Surprise’s lone movie theater is undergoing changes after AMC bought its previous owner, Carmike Cinemas.
Surprise’s only movie theater was bought out by AMC in December and more changes may be coming.
The Surprise City Council approved a liquor license for the theater this month.
AMC officials did not respond to information requests on when they would roll this out in Surprise, but the company’s website says it plans on introducing bars to its theaters “significantly” in 2017 with the “MacGuffins Bar” brand.
Theaters across the country have gotten more creative as they try to attract theater-goers at a time when technology allows many entertainment options from home. The Alamo Drafthouse in Chandler offers beer, wine and cocktails, as well as entrees such as burgers and pizza and movies. Roadhouse Cinemas, which has locations in Tucson and Scottsdale, has similar offerings.
AMC already introduced the bar concept at four Valley theaters, including its Arrowhead and Westgate locations in Glendale.
Any changes in Surprise have thus far been subtle. Flat-screen TVs advertising concession items bear the red-and-white AMC logo. And a “Coca-Cola freestyle” machine was installed, allowing customers to select sodas and flavorings through a touchscreen menu.
The AMC name isn’t even on the outside of the theater yet. The building still says “Digiplex,” referring to its former owner, Carmike Cinemas.
The Kansas-based AMC purchased all other Carmike Cinemas in December.
For Surprise moviegoers, the theater at Waddell and Litchfield roads is the only game in town. Residents are hopeful that could change. Results from this year’s retail survey show demand for a Harkins movie theater.
Mike Hoover, the city’s economic development manager, said staff is speaking with “several theatre(sic) operations.”
Hoover said the city will “continue to mature those discussions,” but didn’t elaborate further.
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