It has been just over six months since AMC Entertainment Holdings gobbled up Carmike Cinemas in a $1.2 billion blockbuster deal similar to buying a large soft drink and a bucket of popcorn loaded with butter.
Changes since then have come slowly, with Leawood, Kan.-based AMC just recently having started rebranding the exteriors of Columbus-area theaters with its own signs. The company acknowledged Wednesday that it has increased prices following an evaluation. It also plans to roll out improvements to its concession stand offerings as fall approaches.
First the food: AMC has already started rolling out what it calls its “Feature Fare,” an upgraded and expanded menu, to theaters across the U.S., with an emphasis on drawing more moviegoers to its food and beverage stands, which in turn will improve cash flow at theater complexes.
“That should be arriving at AMC branded locations in Columbus in late August or early September. We will have more information to share with the market at that time,” Ryan Noonan, AMC’s director of corporate communications, said via email.
What can customers expect from what the company is calling its largest menu revamp in history? How about chicken and waffle sandwiches, stone-fired flatbread pizza, premium all-beef hot dogs and a 1.5-pound “monster of a pretzel” call the Bavarian Legend Pretzel. Those are to go along with cheeseburger sliders, chicken tenders and gourmet popcorn in flavors that include cheese, salted caramel, chedder crunch and original.
“AMC Feature Fare represents AMC's first true restaurant-style menu launch in a non-dine-in-theater setting, with a menu selection sure to delight the taste buds,” George Patterson, AMC’s senior vice president of food and beverage, said in a statement several weeks ago as rolling of the food improvements began.
As it is improving the concessions, Noonan confirmed that AMC Theaters in Columbus began seeing price increases in late May, including the AMC Columbus Park 15 on Whittlesey Boulevard and the AMC Ritz 13 on Whittlesey Road in the Bradley Park area, which also is home to the Hollywood Connection entertainment complex.
Both locations have raised ticket prices by $1 on Fridays and Saturdays after 4 p.m., he said. AMC Columbus Park 15 also increased tickets from $11.50 for an adult 2D evening movie to $11.79. Prices for the same basic evening tickets were raised from $11 to $11.19 at the AMC Ritz 13.
None of those prices include customized premium add-on fees for 3D feature films and those shown in the larger auditoriums using IMAX technology, as well as the time of day the movie is shown and in which size auditorium.
For example, those wishing to take in this week’s blockbuster flick “Spider-Man: Homecoming” in IMAX and 3D at 7 p.m. or 10 p.m. Saturday at AMC Columbus Park 15 will shell out $21.37 per adult, $17.59 per child and $16.51 for seniors, according to a check of Fandango. Those viewing the same movie in 3D at 6 p.m. Saturday or in the BigD auditorium at 8 p.m. Saturday will pay $15.97 per adult, $12.95 per child and $11.11 per senior. A basic 2D showing of “Spider-Man: Homecoming” at 8:30 p.m. Saturday in a smaller auditorium without IMAX or BigD will set moviegoers back $12.73 per adult, $9.71 per child and $7.87 per senior.
In early March, AMC said there would be “no significant changes” in ticket prices as it rebranded the Carmike Cinemas theaters nationwide to its own logo and system. However, the company did note that it occasionally evaluates prices based on “market conditions, increasing operating costs or when premium formats are introduced.”
Here are the AMC Feature Fare menu items Columbus-area movie fans can expect for purchase at concessions stands later this summer:
▪ Chicken and waffle sandwiches, cheeseburger sliders and chicken tenders
▪ The Bavarian Legend Pretzel, which weighs 1.5 pounds
▪ Stone-fire flatbread pizzas, including four cheese, pepperoni, barbecue chick and buffalo chicken
▪ Oven-baked soft pretzel bites, with flavors that include cinnamon sugar, honey mustard, parmesan garlic, plain and salted
▪ Premium all-beef hot dogs, dressed with loaded chili cheese, mustard and kraut, royal garden or spicy sriracha
▪ Triple feature meals include cheeseburger sliders, chicken and waffle sandwiches, chicken tenders or a hot dog, each coming with curly fries and a warm chocolate chip cookie
▪ Gourmet popcorn in the flavors of cheese, salted caramel, cheddar crunch or original, with mixing and matching of flavors possible
▪ Gluten-free prepackaged snacks to include chocolate-covered pretzel crisps, harvest crisp snap peas, parmesan whisps and four Sahale nut blends
▪ Hillshire small plates to include calabrese, wine-infused salame, Italian salame and genoa salame, each with toast points and premium sliced cheese