West End provides new theater option

Dann Fry

For patrons of the west, options for movie theaters have always been limited. On November 21, however, ShowPlace opened a new theater in St. Louis Park as part of the extensive Shops at West End project. The new theater, officially the Kerasotes ShowPlace ICON Theatre at West End, offers a welcome solace from the closest alternatives: sticky and decrepit Mann theaters, overpriced AMCs, and a scattered few independents with small, outdated auditoriums.

Coming in the tail end of a decade where DVD sales and on-demand TV have hugely affected the theater industry, ShowPlace’s 16-screen theater promises a new experience unique among theaters in the area––bathroom attendants, ushers in every theater, an upstairs bar, and VIP balconies are all present. There are no pre-film ads, and free refills are available for all sizes of popcorn (with real butter) and beverages. The theater has also established policies that restrict all under-17s from the theater without an of-age guardian after 7pm; there are two screens exclusively 21+.

These amenities have a price, though. To see a movie at the fancy new West End 16, expect to pay a premium for the ticket––$12 to $15, depending on auditorium and time. In exchange for a ticket price slightly higher than the competition, movie-goers will see a tangibly better movie: premium silver screens (which are especially necessary for 3-D presentations), all-digital projection, and state-of-the-art surround sound complete each theater. ShowPlace also allows specific seats to be reserved, eliminating the need to arrive early for premieres.

Under-17s might not appreciate some of the adult-oriented policies (matinées are cheaper anyway), but for the rest of us, The West End looks to be one of the better theaters in the metro area.