Would you pay $35 for a movie ticket? (Yeah, that’s what the theater owners need to bring back their shrinking audience: more expensive movie tickets.) How about if that $35 bought you a luxury moviegoing experience, including valet parking, gourmet menu choices, plush chairs, seat-side waiter service, and a screening-room capacity of just 40 patrons? That’s what’s coming soon to a theater near you (if you live in suburban Chicago and other select locales), thanks to the aptly named Gold Class theater chain.
Now, granted, most of us think the current moviegoing experience is uncivilized. Things have only gotten worse in the 14 years since Pulp Fiction, when John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson (pictured) marveled that there were theaters outside of the U.S. where you could actually order a glass of beer. Still, I don’t think this tiered pricing concept goes far enough. If this is what you get for $35, then for, say, $50, you should get a movie-watching environment guaranteed to be free of cellphones and children. For $75, you’d be seated only among fellow film snobs, or at least people who’ve never paid to see a Michael Bay film, and pre-screening cocktail discussion would consist of a debate whether Hou Hsiao-hsien or Abbas Kiarostami is the better director. For $100, while you watch, Qi Gong practitioners would massage your feet, and Martin Scorsese would show up to comment excitedly about the director’s masterful use of tracking shots.
Right now, though, I’d settle for movies projected in focus, with the correct aspect ratio and unmuffled sound.