Hearne: JOCO Movie War Unfolds — Cinetopia Scoops AMC on New X-Men, Adam Sandler Movies

10348763_662787873756323_8744193231659645101_oThe timing couldn’t be more perfect…

Think King Kong versus Godzilla – AMC Town Center 20 versus Cinetopia Overland Park 18  -Kansas City’s 800 pound gorilla versus the upscale, upstart from Beaverton, Oregon.

For two weeks now Cinetopia has been ushering forth in the local movie marketplace with soft openings at its spanking new movieplex at the ritzy Prairiefire shopping and entertainment complex near 135th and Nall.

And in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t get much grander than Cinetopia with three different levels of upscale auditoriums and – at long last – in-theater dining options that transcend glorified fast food. Meanwhile back at Town Center, AMC has spent seven figures improving its plex with more food options and roughly 40 percent fewer seats in order to make room for recliners with more legroom.

So the battle lines are drawn. 

The latest: a fight to the finish over which plex gets the major new studio releases like, you know, Godzilla

“It’s interesting that both new major releases are advertised as opening next week at Cinetopia but not at Town Center,” says KCC movie guy Jack Poessiger. “Could this be a sign of things to come?”

Whatever it is, it’s huge and well could backfire on AMC’s. More on that later.

x8je“Cinetopia has the new X-Men movie and Blended with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore – so they’ve got both of the big movies opening next week,” says an industry source who asked not to be named. “And it appears AMC will not be playing those movies at Town Center because AMC is taking a stand that it will not play movies that Cinetopia plays. I’ve heard that they are determined to try and force the film companies into allocating the movies – splitting them between Town Center and Cinetopia.”

A check of both websites shows that moviegoers can buy advance seats for X-Men and Blended at Cinetopia but not at Town Center.

A glitch perhaps?

Perhaps not, since AMC’s Studio 30 Olathe has both movies listed for next weekend.

As for what ultimately may happen, “It’s up to the film companies to decide what they’re going to do,” says the source. “But if they go to an allocation system with 50 percent of the new movies at Town Center and 50 percent at Cinetopia, that would leave Dickinson’s nearby Palazzo with 100 percent of the new movies. So Dickinson could be the big winner if they split the movies between Town Center and Cinetopia.

“And Dickinson just went to a new pricing system with lower ticket prices and $1 popcorn. So if you’re not going to go for the glamor and all the bullshit, it’s a big savings at the Palazzo.”

Incidentally, for the record Cinetopia is a bit more than two miles from Town Center, where the Palazzo and Town Center are nearly five miles apart.

Once upon a time, AMC wasn’t afraid to go what they call day-and-date – toe-to-toe – with anyone.

Gerry Lopez from KC Business Journal

Gerry Lopez
from KC Business Journal

“Basically, AMC used to take an attitude of we’ll play all the movies and compete against anyone because we have a better mousetrap,” says the source. “But that’s all changed since AMC CEO Gerry Lopez came in. Now AMC plays hardball.”

Two wildcards:

By passing on movies like X-Men and Blended, AMC is effectively sending its Town Center customers to check out its fancy-schmancy new competitor. Not exactly a smart business move.

That said, soft openings aside, chances are the lines to get in could be long and very slow at Cinetopia with the confusion almost certain to unfold at the box office with three different levels of auditorium seating, dining and pricing options – all of which will be in need of explaining to first time moviegoers. Might that leave a bad taste in the mouths of people who might miss the start of their movie?

Speaking of pricing…

“Cinetopia will have the highest priced tickets, AMC Town Center will be slightly lower and Dickinson will have the lowest, plus dollar popcorn,” notes the source.

And talk about confusion, with three different levels of auditoriums, weekday, weekend, early bird and 3D, Cinetopia’s ticket prices are all over the map. To the point of being overly confusing. Alamo Drafthouse made and then remedied that same misatek, you may recall.

gonna beIn general though, primetime tickets for X-Men 3D for next weekend at Cinetopia range from $12.50 to $19.50 depending upon which auditorium you opt for.

Since Town Center doesn’t appear to be playing X-Men, tickets for its primetime 3D screening at AMC Olathe (non-dining) range from $7.50 for kids to $13.75 for adults.

Or you can see X-Men 3D at the Palazzo at 7 p.m. for $9 (children) and $11 (adults).

Take your pick.

And tale my advice and buy your Cinetopia tickets in advance because it could be a bumpy ride at the box office, especially on the shakedown cruise next week.

May the force be with you…

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12 Responses to Hearne: JOCO Movie War Unfolds — Cinetopia Scoops AMC on New X-Men, Adam Sandler Movies

  1. chuck says:

    Anyone paying big bucks to go see Adam Sandler do anything but hang himself has a Tent Pole planted in their fu*kin fontanel.

    Bill Clinton wouldn’t walk across the street to see an Adam Sandler movie if he was gonna get a hummer from Blake Livley during intermission. Intermission would be what all those people are praying for under their breath in the theater during the movie. Jesus that guy makes bad movies.

    • admin says:

      Now that’s the Chuck I used to know!

      Somewhere the Ghost of smartman is smiling.

    • hot harley says:

      for once chuckles the sad clown I agree with you.
      Whats wrong..no jew hating/black hating/Hispanic hating/
      female wrenching/non white hating comments today.
      ya sick?

  2. the dude says:

    As much as people say they want to eat a meal while watching a movie at a theater they sure as hell don’t want to pay for it. And eating a meal while watching said movie sounds really good in theory the execution is usually messy, (dark theater, DUH) noisy and not all that great. I doubt that these guys will do much better than AMC’s failed attempt to marry the two pastimes successfully.

    • admin says:

      Here’s the deal, dude…

      If Cinetopia follows its other theaters, the quality of dining options will be far more upscale that AMC and Alamo, which are pretty mediocre.

      I noticed a couple months back they had entrees like duck, Cajun shrimp pasta, salmon and grilled tilapia. Some of which were at somewhat upscale restaurant prices.

      They have some standard fare, too, but…

      The question being, do people want to dine in the dark while trying to watch a movie? Some people do, but I’ll wager it’s a fraction of the overall movie going crowd.

      Remember when that Duds n Suds fad first hit and laundromats started selling beer? It sounded kind of fun and novel, but in the end – ehhh – who cares?

  3. PV_Pathfinder says:

    Went to one of the soft openings @ Cinetopia. Checked out the different auditoriums and they seemed pretty nice. For such a big place, I was expecting more box offices. Once folks figure it out, I’m sure it will do just fine. I’m OK with the turf war w/ Town Center as that will mean even fewer people at the WP AMC.

    Prairie Fire is an interesting set up. Curious to see what closes first… the wedding dress shop or Varney’s? Nothing against either, but I don’t see either drawing enough to cover the rent for more than a year.

  4. hot harley says:

    businesses at 135 seem to be doing well. But has anyone seen any
    cars in von maur? Brewtop and the bars/restaurants are doing
    very well to start off. But there’s going to be a glut of them.
    Joco can’t keep them all in business.
    And with the migration of customers from the east/lees summit/
    Grandview/even north of the river that they are seeing at 135 it
    will be interesting to see who makes it.
    Wills closed down…great food. But I’m thinking that with the
    concentration of stores insuch a small area that some wont make
    Theres this huge newsporting goods store opening on Metcalf with
    a ferris wheel..how many sporting goods stores can joco handle?
    it will be interesting.
    they must be giving some great rates on footage at these
    stores because they are popping up everywhere.
    joco is booming!!!!! but hearne…stay in Lawrence.

  5. Frank says:

    both will do fine, they’re both far away from bus lines from the ghetto and flash mobs

  6. PB says:

    I certainly couldn’t have said it any better than Chuck did, but if nothing else, AMC wins the good taste war by passing on Sandler’s latest turd.

    • admin says:

      They’re not exhibiting good taste – they’ve got Adam Sandler out the wazoo at the company’s other theaters. They’re playing hardball…chicken actually…and seeing if they can get the studios to back down.

      Which will be a disservice to moviegoers who want a full range of options.

      Time will tell.

  7. bschloz says:

    Umm I’ll have the Asian Chicken Wings, and a Dozen Oysters on the half shell.
    Can you bring me a a couple of towelettes as well. Big winner here is Dickinson and AMZN.
    It’s nice to see Corbin and Prairie Fire get rolling. The Museum is going to be great thing the area.

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