I remember it vividly, the moment I received the news. I was eating dinner, just a few days after school was out, phone in my left hand scrolling through Facebook. A message from my dad popped up on screen with a link and, as usual, I click it.
I choked on the bite of food I’d just taken and dropped my fork. This was it. This was the end.
Months later there were no white button down tops, heavy tickets, or show-girls kicking with a wink and a ‘shhh’. Now the opening-sequence calls for silence morph into a chappie-like robot breaking from a movie cut-out and sipping a Coca-Cola before a rollercoaster swings through the tracks and stops in front of a theater screen.
I’m sure any avid Wichita movie-goer understands what I’m referencing: the semi-new ownership of Warren Theaters. While a little late, there’s a debate I need to settle as a weekly visitor to our local theaters.
The prospect of the theaters I had called home switching to unknown territory was terrifying. Regal Cinemas, a pillar in the movie industry with not-so-raving reviews when I spent a limited (read: two hour) amount of time researching the new owner of a beloved theater. Things looked bleak with reviews mentioning bad customer service, rude managers, incorrect show times, bad popcorn — the list goes on. My movie-going heart plummeted into despair before the official switch even hit. Here I was, terrified I wouldn’t be coughing up copious amounts of money every month for entertainment.
Well, thank goodness everything you read on the internet isn’t true.
Do you know the number one thing I hated about Warren theaters? Sure, I loved the soothing “voice of the theater,” the retro-feel and the thick-paper tickets — but I feel like I never had the chance to experience what everyone else did. I hated missing out on the cool collectables, fun pre-movie events and free movies after I spent way too much money. AKA: all of the experiences that everyone in cities with big movie-chains had the privilege of getting.
Now, enter Regal. The empty, soulless replacement for Warren, some would say. Me? I would have to call it a blessing. Let me hit you with the reasons why:
Opening night deals
Instead of seeing the movies at 7 p.m. on Thursday (the ‘premiere’ for most blockbusters at Warren), I get to go in at 6 p.m., an hour earlier than everyone else, receive a collectable coin, a collectible cup and a concessions deal. Regal likes to call these “Opening Night Fan Events” and, if you’re interested, there IS one for “Avengers: Infinity War.”
Instead of thick printed tickets, one of the biggest complaints I hear about the switch to Warren, I now have the chance to get a ‘collectors ticket’ when I see a big release. These things are limited (usually 500 to 1000) and printed on a thick cardboard-like material. There’s no extra price, BTW, just grab one when you purchase your ticket at the box office.
Snack complaints are silly
The popcorn bags vs. tubs? A silly debate. Sure, the bags may leak a little, they might not be stable when resting on the ground– but why are you putting them there anyway? Share with a neighbor. It’s not good cold no matter where you go.
The reward system is FANTASTIC
Do you have to spend a small college-student fortune before you get a free ticket? Sure, but Warren didn’t give me the chance to cash-in for free
This story first appeared in the April 5, 2018 issue of The Vantage.