The Spring-Klein area is the latest location for Cinemark’s “Next-Gen” multiplex, featuring 12 screens with the latest in digital projection and sound. “Houston is a big market; we’re all over the city of Houston, north, south, east, and west,” says Marketing and Communications Vice President, James Meredith.
The new theaters’ design is backed by lots of consumer research. “Every single auditorium is wall-to-wall, ceiling-to-floor screens; so that means the whole back wall is a screen,” Meredith says. “The sound system is enhanced, 7.1 capable, digital surround-sound, which is just a phenomenal way to experience a movie.”
With distractions from “studio” movie grills, as well as video on demand movies, I asked Meredith what Cinemark is going to counter the competition. “You have to be able to offer something that customers cannot replicate anywhere else,” he says. One of the biggest changes their research revealed is how movie goers want to be treated, and their expectations before sitting down to see a film. Meredith says they “like to have a few more food options, and to be able to get through the line a little bit quicker” when visiting the concession stand.
The architects listened closely, and created an environment that’s as dazzling as it is customizable for visitors. “We designed a special concession stand, called “cafeteria-style,” he says. “It’s fully manned, but customers have the ability to go through it as quickly or as slowly as they want to,” says Meredith. The configuration allows for a quick grab of goodies, or the ability to take the time to customize drinks, or fix that tub of popcorn just the way you like it.
That’s all well and good–but it’s the behind the scenes elements that really make the difference.
Meredith escorted me up a set of concealed stairs to an upper level “spine” that runs the length of the theater, equipped with the latest in digital and 3-D projection systems. “Very different from the old days, where we had 35-mm projectors,” he says, showing me the massive machines.
Cinemark boasts the brightest projectors currently available, a technical point that’s particularly important in showing 3-D films. It takes a brighter projector to create the complex images as fully as possible.
“Today we have digital projectors that sit right on servers,” he said, pointing out the elements of the projectors. “We have a main server, where we ingest digital files, and then from the main server, we’re able to direct the file to as few or as many auditoriums as we like.” This flexibility allows a theater operator to tailor movie schedules immediately, based on demand for a title.
And inside those 12 new theaters, the technology becomes magic.
“It’s a Cinemark Next-Gen movie theater,” Meredith explains. “It’s branded ‘Next-Gen,’ which means it represents all the next-generation concepts.” Some of those concepts can only be grasped in-person. It’s a place specifically created to entertain movie goers, who, research shows, “love to get out of the house and escape,” he says. Cineplex has created “an environment that, number-one, cannot be replicated at home, but, number-two, just offers them a chance to get lost in a really great story,” Meredith says.
I stayed to watch one of the films opening this weekend. A little Vin Diesel dity called, “Riddick,” which was amazing to experience with the newest, brightest digital equipment in town.
Eh…a little bit of “A Boy and His Dog” meets “Triple-X.”
Listen to James Meredith’s description of the new Cinemark Spring-Klein Theater: