|Address:||510 Texas Ave, Houston, TX 77002, USA|
Yesterday I went to the AMC Dine in theater and had an awful experience. This should not be called a dine in theater. Studio movie grill, and Star Cinema Grill have ticket prices of $5-$10 your price is over $13 and only $5 shy of my favorite theater iPic. iPic includes with their ticket popcorn, a pillow, a blanket and a reclining pod for you and your date. I expected a level of service like this, maybe without the free popcorn. When we walked in I knew I had made a mistake when I was looking at a 8 1/2x 11in menu posted on a 4 ft stachen with 12 point font. The prices were similar to the above mentioned theaters. I ordered and was handed a buzzer. Apparently it takes 20 min to make the food and it would not be delivered to me like the other theaters. I would need to come back and get it. My buzzer loudly goes off and flashes in a very quiet part of the move causing a large disturbance only enhanced by me having to walk in front of all the angry moviegoers trying not to step on them in the pitch black. I trek all the way back to where I had ordered my food where the people behind the counter were kind enough to look up from there phones to tell me to go to the bar. I walk up to the bar and without speaking the bartenders pointed me to a warming tray at the end of the bar. It was a similar experience to the plot of the movie I was seeing. I ordered the sampler appetizer for $15 and a drink for $6. I was forced to eat it off my lap, more on that later. When I opened the to-go box, trying to be as quiet as possible, wishing I was seeing a louder movie, I realized that everything in the box was soggy. It was uneatable. Chicken wings should not be bouncy. I gave up on trying to open my fork because of the extra crinkly plastic holding it. I have interrupted the moviegoers around me enough for one movie. When I ordered the tickets online it showed 2 seats next to each other, a space and 2 more seats (L8, L9) (L10,L11). This lead me to believe that there would be some kind of table between L8 and L9. Just like everything else I was wrong. The “tables” were between L7 and L8 and between L9 and L10. The “Table” only had about 6in of space for you to put anything on. The togo box that you get is about 12in. I wasnt even going to try and eat off of it. I had at this point made the man next to me mad enough. I love going to the movies. I love the magic that comes with being at a theater watching a movie for the first time. This theater is a disgrace to both restaurants and theaters. It is trying to be something that it is clearly not.
Im only giving them 3 stars because in 2 previous visits I didnt really have a problem. Employees are sometimes a bit aloof but nothing too bad. This last visit on Dec 29th, 2016 was pretty bad. My fiance and I went to see Rogue One, we bought our tickets at the counter when we got there about a half hour before the scheduled showing, bought refreshments, showed our tickets at the desk to go through, and walked to the theater. When we walked in the theater door was open and the previous showing was still going, we were a little but not extremely early (maybe 15-20 mins before scheduled showing) but thought, "oh well maybe its just running a bit over." My fiance even went to ask the ticket taker if it was going over or what was going on and was just told "oh the last one might still be on, it should end soon." Finally at the scheduled time my movie was about to start an employee walked by and I asked her, she went to find a manager, and came back to tell us that the previous movie would run about 20 minutes after our movie was supposed to start due to it starting late. At the time I bought my ticket, showed them to the ticket takers, asked about the movie still being on 15 mins before my movie was about to start someone with the theater staff knew the previous movie would be running over my movie start time but the staff that was selling tickets was apparently not notified to tell customers. I dont mind waiting for a movie that will be a bit late, Id just like to be told about it instead of having to go seek the information out after my movie was supposed to have already started. We just stood around waiting, not knowing anything, and with no effort by those in charge of the staff to let us know what was going on. Also, because of the added wait, the 3 hour parking validation wasnt enough and we ended up having to pay for the added time in the parking garage. This was handled very poorly by the theater management with no apology offered in any way, managers just sent employees to tell us it was going to run over after we had already asked about it instead of speaking to us directly.
I DESPISE this theater. Here is what you will typically experience. Your parking will be comped for you when you buy your tickets. Each ticket may cost upward of $12-13 plus they will tack on an amenities fee of $2-3. What that means, I am told, is that this surcharge is done so that they do not have to run product commercials before your show starts. Popcorn bags run $5-7. And if youve ever made popcorn at home you know that this is pure profit. Now, Im sure that when Angelika went out of business, the financial planners with Sundance said "Yeah, well, that was Angelika. But we are Sundance. We will revamp the theater, put in some nice sofas, offer better food choices and beverages and yes, well even fix those horrifically bad Angelika screens where the picture was so washed out, it was laughable." Now, those sandwiches may be excellent as are the beverages but I can see a party of two getting into the upper $80s before the evening is over. Sundance was probably gambling on a boom in urban housing downtown that would bring in people from the surrounding high rises. But Houston is a very mobile town. It isnt like other places where living in the city means you wont own a car. And truthfully, even with the cost of gas, one could drive out to the Cinemark Memorial (my current favorite theater for superb sound quality and image quality…better than what I observed by popping into several screens at Sundance; no amenities fee and free parking). The thing that I DESPISED the most though, was the lighting in the theaters proper. I like a dark movie house. Thats because I really care about picture quality. At Sundance they have so many lights on along the walkways it never gets dark. Theres safety lighting everywhere! under the chairs, along the stairwell. Its ridiculous. I couldnt enjoy the movie. Is there ever a situation where Sundance is better? I would say only if they are featuring a highly rated on Rotten Tomatoes, independent film, that one wouldnt be able to see elsewhere and one that one doesnt want to wait for streaming Netflix. But for me, one visit to Sundance was enough.