UltraStar Cinemas cossets moviegoers in cushy seating as they enjoy Hollywood hits alongside buttery servings of popcorn. Film buffs can peruse the current showtimes to handpick an action-packed flick, romantic comedy, or chilling thriller featuring inexplicably aggressive hamsters. The concession stand outfits moviegoers with snacks, drinks, and buckets filled with warm kernels, keeping stomach grumblings to a minimum during showings and providing crunchy projectiles in case of sudden younger-sibling attacks.
Situated across from the food court at the mall, Picture Show Entertainment's Paradise Valley Stadium 7 screens first-run pictures for audiences seated in high-backed leather rocker seats. The seating ascends diagonally in a stadium arrangement in each theater, each of which also houses a digital screen, while in the lobby, a behind-the-counter staff is presented in crystal-clear 3-D.
Beyond FilmBar’s colorful marquee lie two separate, yet complementary spaces. At the beer and wine bar, bartenders fill glasses with a dozen wines and more than 25 craft beers, including brews from Four Peaks and Deschutes. A candy stand and murals depicting Chevy Chase and Queen Latifah hint at what else is here: a 70-seat “microcinema” where audiences take in foreign, independent, cult classic, and local films. The theater is completely soundproofed, so moviegoers won’t have to tune out the buzz of lingering barflies, and bar patrons won't have their evening ruined by the sound of Arnold Schwarzenegger's sobering singing voice.
It’s hard to believe that Pollack Tempe Cinemas was once just another small, drab movie theater in danger of replaced by the newest megaplex. What a difference a few years make. Once Pollack management took over, they completely redesigned the theater to better reflect the Golden Age of Hollywood cinema. Autographed headshots, life-size cutouts of celebrities, and vintage movie posters all contribute to the classical vibe that permeates the theater today. Though most theaters with this sort of eclectic flair survive on a steady diet of indie and foreign flicks, Pollack’s movies are generally blockbusters and other films with mainstream appeal. On any given weekend, the theater attracts thousands of guests eager to enjoy second-run films at steep discounts and pose for pictures next to life-sized models of their favorite movie stars or second favorite key grips.
Within Studio Movie Grill's expansive auditoriums, towering screens enrapture audiences seated in plush leather recliners and at dining tables. As the familiar celebrity faces in blockbuster and cult-classic features deliver Oscar-worthy lines, sneakily quiet waiters deliver meals from a full menu decorated with more than 100 items, including gourmet pizzas, smoked ribs, and cocktails infused with the spirit of Daniel Day-Lewis. Bartenders at the lobby bar dole out glasses of premium liquors, wines, and draft beer before and after shows.
Founded in 2006 by Jim and Chris McLennan of Trash City Entertainment, the Phoenix FearCon began as a film festival celebrating horror movies, showing 15 indie films in a small art gallery. Today, the roster has expanded to both feature and short films, as well as live music, panel discussions and artist and vendor exhibits, all at the Fear Farm, a much larger venue than the art gallery the convention was conceived in. As the fest has grown, so has the list of celebrity guests who've attended, including stars from The Walking Dead, Quentin Tarantino's From Dusk Till Dawn, and the original Dawn of the Dead.