News Column

Early bird movies attract the budget-minded

August 18, 2014

By Jeff Kunerth, Orlando Sentinel



Aug. 18--Outside in the parking lot it is 90 degrees and not yet noon. Inside the Premier Orlando 14 theaters at Orlando Fashion Square, it's cool, dark and half-price admission.

Little boys are chasing each other around the lobby like unchained dogs. A man holds his granddaughter in his arms while waiting in line for concessions. A busy young couple with tickets to see Lucy makes the Sunday morning matinee their date night.

"We work a lot and we like to enjoy ourselves so let's just go to the movies," says Richard Williams, 31, of Orlando, who has been bringing Catha Mosley to the matinee movies for the past few months. "There are a lot of box office hits coming out, so we want to be the one of the first to see it."

They come often enough to recognize others who are matinee regulars, people who prefer the theaters less crowded, the lines less lengthy, and the tickets less expensive. And they like the feel of a movie theater in the morning.

"It's a different crowd," says Mosley, 48, of Orlando. "You get more of the family atmosphere. You get to watch the kids run around and play."

Lots of theaters have matinee movies in the afternoons. Premier Orlando 14 is one of the few in Orlando to offer an early bird morning matinee at a reduced price of $4.50.

For the budget-conscience, the time-squeezed, the cheap date, and the summer-heat refugees, the Sunday morning matinee is the place to be. You get the staccato sound of popping corn, "chili dogs" spelled out in neon lights, and a carpet with "Admit One" tickets woven into the fabric. All that and air conditioning, too.

Three-year-old Kye Ware is here with his parents, Danny and Umi, to see Planes: Fire & Rescue. He has the impatient, unleashed energy of a child in love with anything that moves: airplanes, cars, trucks. He's watched the first Planes movie at home on DVD, and Sunday morning is the only chance his parents have to see the sequel with their son.

"This is the only time to see it," says Danny Ware, 43, of Orlando. "It's the only time to get things done with the family."

Randy and Nellie George bring their 3-year-old son, Ranell, to see the matinee movies just about every Sunday. On this Sunday, they are in line to see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

"It's become our family tradition," says Nellie George, 23, of Orlando, who is six months pregnant with their second boy.

Sometimes the matinee movie is handed down through the generations. Robert Sommers' parents took him to see matinee Ninja Turtle movies when he was a kid, and now he's doing the same with his children.

The morning matinee makes the movies affordable for a family of five, says Sommers, 33, of Orlando. The early bird matinee cost him $22.50 for his whole family. Regular admission is $9 for adults, $7 for children.

"We have to come during the cheap hours because we have a big ol' family," says Sommers, whose children are 10, 8 and 6. "You get more bang for your buck when you come in the morning."

For Rob Hansen, another Ninja Turtles fan, this is his first time for a Sunday morning matinee. Like many others, he plans to make it a regular routine.

"It's cheap," said Hansen, 26, of Orlando. "It's going to be the place I come to see movies."

jkunerth@tribune.com or 407-420-5392407-420-5392. Tell Jeff what you are doing On Any Given Sunday.

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(c)2014 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.)

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Source: Orlando Sentinel (FL)


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