Cinema Announces Playground Inside a Movie Theater: If You Build It, Will They Come?

Luxury cinema company, Cinépolis USA, has unveiled their new Cinépolis Junior auditoriums in Southern California. The kid-themed auditoriums are colorful and have a variety of seating options.

And a playground.

I’m going to send them my medical bills for the whiplash I’ve sustained trying to figure out how I feel about this.

The alternative seating is pretty cool. Beanbag chairs and lounge seats will help the kids who can never see over the seat in front of them and the whole issue where the seat bottom keeps trying to fold up and swallow them in some sort of cinema horror movie scene.

My first reaction to the playground was a grumbling get off my lawn sort of moment. Way to ruin movies entirely, Cinépolis!

Then I thought, well, if people like it enough that it is financially sustainable, then more power to them.

I guess there were a lot of questions, which Cinépolis took to social media to answer and honestly only left me with more questions.

Like most people, I was operating under the assumption that kids would be able to play on the equipment during the movie. On one hand, this seemed like a terrible idea. On the other hand, I figured as long as you knew what you were getting into, it might work really well for some families. I personally couldn’t see the point in paying extra money to watch a G or PG rated movie with your children too busy playing to pay attention. But I have no doubt there are kids and situations where this might be amazing.

But no. Kids are limited to playing for 20 minutes before the movie starts. You then get the pleasure of hearing your fidgety kid beg to go play 248065932486 times during a 90 minute movie. The child behind you who would otherwise be annoyingly kicking your seat is now full-out tantrumming. Parents keep jumping up to bring their kids back after they make a break for the big slide. And you get to pay extra money for this privilege, which means parents are less likely to take their kids out when the meltdowns begin!

I spent the first 30 years of my life listening to my dad bitch about various aspects of running a movie theater. Popcorn and film are the smells of my childhood. Not only is my dad grumpy, he’s also hilarious, so I thought I would email him and find out his thoughts on this idea. Even he – a man who has strong opinions on almost everything – could not manage to think of anything inherently wrong with the idea, but he also questioned the whole concept:

“I can’t imagine why anyone would want to pay movie ticket prices for themselves and their children spending  +/- 2hrs watching a kids’ movie with kids running around like they’re on a playground (because they will be).”

What is the point of having the playground in the auditorium, rather than the lobby, other than to charge higher ticket prices?

It’s just going to encourage kids to act like little shits kids on a playground rather than kids in a movie theater. Therefore, our lives will be more difficult while we try to corral that under the judgmental stares of Suzie from down the street and her perfectly behaved angel child.

I fucking hate Suzie.

This theater idea? The best I can muster for that is a vague “meh.”

But I am truly curious: Do you have a strong feeling one way or another about a playground inside a theater auditorium?