The Next Generation of Cinema

By ASHLEY ANDERSON
Staff Writer
The Voice-Tribune

“The best seat in town” just became even better. On May 16, Cinemark – a leader in the motion picture exhibition industry whose slogan is the aforementioned catchphrase – opened its innovative, top-of-the-line NextGen theater complex inside Mall St. Matthews, offering local moviegoers a fresh, exciting option for premium film viewing.

With wall-to-wall, ceiling-to-floor screens, Barco DLP projectors, RealD 3D versatility and 7.1 JBL sound systems, the St. Matthews NextGen theater provides the newest, state-of-the-art technology in each of its 10 auditoriums. The theater also includes a Cinemark XD: Extreme Digital Cinema auditorium perfect for watching movies filmed in 3D.

“The concept is supposed to be that this is what (movie theaters are) all going to be like, and we mean the industry, we mean Regal, AMC, they’re all going to build it this way,” said Bryan Jeffries, marketing director of Cinemark, headquartered in Plano, Texas. “We feel like we’re just ahead of the industry, and this is what everything’s going to look like.”

The St. Matthews theater features 10 screening rooms ranging from a 130-seat capacity to 300 in the XD auditorium. Regardless of where or in which room you sit, you’ll experience the same breathtaking “fourth wall” experience with an expansive screen, and clearer, crisper sound emanating from the JBL surround sound system.

Ticket prices are matched with those of sister Cinemark theater, Tinseltown, as well as Rave Cinemas’ Stonybrook Theater and Apex Entertainment’s Baxter Avenue Theatres, among other competing area cinemas. Adult evening tickets are $9.25, or $10 Friday and Saturday after 6 p.m.; children (1-11) are $7, seniors (62 and up) are $6 and military (with active ID) are $8. Discount Tuesdays and Seniors Day, all day on Mondays, will offer a cheaper $6 price as well. The RealD 3D experience is normal ticket price plus a premium of $3.25.

The first showing of each movie will be $6 throughout the week, and the Met Opera can be viewed live occasionally throughout the year. Cinemark has also introduced a classic film series, which, in the past, has presented timeless motion pictures such as “The Godfather” and “Blazing Saddles.” Admission to the classic film series is the same as general admission. Jeffries also said Cinemark will screen live Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Fight Nights in the future at a price similar to the cost for an XD ticket.

As part of the NextGen package, purchasing tickets at Cinemark is more convenient than ever through the use of technology. “You can buy tickets anyway you want: at the kiosk, in person, on your app, online,” said Emily Yeh, marketing coordinator of Cinemark. “And then you can just redeem it with the kiosk.”

Additional amenities of the impressive 2,072-seat theater include a concession stand, party room and sleek lobby bar. “We are tying in the whole entertainment experience,” added Yeh, “so that includes drinks and even (at) other theaters there’s food and dining.”

On Thursday, the public flooded the complex for its grand opening – which included the premiere of “Star Trek Into The Darkness” – proving Jeffries’ prediction that the St. Matthews area was the perfect market for a NextGen theater. The St. Matthews movie house is one of Cinemark’s more than 465 theaters in the U.S. and Latin America  – and based on the response last weekend, it could soon be one of its most popular.

“A small 10-plex like this, in the end even the 18-plexes are playing probably the same 10 movies,” Jeffries said. “This gives you more of a chance to have some one-on-one. … We just think it’s going to be a little bit better experience to go to a movie than what you’ve been served up in the past.”

For more information on Cinemark Mall St. Matthews, visit www.cinemark.com or call 1.800.326.3264 + 3220 or 502.259.9649.

Contact writer Ashley Anderson at aanderson@voice-tribune.com, 502.498.2051.

Photos by CHRIS HUMPHREYS | The Voice-Tribune