Normally, when a new technology is released that transforms the way people consume media, cinema owners freak out and try some new gimmick (Usually 3-d. Again.) In a bid to convince customers to leave their comfy houses with the big TV and surround sound and remortgage their houses to buy a ticket and some popcorn.
And if people have children then the temptation to stay home rather than parting with your kidney for ninety minutes of what I can only imagine to be a complete and utter exercise in humiliation which can only increase with the number of ankle biters that you are expected to bring.
That’s presumably why Mexico-based movie theater chain Cinepolis is bringing its thus-far successful “Cinepolis Junior” concept, created in response to fluctuations in attendance for family films, to its U.S. theaters.
Basically, the idea behind Cinepolis Junior is that, if your kids are going to climb all over the seats anyway, why not give them a playground inside the cinema? It does this by tricking out auditoriums with “a colorful play area near the screen in front of the seats, a jungle gym, and cushy beanbag chairs,” so the little monsters can roam freely throughout the film and never learn to behave themselves in public. At the Mexican Cinepolis theaters where the concept was first introduced in 2014, “Sala Junior” screenings also come with a 15-minute bathroom/vomit/incessant question break during the film, but it’s not clear if the same structure will be used in the U.S. Cinepolis is considering leaving the lights on during the movie in U.S. theaters, though, calling into question why families would bother paying $50 or more just to go to what, at that point, is merely an indoor playground. Expensive snacks, maybe?
On the one hand, I don’t like it when the lights in the aisles at movie theaters are too bright—have they been getting brighter lately, or is that just us?—so this sounds like a living nightmare as far as I’m concerned. Oh, and Cinepolis Junior screenings are more expensive than regular movie tickets. But maybe I’m just not the target audience for this sort of thing. Cinepolis Junior screenings have been successful in Spain and in Latin America, after all, and will be limited to select auditoriums playing family-friendly fare.
Myself? I prefer the good old days with “Mommy & Me screening of Nymphomaniac Volume 1”. And i’ll be avoiding these type of screenings like the plague.
What do you guys think?