A major theater chain is coming very close to perfecting the worst possible way to watch a movie.
Cinépolis revealed plans to put a children’s playground in movie theaters. The first-of-its kind design in the U.S. (photo above) plops a 55-foot long and 25-foot high “play structure” inside the auditorium itself.
The first two “Cinépolis Junior” theaters will open this month in Southern California.
The move comes at a time when most cinema chains — led by pioneer Alamo Drafthouse Cinema — are becoming increasingly strict about limiting disruptions in theaters by banning talking, phone calls, and texting. But the Cinépolis Junior concept goes 180-degrees in the other direction, creating a moviegoing experience that shrugs off the notion anybody should have to pay focused attention to a story for two hours straight.
The company further describes the new concept as a “space where parents feel at ease and kids feel right in their element as they watch their new favorite film.” The theaters will also feature “elevated snack favorites such as enhanced popcorn flavors like Cheetos, Chili, Caramel, and Zebra, along with other kid-friendly menu items,” as well as “seating alternatives such as colorful bean bag-like seating and lounge chairs, and vibrant décor.”
Explained the CEO of Cinépolis USA, Adrian Mijares Elizondo: “To help new guests fall in love with movies is our goal, and to do it in a way that caters to every need is our mission.”
It’s a reasoning that raises a few questions, such as: Is a playground in a theater really a need? And can you truly fall in love with a movie while you’re stuck in a giant tube slide?
Ticket prices, Cinépolis adds, will include an additional surcharge for the pleasure of having a jungle gym just a Skittles throw away from your seat.
The company first introduced the concept in Mexico two years with the playground area open before a movie started and during an intermission. But according to the L.A. Times, the chain is considering for the U.S. version “leaving the house lights on during the movie so that restless children can easily get up to play.”
Of course, some parents will doubtless embrace this concept. But the idea of watching a movie beside an indoor playground of shouting children wired on “elevated snack favorites” struck many social media users as totally hellish: