over that) and only a handful of credits for concessions. Every 50 points nets you something (small popcorn, small soda, movie ticket) in a set rotation.

The new program removes the point caps and restrictions (nice) and allows you to choose your own reward (incredibly nice) but makes those rewards much more expensive (gotcha!). It changes the point system to one you can spend and makes it a point per penny instead of per dollar so switching makes you think you are getting a lot more.

What makes the new program worthwhile? Well, in addition to the now overpriced FREE drinks, popcorn, and movies, you can use your points for movie tchochkes! The most expensive thing they had were 27″x40″ movie posters of current and upcoming features for 11,000 points. Some tchotchkes were already sold out like Jurassic World pins and a pretty nifty Mad Max backpack.

I would much rather earn points for tchotchkes than continue to get FREE popcorns that I save for my wife, small sodas that I have to pay to upgrade, and movie tickets where I’m going to go to the movie anyway.

The new program also had bonus points for daily movie visits at three different levels of membership (a la the new Coke Rewards program). Thankfully unlike Coke, the program does not rely on social media to up your level. On your sixth visit, you get Emerald status (250 extra points per day you attend I think). On your 20th visit of the year, you get the highest level which nets you 1,000 bonus points per day you attend. I will say that the points plus the highest bonus level points did not equal as fast as you earn rotational rewards now.

Sadly, while I was in the program for seeing a movie in Atlanta, as soon as I went to a movie on my return to Asheville, it switched me back to the regular rewards program and now I have no access to the beta test. /sigh if only I had spent those points before seeing Jurassic World.

It was fun while it lasted and I look forward to the corporate-wide rollout. With a good enough set of movie merchandise, I could see making Regal my go to destination for the movies.

Theater Rewards Programs – Regal, Epic, Carolina, Carmike, AMC

I love rewards programs. Most theater chains have rewards cards but not all are created equal, and per usual, each one has its strengths.

Epic Rewards

 

Epic rewards program looks wonderful. Rewards are every 40 points and are large size not small. Get to 480 points and you get a night out at the movies. Awesome right? Well in practice not so much. You can only earn a maximum of 12 points a day and NO points at all for concession purchases. Their ad states you can check the Refreshment Menu for additional points but I have NEVER seen additional points. The movie ticket reward is limited by quite a few restrictions. At absolute best, you can receive a reward every fourth visit.

Epic also offers cardholders a promotional size popcorn for $2 on Thursday. I find this size to be quite adequate for one person.

Regal Crown Club

 

Regal’s Crown Club was the standard for a long time. They recently moved from giveaways at 40 point intervals to 50 point intervals. They have the same popcorn/soft drink/movie ticket rotation, although they never give out a night at the movies and all of their rewards are small size. On the other hand, you can earn up to 20 points a day purchasing tickets and up to 10 points a day at concessions. They also often have particular movies that grant bonus points. This means that you can get a reward every second visit (or about every third if you go solo).

Regal also has special rewards. There is a featured candy for $2 every Monday, $2 popcorn on Tuesday, and 5 bonus credits for Thursdays.

*Caveat: while Regal’s stated system seems nice, I have been to 7 movies and many concession purchases lately without receiving a single reward. I can only imagine that my card is locked for some reason and I intend to speak to them next visit but currently my card does not appear to be earning points. I don’t know if this is just my problem or if this is a common occurrence. It certainly has dampened my enthusiasm for Regal.

Carolina Cinemas

 

Carolina Cinemas has a hilarious super secret program called the Carolina Club Card. I say super secret because the counter advertisement merely tells you that you can earn popcorn, soda, and movie tickets but not how many points you can earn in a day. Many other particulars are left vague. The flyer and card both say full rules & regulations are available online at carolinacinemas.com but there is NO mention of any kind on their website that they even have a rewards program. I do manage to earn a fair amount there so I have to assume it is on the same basic schedule as Regal and Epic but it would be nice to know.

I never go to our Carmike theater after having several customer service issues there many years back. There is little need as Asheville is stuffed with theaters. I looked up the Carmike Rewards program. You can earn up to 20 points each for ticket purchases and concessions over a three hour period. This is fairly generous but rewards are only given at the 80 point intervals. Yikes!

We don’t have an AMC theater in our area. I’ve heard that their Stubs program, while having an annual fee, is the best in the business, offering plenty of opportunities to earn items and granting upgrades.