Now showing: MOA new theaters

Rachel Kaplan

Six months ago, the movie theaters at Mall of America were filled with ratty, non-stadium seating, surly ushers, and outdated screens and speakers. After a long renovation, these less-than-desirable characteristics have been replaced with brand new features in an exciting attempt to re-attract movie goers.

Opening officially on October 10, the Theaters at Mall of America rolled out the red carpets, giving away unlimited free popcorn and movie posters while ushers in classic white suits welcomed in visitors. Incredibly believable celebrity impersonators, including Jack Nicholson, Angelina Jolie, and Johnny Depp walked the halls as well; if you paid ten dollars (not quite worth it) you could get your picture taken with them and get a copy of the picture to take home.

Lee Josselyn, who is part of the upper management that took over the megaplex, said the main reason for the renovation was to re-attract moviegoers who were fed up with the less-than-desirable AMC theaters. “We have a completely changed attitude,” he said. According to Josselyn, the theaters at Mall of America used to be the number one megaplex in the entire country, but after they gradually became outdated, moviegoers simply stopped coming. “We want to be the best again,” Josselyn said.

The new management has made many positive strides toward becoming the best again. The overall theater space has been doubled and now includes digital screens (like HDTV, but for movie theaters), two of which are 3D capable. “We’re extremely excited for Bolt, the Disney movie coming out in November,” Josselyn said, “that will be one of the first films to utilize our new 3D utilities.”

New rocker back seats, which are extremely comfortable, were added in as well and lean back almost a full 45 degrees. The seats are built in stadium style and the aisles are over a foot and a half wide–a nice change from the average theater–to make moviegoers more comfortable. All of the popcorn has real butter and tastes much more authentic than the normal popcorn at most theaters.

For those 21 and over, there is also a VIP section where, for two dollars extra, adult visitors will be waited on and have access to a full-service bar. Despite the new amenities, prices remain competitive with other theaters; all regular theater tickets cost $5, except after 6 p.m. on weekends, when tickets will be $9.50.

The main thing, however, that the new management wants to focus on is customer service. “We have changed the service so that people actually enjoy coming,” Josselyn said, “Customer service is what gets people coming back.” The new service, with an unusually friendly, outgoing staff is indeed a step up from most megaplexes filled with bored teenagers.