Mikeh has offered to post the reviews he’s been writing on local theaters on the site over the remainder of the summer. Two will be posted this week and the rest as he completes them. Enjoy!
I’ve been in a rut for the past say 15 years or so. Ever since the Lakeville 21 (18 back when it opened originally) theater opened up, that is the theater I go to. First because they were new and had the best sound and picture. Then because they had the monster screen and I had found them to be the cheapest show in town. I typically only go to matinees because it’s cheaper before 6pm, and there tend to be less people. Recently Lakeville 21 has upgraded their Monster Screen with 4K projector and some sound upgrades so they added a $2.00 per ticket surcharge for movies on that screen. With the price increase, they now are priced what I assume is in the range of lots of other theaters around the area, so I decided I better get my head out of the sand and give some of the other theaters a try. Maybe I’ll find a new value leader, or at a minimum, someone else that wants my money and gives me a better value for it.
I’m planning on reviewing : Carmike 15 – Apple Valley, Marcus Rosemount Cinema, Paragon Odyssey 15, Lakeville 21, Regal Eagan Stadium 16
Today I review: Carmike 15 – Apple Valley MN (The Big D)
On Saturday June 22nd I visited the Carmike 15 in Apple Valley with my oldest son to see the Movie World War Z in 2D (I don’t like 3D, my very good peripheral vision ruins the effect) at their Big D theater, 11:10 am showing.
Ticket Purchase and Lobby – Ticket price was $6.75 + $2.00 BIG D surcharge for a total of $8.75 per ticket. You can pre-order via Fandango (there is a surcharge) or get the tickets at the gate.
We paid for our ticket near the entrance but they didn’t collect and rip the ticket until you are heading towards the theater. Prices for the refreshments seemed in line with what I had come to expect in the past, though I’ll know better as I visit more theaters. Prices on their board include taxes. For drinks it is Coke products so the Pepsi lovers will need to sneak their drink in. Drinks and Popcorn come in small, medium, and large and are not refillable. They sell a plastic bucket that is refillable for a discounted price and is valid for a calendar year. (17.50 up front, 3.50 for refills, I got the bucket but I was only charged $13, maybe its prorated). Running the numbers for the deal, you would be ahead on the 4th use and if you went once a month for the whole year your net savings is around $30. A good enough deal if you go to the movies a lot. If not, probably could skip it, though the bucket looks like it is bigger than the normal a large popcorn container.
The interior is very clean and has a reasonably sized central area with concessions to the left and right as you enter (only the right side was running for this early showing). In the middle of the central area are some tables and chairs for people to sit and relax while waiting. The Ceiling very high and the room feels pretty big. I didn’t visit the restrooms when I was there so no feedback on them. To go to the theater you walk down a hallway and a guy rips your ticket. Tickets are on thermal paper so ripping is really what is happening, there are no perfs to help with that.
Theater Impressions – We arrived in the theater at 11:05 for an 11:10 movie. When we entered the Big D theater I had mixed feelings on my first impression. The screen seemed a little small and the space seemed a bit small. But the theater was very clean and well lit. I could easily see all the places to sit and the seats looked very impressive. They appeared to be like new and all appear to be a leather like material with high backs. Sitting in them was comfortable and they do recline and rock. Site lines in the theater look great for those getting there early. In a full theater the edge seats are probably still pretty good with no visible obstructions. This theater uses digital projectors (DLP) and digital movies (most theaters today do), no film involved and supports Dolby and DTS surround sound (7.1). Once I sat down I noticed the screen was bigger than it looked because there were curtains over the outside edges of the screen that opened up once the previews began (their marketing material says the screen is 78’ x 35’). Watching the movie the picture appeared bright and I did not notice any issues with sound or audio during the entire movie. Overall a very clear, focused and detail image was displayed, exactly what I expect from a DLP projector. The overall viewing experience was good and definitely something I would be willing to do again. The seats remained comfortable through the whole movie and I didn’t find myself fidgeting at all, though granted, this movie kept me pretty tense throughout the show.
- Comfortable high back seats.
Large screen with good picture.
- Leather seating surface makes for a sweaty back at intense movies.
Late start and excessive adds. (Movie didn’t start for almost 30 minutes after the schedule start time)
Wife doesn’t like the popcorn, and I’m not impressed either. Reminds me of the popcorn you might get in a bag at the grocery store.
The following is a list of prices I noted. Ticket prices are available at their website and vary quite a bit based on the time of day as well as the day with various promotions available.
- Matinee Ticket – $6.75
Surcharge for Big D – $2.00
Large Popcorn – $7.20
Large Pop – $5.50
Large Water $4.65
Large Slurpee – $6.00
Candy – $4.05
Nachos – $5.75
Couples Combo Large $17.60
Have you been to Carmike 15 in Apple Valley? If so what did you think about it? Have you tried their new 4K screen? How does it compare to the standard screens you were used to seeing? Is it worth a $2 upcharge? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as we’d love to hear what you have to say.