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AMC ups the luxury with new dine-in theater

Published: Friday, September 9, 2011

Updated: Monday, September 12, 2011 18:09

AMC Esplanade 14


Patrons take in a movie and dinner at AMC Esplanade 14 in Phoenix.

Dinner and a movie -- it's the iconic date. Whether you're popping your own Redenbacher in your gym shorts, sneaking Twizzlers into the IMAX in your girlfriend's oversized purse or wining and dining a few miles from your theater of choice, AMC Theaters' newly renovated Esplanade 14 in Phoenix aims to combine the yin and yang of date night into one intimate movie experience for the same price as a regular movie ticket.

AMC, the second-largest theater company in the nation, will open the company's ninth dine-in theater and first in the Valley September 7, equipped with a bar for the general public in its lobby and two different dine-in experiences, the Cinema Suites and Fork and Spoon auditoriums. 

Of the 14 renovated auditoriums in the theater, five are 21-and-over Cinema Suites and nine are Fork and Screen auditoriums, which require guests to be 18-and-over unless escorted by an adult. Fork and Screen auditoriums are a little larger and have a smaller menu than the Cinema Suites. However, the largest auditorium has a mere 136 seats, according to Noonan. The smallest has 30 or 32 seats, he said. 

It's the furthest West that AMC has opened a dine-in (next year, AMC plans to open on in Marina del Ray, California). It will bring in over a hundred jobs to the area.

"[Cinema Suites] are a response to a lot of feedback we've received that some guests are looking for a more mature, intimate, adult atmosphere," Noonan said.

"They want to go see a movie with people who are a little bit older and a more mature movie-goer audience." 

Despite the age restrictions, Noonan said Esplanade 14 will still show movies with ratings of G and PG. However, its location in Phoenix lends itself to the older, luxury-oriented demographic as it's just south of Biltmore Fashion Park. 

Ryan Noonan, a spokesman for AMC Theatres, said Phoenix had the kind of demographics the company was looking for. It's also not the first dining theater in the Valley, which could stand testament to its potential for success. 

"In some locations where we've opened this concept, it's completely new. There was nothing like it," Noonan said. "This isn't the first movie you can come get a meal at, but there are certainly differences." 

These differences may include the state-of-the-art projectors or leather recliners that some guests in the Cinema Suites can use. 

The Cinema Suites have leather recliners that are "out of this world," as Noonan put it, with a menu that offers everything you can get in the Fork and Spoon auditoriums as well as higher-brow menu options, such as bleu cheese chips, salmon, or lobster ravioli. Both the Fork and Screen and Cinema Suites serve appetizers, drinks, refills, main courses and desserts throughout the movie. Servers are alerted by a button that every guest can press any time they need assistance. In the Cinema Suites, there is about nine feet of space between seating, which is assigned instead of first come, first serve like other theaters. 

Guests won't be required to buy food or booze when they catch a flick at Esplanade 14 and they don't even have to go to the movies, either. Esplanade will also have MacGuffin's Bar and Lounge in its lobby that does not require a ticket for entry.  

Tickets prices are between $6 to $15, with food prices between $7 and $12. The theater offers student and senior discounts as well, depending on the time of day someone chooses to go.

AMC Esplanade 14, 2515 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix, 888.262.4386

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