8 Ideas for Movie Theaters of the Future

In the spirit of the Academy Awards, as well as an article in EW Magazine (not to be confused with Nickelodeon’s Eww Magazine), I have some ideas I’d like to suggest for movie theaters of the future. Some of these can be combined, while others won’t work with one another.

  1. I don't know who this is, but I want to go to this movie theater.

    Assigned seats. When you go to the symphony, you pay for a specific seat–why can’t we do that for movies too? It would let you optimize the seating arrangements and people wouldn’t have to stake out seats any more. In fact, take it a step further and charge different amounts for different seats. If you’re on a budget, pay $4 for a front-row seat. If not, pay $12 for a premium seat. Or pay $14 for a massage chair. Or $60 to rent a soundproof suite in the back with food service and a private bathroom (and permission to yell at the screen as much as you’d like).

  2. If you have assigned seats, why not sell season passes? You could buy a seat for a month or a year at a discounted price.
  3. I’m huge on movie theater popcorn. It’s something you cannot get at home if you rent a movie (microwave popcorn has come along way, but it’s still not the same). I can’t fathom why some movie theaters (I’m talking about you, AMC Esquire) are so lazy about their popcorn. In addition to good popcorn, I wish that my popcorn could be sprayed from all sides with a little bit of butter and popcorn salt. That way ever kernel is perfect instead of just the top layer of the bag.
  4. Every movie theater should designate some screens for kids under 5. Kids under 5 would not be allowed in any other screens.
  5. Have an exercise theater–a screen with treadmills and elliptical machines instead of chairs. Maybe a smaller screen that only shows movies with really hot people in it (to motivate you to work out). If you burn the most calories during the movie, your movie is free.
  6. Let people vote on the movies they want to see at your theater. This can happen from home by logging onto your theater’s website (if you vote, you get a dollar off the movie if it’s the “winning” movie) or from the theater itself–you vote for movies you do or do not like during the previews. By allowing people to demand movies in that way, you end up with fewer duds.
  7. Have bathrooms and mini-concessions in the theater itself so you don’t have to miss anything. A more expensive variation of this are pub theaters in which they bring food to you. I love the concept, but you can’t fit as many seats into a pub theater.
  8. I’m not quite sure what a solution is for people who text or look at their phones in the movie theater, but there must be a way to remove that huge annoyance. Maybe seats that give you a little electric shock if you play with your phone after the movie starts.

I can remember walking into movie theaters as a kid and being overcome with awe and wonder. I think it’s possible to recapture that feeling as an adult, and I look forward to theaters that are up to the challenge. The rest of them…well, they’re just being lazy, and eventually they’re going to die out.