MISSOULA - Imagine gathering with friends in front of a warm fireplace, sipping your favorite local craft brew, and sharing some gourmet chicken wings -- then the movie starts.
That's the new entertainment option about to open in Missoula as AMC Theatres open the new Southgate Mall 9 this coming week.
If you're a fan of architecture, you've been itching to see inside the new theater at Southgate Mall ever since construction started over a year ago.
To put it quite simply, it's gorgeous and there's nothing else like it in the region.
"When you look at the lobby, it does what the objective was, to kind of feel like it was part of the town way back in the early days. You look at the lobby, it's very beautiful," AMC Theatres Director of Operations Jay Lamelas said. "You can look at the mountains. You've got the fireplace behind me. So I think kind of incorporates the Missoula beautiful scenery into the lobby area."
But in today's competitive entertainment marketing, you can't just bring any theater online.
The Southgate Mall 9 is one of the AMC Dine-In Theatres. In fact, the first one in the inland Northwest.
"As a company, as AMC, we're very excited that we're bringing this new concept to Missoula, especially the Dine-In concept, where someone could come in, see a movie, get a dinner. It's the whole package that they're going to get by coming here," Lamelas said.
Whether you have chicken, a signature burger, or a more healthy option, dinner and a movie has a whole new meaning now in Missoula.
The scrumptious food comes from a complete full-service restaurant kitchen where a trained food service staff are whipping up the sweet and savory stuff you've never had in a movie theater.
When you kick back in the recliners in the auditoriums, you can hit the call button, and a server comes right to you, customizing your order on the tablet which is sent directly to the kitchen.
Need a refill on your Coke? They've got the full assortment of drinks -- and yes, popcorn too.
"When the guest comes in, one, they can reserve their tickets online. So they can already pick their seats before they even come to the theater. Then once they come in, they're going to have a full bar where they can get beer and wine. We're going to have a lot of local craft beers," Lamelas said. "And then once they proceed into the auditorium, they're going to have a server for the whole portion of the movie."
The movies are going to look great with laser projection and the latest sound, whether you settle into the smallest 60 seat theater or the 250 seat auditorium with its "wall-to-wall" screen.
"Back when I started in the company, it was the 35-millimeter projectors and the old IMAX 70-millimeter, to now it's all digital and state-of-the-art," Lamelas said. "The sound much clearer. And now you can even have dinner and see a movie at the same time so it's very exciting for our industry."
The new Southgate Mall 9 officially opens with a full slate of movies on Monday.