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AMC Loews: Changing the Way People Go to the Movies
By: Tom Roarty
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I have always been a fan of the movies. However, in recent years, the theater experience has changed, and not all that much for the better. No matter how many pre-feature announcements are made calling for a quiet, cellphone-free zone, people just tend to ignore them as they talk, text, and, my all-time favorite, kick seats as if the theater were their living room. The deterioration of social etiquette in this public form of entertainment has made it so many people will forgo the theater experience and wait to view their movie wish list in the comfort of their own home. I was almost included in this group until I happened upon the AMC Loews 84th Street in New York City.
 
What the AMC Loews 84th Street did was address the most negative factors moviegoers faced and find creative, yet simplistic methods to combat them. The first evident change is the theater’s new electronic seating policy, which is slated to go live next week. The system will allow people to not only order tickets for specified show times online, which is a common feature for many theaters these days, but it will also allow movie patrons to choose their specific seats. This will eliminate the need to show up to the theater early to ensure clients get their preferable viewing area. One would think there would be a premium charge for this service, but there isn’t (yet). You can choose your movie, time, and seat at no extra charge.
 
However, the seating options alone are not the highlight of the theater’s renovation. Once you walk through the doors of your movie, you will see where the most evident changes took place. Large, leather, completely automated reclining armchairs have taken the place of traditional seats, and one cannot help but be in awe of the stunning furniture. Because of the reclining functionality of the seats, they take up a lot more room, which does a great job of separating people from one another. More space equates to fewer distractions. Patron sounds are muffled, cellphone light is less evident, and seat kicking is non-existent. Backed by the comfort of these seats, it really does simulate a home-like feeling while experiencing a big-screen feature.
 
The AMC Loews 84th Street is the first theater of its kind in the city and could pave the way for the future of movie experiences. Because of the order and comfort allowed by the new design, there is a potential for a more effective advertising avenue. Unlike past, archaic pre-movie experiences, advertisers will now have access to a controlled, relaxed audience. Which could lead to stronger message retention and heightened brand awareness. Time will tell if audiences, advertisers, and other theaters will accept this flagship renovation, but one thing is for sure: Right now there aren’t too many more ideal places to catch a movie.


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