Those Columbus-area moviegoers who want to see a first-run feature film without all of the creature comforts and frills offered by newer theaters in the city can now venture inside the AMC Classic Peachtree 8 at Peachtree Mall.
Leawood, Kan.-based AMC Entertaining Holdings, which bought the Columbus theaters from Carmike Cinemas in late December, confirmed that the Peachtree 8 is now showing current blockbusters such as “Dunkirk” and “War for the Planet of the Apes,” but at a reduced price compared to the newer AMC Columbus Park 15 and AMC Ritz 13 complexes.
The Columbus Park 15 and Ritz 13 theaters feature upgraded digital video and audio technology, IMAX and BigD experiences, larger and more comfortable seats, and enhanced food and beverage menus.
“AMC Classic Peachtree 8 is now showing the newest releases at everyday low prices,” Ryan Noonan, AMC’s director of corporate communications, said via email. “It is a price increase, but still a great value as guests can now see new movies as soon as they are released.”
The AMC Peachtree 8 at 3131 Manchester Expressway has been a discount theater since late 2003, typically showing movies after their sizzle and consumer interest had died down and departed the first-run theaters. Prices through the years have ranged from $1 on weekdays to $3 on weekends.
A check of Fandango on Wednesday found movies at AMC Peachtree 8 now selling tickets seven days a week at $7.55 for adults and seniors for showings after 4 p.m., with $5.39 tickets for children. The first showings of the day, until 4 p.m., have across-the-board prices of $5.39 per ticket. Those prices include tax, but do not include a $3 convenience charge tacked on to each online purchase.
That compares to a wide variety of pricing at the Columbus Park 15 and the Ritz 13, depending on the day, the specific time of day, and what added technology a viewer wishes to purchase, including 3-D and the large-format BigD and IMAX auditoriums. There also are larger, plush rocker chairs in some auditoriums and, of course, the concession areas are enhanced.
At the newer theaters, for instance, if someone wishes to watch the World War II epic “Dunkirk” in the IMAX auditorium at 6:15 p.m. or 9 p.m. Saturday, it will set them back $19.21 adult per adult ticket, $16.19 for children and $14.35 for seniors. Go at 10 a.m., 12:45 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. Saturday and the ticket price drops to $15.43, $15.11 and $13.27, respectively.
On the flip side at the Peachtree 8, the times and ticket prices are more predictable, while the movies are first-run Hollywood films. On Saturday, moviegoers can check out “Atomic Blonde,” “The Emoji Movie,” “Dunkirk,” “Girls Trip,” “Valerian and The City of a Thousand Planets,” “War for the Planet of the Apes,” “Spider-Man Homecoming” and “Despicable Me 3.”
With the current change, could there be even more ahead, such as a complete renovation of the AMC Classic Peachtree 8 to include new technology, seating and concessions improvements? Don’t count on it, appears to be the message from Noonan at AMC’s headquarters.
“There are not additional plans to share regarding renovations, and no plans to close the theater,” he said.
The 26,178-square foot Peachtree 8 building dates to its 1993 construction, according Muscogee County tax records. Carmike Cinemas at one point called it Peachtree Cinemas, with the theater a first-run movie house and one of three operated by the company in the 1990s. The others were behind the former Columbus Square Mall and on Sidney Simons Boulevard. There also was a theater adjacent to Cross Country Plaza before that.
All of that changed with the opening of the Hollywood Connection entertainment and movie theater on Whittlesey Road in 1997. That was followed by the development of Columbus Park Crossing and Carmike’s 15-theater, 3,320-seat complex on Whittlesey Boulevard. That megaplex opened in late 2003 with state-of-the-art digital technology, a signature 610-seat giant screen, stadium seating throughout, and a large concession area.
Said a 2003 Ledger-Enquirer story just before Carmike’s opening of its then-flagship complex: “The high-ceiling design at Carmike 15 includes a neon-lit concession area positioned like an island in the middle of the lobby. There are 22 plasma screens and six digital projectors mounted on the walls to show movie promotions. Gourmet popcorn will be popped in a variety of flavors above the concession stand and funneled below through tubes for hungry customers to purchase.”