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.
When a team of locals designed Tower Theatres, they imagined a movie-watching experience based around comfort. They corralled comfortable, rocker-style chairs and love seats and spaced the rows 18 vertical inches apart to give moviegoers unobstructed views of the screen. And the 4 ample feet separating each row from the one in front of it allows for plenty of leg stretching, easy maneuvering past fellow guests, and luxurious preshow yoga routines. Before the previews roll on their first-run blockbusters of choice, patrons can test their coordination on video games or air hockey or select concessions such as pizza, nachos, and Hebrew National hot dogs for midmovie sustenance.
Grand Cinemas, originally opened in 1998, has two second-run theaters, Crossroads and Oracle View, in its movie-watching network. Films may be a few months old by the time they reach Grand Cinemas’s 35-foot screens, but Dolby surround sound and a unique snack bar keep the experience from going stale. Their managing staff is always eager to accept suggestions for feature films both large and small, and their modest ticket prices and membership packages grant visitors a bigger budget for snacks, offering discounts of up to $2.50 on a single item and diamond-studded soda glasses. See independent films from Hollywood and Sundance at the Crossroads location at a discounted rate.
Since 2002 The Loft Cinema, a nonprofit, has unspooled a constantly changing lineup of independent, foreign, and classic films. The classic big screen in the main theater and secondary screen upstairs flicker with a full schedule of small-run documentaries and feature films. Special themed series—such as Late Night Cult Classics, which exposes night owls to quirky hits, and One Hit Wonders, one-night-only showings of thought-provoking documentaries—bring little-seen titles to life in brilliant 35 mm. An eclectic concession stand dispenses snacks both familiar and creative, including popcorn drizzled with real butter, vegan cookies, craft beers, and licorice boom mics that are slowly lowered over guests’ heads.
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.
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.