By Sandra Kraisirideja
With the opening of ArcLight La Jolla at Westfield UTC, movie lovers now have a slightly less expensive option for a superb cinematic experience as compared to Cinepolis.
Tickets for Friday and Saturday night shows are $13.75 and $11.75 Sunday to Thursday. While it’s higher than the current price at Edwards or AMC, the quality of the technology in the theaters is on par with Cinepolis, which sells tickets for $20 on Friday and Saturday nights.
ArcLight has a full service bar and cafe as well as some high-end concessions, but patrons cannot bring cafe food or alcohol into the theaters, unlike at Cinepolis.
Currently there are only four movies playing across ArcLight’s 14 theaters but more titles are coming. Fourteen screens means plenty of options for showtimes when big releases, such as “Twiight: Breaking Dawn Part 2” opening Friday, arrive.
ArcLight and Cinepolis both offer a fantastic viewing experience and reserved seating. An argument could be made that Cinepolis offers a more “luxury” experience whereas ArcLight is simply “upscale.”
For example, ArcLight has nice, comfortable stadium seating but the aisle space is the same as in other theaters and its seats don’t fully recline. The decor at ArcLight is reminiscent of a hip hotel and the bathroom is much more modern than a typical multi-plex. It also offers freshly made caramel corn and real butter for your popcorn.
In contrast, Cinepolis has a lock on “luxury” with its fully reclining leather seats, six feet of aisle space between rows, tremendous food options and a dedicated wait staff for each theater, not to mention 21 and up theaters where patrons can enjoy beer, wine or spirits.
The trouble with Cinepolis, and where ArcLight is going to be better, is with regard to last-minute ticket purchases. Cinepolis consistently sells out on the weekends because it’s theaters seat less people, which means going to the theater at the last minute on the weekend is out of the question. With 14 screens it’s unlikely all of the theaters will be sold out at ArcLight, but certain times will be harder to get than others.
Cinepolis is still the best choice for a date night or other special occasion, but it’s nice to have another choice for those Sunday matinees or weeknight movies where you just want to get out and see a movie at a quality theater without breaking the bank.