AMC Fork & Screen

October 28, 2008 at 9:01 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Thanks to my good buddy Eric at Scene-Stealers, I got a free pass to tonight’s preview of AMC’s Fork & Screen at the AMC 30 in Olathe. Modeled after the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, AMC’s entire East Wing boasts a high-class bar and lounge, a full menu and wait staff, and in the Cinema Suites, leather recliners. I met my friend Rick around 5 to stand in line…but we were one of the first ones there. We figured better safe than sorry, and counted ourselves lucky not to have to stand around and wait. We got a couple of drinks at the bar (a very tasty mango smoothie for me, and a very stiff scotch for Rick), then took a tour. There are two types of theaters: the Fork & Screen, which features red plush flip-down seats and a counter than runs the length of each row. At each seat is a button that will summon the wait staff, and you can order anything from standard concession fare to pizza, burgers, quesadillas, and fish & chips. They also had an extensive drink menu, and some enticing gourmet desserts. The Cinema Suites, the second theater type, seated fewer people, but featured comfy leather recliners, much like the movie theater seats some well-off homeowners install in their own home theaters. These, too, offered the same wait service and menu. Instead of a counter, each chair had a swinging tray. After some deliberation, Rick and I decided to switch from Speedracer to that silly Adam Sandler Zohan movie, just so we could sit in those recliners. And it was so worth it.

The food was on the expensive side (which I expected), but it was unexpectedly delicious. I had the fish & chips with home-made tartar sauce and a hickory flavor ketchup, and I think it rivaled anything you’d get in a restaurant. For $11, not too bad. For another $6, I added a brownie and ice-cream dessert, which was absolutely fantastic. Much better than you’d get in a typical bar. The service was pretty good, but a little disruptive. I didn’t mind missing the Zohan and his various butt-shots, but if I were riveted by, say, Quantum of Solace, I would probably be irritated by the interruptions.

All-in-all it was fun experience. The regular Fork & Screen theaters will charge the same admission price as a regular theater. But because of the set up, I’m not sure it would be all that comfortable to eat a full meal. You’d have to sidle up to the counter, sitting on the edge of your seat, or order a finger food and set it in your lap. Also, I was a little unclear if they served alcohol in these theaters — I’m thinking not. The Cinema Suites cost $10 extra, but they give you a $5 food coupon. Seating is limited (only 32 seats in our theater), and the seats were assigned. Rick and I were in the back row, and because we’re both a bit vertically challenged, the railing was cutting off a bit of the bottom of the screen. Seats in the very front row reclined back, so if I were to pay for these, I’d likely pick the front row. We were also told they’d be offering pillows, which is a nice touch. The only drawback for me, being only 5 feet tall, was that I couldn’t touch the floor if the seat wasn’t reclined. Not comfy at all. But I’m sure a tall person would have loved it 🙂

I’ll be interested to see if this catches on. It’s a neat idea, but with the direction home theater technology is going, I wonder if people will want to pay $20 per ticket, plus another $20 per meal, when they can sit in their recliners at home and turn up the surround-sound. And pause. And rewind. Tough sell.

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