2005-11-09 / Features

Convenience Costs At Queens Movie Theaters

BY Diana Sanders


Kaufman Studio houses 14 theaters— located on 35th Ave., in Astoria.
Kaufman Studio houses 14 theaters— located on 35th Ave., in Astoria. Imagine going to the movies on a Friday night and watching the same thing as everyone else in the same auditorium at the same time. Rewind about 40 years back to the ‘50s and ‘60s and that’s the way it was. Moviegoing was an event everyone could enjoy en masse, with limitations. The term “multiplex” had no significance at all. Instead, one-screen movie theaters showed single movies at most two or three times a day for about 10 cents. Now, some 50 years later, cents have turned into dollars and multiplexes are common and located almost everywhere, at least in Queens.

With more than 20 movie theater complexes just in one borough, Queens has as many multiplexes as some entire cities. The College Point Multiplex, Jamaica Multiplex Theater and United Artists Kaufman Studio 14 in Astoria, to name a few, offer a choice of at least 10 different movies showing at the same time with at least five show times for each, and even extra late night showings on Fridays and Saturdays.

The Queens theaters do not limit their showings to big-budget Hollywood motion pictures, though. The Kew Gardens Cinema on Lefferts Boulevard, a five-screen theater, has an eclectic choice in films, including foreign, artistic and Independent films, for Queens residents. Also, the Riklis Theater, part of The Museum of the Moving Image located in Astoria does the same, and holds film events. The 2005 Machinima Film Festival will be held there on November 12.

Above, “Legend of Zoro” featuring Antonio Banderas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Alberto Reyes, Julio Oscar Mechoso, Adrian Alonso.

Above, “Legend of Zoro” featuring Antonio Banderas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Alberto Reyes, Julio Oscar Mechoso, Adrian Alonso. Moviegoing in general has escalated from being a pastime of admiration for the arts to a social event that the young generation will pay to watch. This can be in part based on the impact of celebrities, which has become a major determining factor in the success and failure of movies. Movie directors have become noted for casting stars not so much for talent and potential but for popularity and sex appeal. And these stars are sure to make top dollar on the blockbusters. This tactic, though, seems to work quite successfully as fans pay relatively high ticket prices just to see their favorite stars on the big screen.

Below, “Flight Plan” featuring Jodie Foster, Peter Sarsgaard, Sean Bean, Kate Beahan, Michael Irby.
Below, “Flight Plan” featuring Jodie Foster, Peter Sarsgaard, Sean Bean, Kate Beahan, Michael Irby. This high demand has also shot ticket prices to a surprising $10.50 in the Kaufman Theater in Astoria, and $10 in the College Point Multiplex, just to name a few. These prices are significantly high as compared to theaters in cities such as Cleveland, where a single adult ticket at an evening run time is $7.50. Ticket prices in theaters in the Atlanta area also fall in that price range, averaging $7.75. The increased prices in the Queens area can be quite costly for the younger generation, considering the fact that a Friday night movie can often serve as “the perfect date.” But that doesn’t seem to stop the people, as they keep coming and millions of dollars keep pouring in for these movies.

With such a high increase in ticket sales, moviegoers are sure to expect more from the theaters as well. It’s no surprise that theaters of today are far from simple. Just in case waiting for a movie is a problem, video games and lobby cafes are sure to make passing the time before walking into the screening room less onerous. And while popcorn and soda were the usual fare for munching on during a flick, hot dogs, nachos, and even coffee and cappuccinos have made their way to the theaters.

Advanced technology has entered the world of moviegoing as well. With the Internet taking charge, almost everything is attainable with just a click of a mouse. Movie tickets are no exception. Popular Web sites such as www.movies. com instantly display all the local theaters, addresses and show times of currently playing movies, as well as a synopsis of each. And just in case waiting in line at the box office is too time consuming, a “buy tickets online” option is also available. Tickets are charged to a credit card and printed out through a regular home printer instantly. Tickets can be pre-ordered in this way as well.

If that was not convenient enough, all Regal Cinemas now feature the MasterCard PayPass option. This new feature “transmits your payment details wirelessly, so all you need to do is just tap and go,” their advertisements say. A customer no longer hands a credit card to a merchant. Instead, PayPass uses short-range radio waves and a built in chip to make transactions.

Times have changed. Movies have evolved into a massive multibillion dollar industry controlling the market and wallets of the younger generation. Queens in general plays a major role in that process, bringing the movies to the people, and collecting the money. Yet, whether the movie watched in the theater this weekend is ‘Saw II” or “Elizabethtown,” the amenities are sure to make the viewer happy, even if the movie does not. These high conveniences indeed benefit the people, offering more choice and greater luxury. But, as they say, everything has a price.

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