For once we have some good news about a movie theater: Sundance Cinemas has nearly finished rehabbing the old Metro Cinemas in the University District—we’re talking new everything—and will reopen the 10-screen cineplex on July 19.
Yes, technically it’s been open since the Robert Redford–owned Sundance Group bought the theater last year. But they’ve been in the process of “Sundancizing” the space, meaning they’ve:
- Installed new screens, digital surround sound, digital projectors, and stadium seating.
- Built two full bars, which will serve beer, wine, cocktails, champagne, bistro fare (sandwiches, salads, desserts) and popcorn with real butter.
- Added a “Living Room” with a bar, plush couches and armchairs, and a soon-to-be-working fireplace.
- Curated a rotating gallery on the second floor that showcases Seattle artists.
- Gotten rid of preshow commercials (and added an “amenity fee,” up to $3/ticket, to compensate for the absence of advertising).
Added reserved seating. Don’t even get me started on how wonderful this is. Asian cities have been doing this for years. You can pick a seat online—so it’s your own fault if you end up in the front row—and there's no need to show up 45 minutes early unless you want to enjoy a tasty adult beverage. Speaking of adult beverages…
- This is now a 21-and-over cinema…in the U-District. Will college freshmen be fake-IDing their way into a movie theater?
Our walkthrough of the space Tuesday morning was also attended by Carl Spence, artistic director of SIFF, and representatives of Arts Corps and Three Dollar Bill Cinema, who all seemed jazzed about this newcomer to the local film scene. “Moviegoing begets movigoing,” Spence said (a rather collaborative Seattle gesture). Programming will still be a mix big-budget fare and small art house gems that have become synonymous with the Sundance name; posters promoted World War Z, The Kings of Summer, and the forthcoming Kick-Ass 2.
We can now add Sundance Cinemas to our list of Movie Theaters Serving Booze, and cheer on the innovations to the moviegoing experience. Turns out Netflix doesn't pour drinks.
View the slideshow above for a look inside.
Sundance Cinemas Seattle
Reopens July 19, 4500 Ninth Ave NE, sundancecinemas.com