Cardboard cutouts clad with cartoon superheroes and banners featuring beloved Hollywood starlets bedeck the walls of the Movies at Wellington lobby, reminding patrons why film viewing has become such a time-tested American pastime. Buttered popcorn kernels glint through front counters like diamonds in a jewelry-store case, luring those who want a snack while watching the newest releases in digital projection or innovative RealD 3D display. Guests can also question ticket takers about birthday-party packages for 25 guests, which offer unlimited popcorn, soda refills, and a tour of the attic, in which the projectionist stores his hand puppets.
The Sarasota Film Society's two theaters—foreign-and-independent-film-spotlighting Burns Court Cinemas and mainstream-flick-running Lakewood Ranch Cinemas—function as a nonprofit organization dedicated to heightening film entertainment and education options in the area. A one-year single membership grants a free pass for one movie (an $8 value) and one popcorn (a $4 value), as well as $5 tickets and free popcorn refills (a $4 value each) at all regular screenings for the remainder of the year. Early access to tickets means members never have to feel the shame of being the last person they know to cry about a Pixar movie, and discounted tickets to all Film Society festivals and special events allows members to compare their Sergio Leone trivia thresholds. Alternatively, two movie tickets (a $16 value) and one large popcorn (a $4 value) valid at either theater rescue customers from another night of staying in to watch their DVR's directorial debut about the living room's seedy underbelly.