This past weekend I had the pleasure of experiencing the new luxury theater in Bethesda, MD – the iPic. We were treated to a showing of Nightcrawler which I much enjoyed, but you can read my review of the film at the link above. Read on to hear more about this new way to enjoy a night out at the movies.
Opening it’s first northeastern location, the Bethesda iPic is the eleventh theater for the Florida-based chain, part of a growing trend of luxury movie theaters. From the moment you walk in the door, it’s like you’ve entered a five star hotel, not a movie theater. The decor alone clues you in that this is not going to be like any other movie theater you’ve been to. When I hear “luxury,” though, my concern is that the translation is “expensive.” So let’s get the prices out of the way.
Depending on whether you sign up for their free membership, whether it is a weekday or weekend, and whether you choose premium or premium plus seating, a movie ticket will set you back anywhere from $11 to $22. It’s actually pretty reasonable considering that the lower end is right on par with most standard theaters in the area and the more expensive tickets offer some pretty nice perks. Also don’t forget to factor in that there are no online surcharges, or extra costs for 3D films.
Splurging for the premium plus seating will net you a complimentary popcorn and extra luxurious plush recliners that come with a blanket and pillow at your disposal. While anyone can order from the gourmet meal and drink menu, if you’re sitting in the premium plus seating you can summon a food ninja at the push of a button and place your order through the iPad in your seat. I had the lobster roll with Old Bay seasoned chips as my main course – delicious. With an award winning chef and mixologist on staff, the food is just as important as the movie. It’s a movie and dinner date rolled into one.
Once you’ve had your meal and glass of wine, the blanket and pillow are welcome additions as you settle in to enjoy the rest of the movie. It’s a level of comfort and quality beyond your own home, and the smaller theaters with assigned seating will help keep the crowd annoyance to a minimum. I can see the food servers being a distraction at times, especially if someone gets into a discussion with them, but true to their ninja names, most of the time they are all but invisible, and certainly less distracting than someone answering their cell phone – something I can’t see happening in an environment like this.
Once you have experienced iPic you truly won’t want to go back to the same old movie theater again, which is the whole idea. If this is what the future of film going looks like, I’m on board the whole way. The Bethesda location is currently in it’s “soft opening” phase, so we didn’t even get the full experience that will come with the opening of the restaurant, exclusive pre-show, integrated touch screens, and more. With its official opening this coming weekend, however, you can be sure I will be returning.
A quick note, there is still time to sign up for a free upgraded membership and complimentary premium plus ticket. Hurry!
The iPic movie theater opens at the new Pike and Rose center (11580 Old Georgetown Road, North Bethesda, MD) on November 6. Free 3.5 hour parking with validation.
Mrs. Hamster says:
“It’s super fancy and I was extremely impressed.”