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Sunday, March 03, 2013

The New AMC Marlton 8 Movie Theatre


I admit I was a bit hesitant when I heard the plan. The AMC Marlton Movie Theatre was going to jettison hundreds of seats in order to install new reclining loungers. I thought it was the last gasp of an already dying, perhaps on its last gasp, local theater. My friends and I called it literally 'the dead theater.' There was never anyone there, you always got a parking spot in front, and when the news came that they had finally closed, no one would be surprised. Not in the least.

Allow me to swallow those words.

Twenty, thirty years ago, the Marlton 8 as we called it, because it had a multiplex of eight theaters, a novelty at the time, was the happening place to be on the weekend. It was the place to be seen, and the place to see all the latest movies. Every date happened here. Welcome to the 1980s. Die Hard, The Breakfast Club, Amadeus, Batman, Weird Science, Robocop, Dirty Dancing, even Silence of the Lambs, I saw them here, and so did everyone else I knew.

There was a time, with the T.G.I.Fridays and the long forgotten ice cream parlor in the strip mall, every parking spot was taken and police had to direct traffic within the shopping center, sometimes blocking areas off to kids and other foot traffic. Three months ago, and as far back as maybe a decade ago however, the place was a ghost town. Business had moved elsewhere, into Voorhees with the Ritz, now Rave, and into Cherry Hill with the airport terminal sized and customer unfriendly AMC Loews with a whopping twenty-four theaters.

This weekend, The Bride and I had date night, On the Border for dinner and then Jack the Giant Slayer for movie. As this was the first week the Marlton renovation was complete, we chose there. I was stunned when we pulled into the nearly full parking lot. This was the Marlton 8 of old. Things got better as we went inside.

The lobby got a nice repaint and remodel as well. The refreshment area is a bit different too. Besides new menu items like chicken fingers, chicken sliders, pizza, and oh yes, French fries, there were also two Coca-Cola Freestyle machines. Color me impressed.

We did have to wait a while for them to clean the theater before we could go in and sit. I'm thinking it takes more time to clean individual seats than it did previously to just do a quick sweep. The line of impatient folks waiting to get in were not so understanding. I guess no matter how nice a theater is, there will still be jackasses who complain, and talk during the movie, use their cellphones, and bring toddlers to 10 PM showtimes - no way around it. Damn mankind, we're doomed.

The new seats are incredible, reclining loungers that come in pairs where can pull up the arm between them and cuddle. They also come with three cup holders each and touch controls to go up and down. Sooo nice. I did notice the theater's current occupancy was now 115 where it used to be between 200 and 300.

This is an incredible risk for the theater financially, especially when you consider we paid a very reasonable price for two prime time 3D tickets, nearly a third less than we would have paid at the Rave or Loews. I hope it succeeds.

I loved this movie experience. I have a new favorite theater. I can't wait to go back.

7 comments:

Marie Gilbert said...

Oh my God! My husband is never going to complain about going to the movies again!!! Thanks for sharing

Sarah said...

We still have to get there. So far it hasn't worked out but we will get there. Wish they were playing Much Ado About Nothing so I could enjoy Joss Whedon in absolute comfort.

Innus said...

Yes, I love it there, my new spot!

StormyDaye said...

I love the Marlton 8! I have pretty bad back problems and I can sit comfortably through an ENTIRE movie for once. I used to bring my girls there for a Sunday morning movie and it used to be DEAD! We were lucky if there was one other movie-goer in the entire place. Now, We actually buy our tickets ahead of time to ensure that we have seats, even if they are the "worst ones" (There is no such thing anymore). I highly recommend that if you haven't been yet, you should DEFINITELY go!

Glenn Walker said...

And just because it's what I do - here's a review of the French fries at the new Marlton 8:

http://www.frenchfrydiary.blogspot.com/2013/05/french-fry-diary-495-amc-marlton-8.html

Carol S Finger said...

Yes, this movie going experience, will bring the magic back for you. It's true luxury, with the amazing seats, the huge screen, often in 3D, with a sound system that will rock your socks. I have found every aspect of the Marlton AMC to be delightful, with no waits, with the possible exception of the bathrooms. Otherwise, no waiting for anything. I have On Demand at home, and get all the channels, on my huge TV, so for years, I haven't really been going to the movies too much, but this movie going experience, has me going every weekend. Kudos Marlton! You did it right, and it paid off. I am telling everyone who will listen to me, and recommending you, because I still can't believe it myself. Great fun!

The Movie Kid said...

I gotta be honest: as someone who literally lives BEHIND the Marlton 8, I'm not a big fan of the whole reserved seat thing. I kinda like being able to go there on a Saturday or Sunday morning and choosing a great seat. As much as I love the new seats, the theater, in my opinion, has become too commercial. There was something nostalgic about that theater, and the reserved seating deal kinda took that away. I personally enjoyed spontaniously deciding to go to the movies and getting a ticket then and there. I never really saw the theater as a "ghost town," but that's just this guy's opinion.