In the past year, Hollywood has seen an estimated 6 percent drop in movie ticket sales. This considerable decrease could be due to unappealing storylines, bad actors, the popularity of DVDs or even the deteriorating quality of the movie-going experience due to the ubiquity of mobile phones and commercials accompanying movie previews.
Or it could be the fact that you now have to take out a loan just for a trip to the theater. In a time of impossible tuition and book prices along with skyrocketing gas prices, students have less and less money to spare on movie tickets, which are expensive in their own right.
Luckily, there seems to be a way to get the big-screen experience without having to sell any body parts. It’s called the Woodbridge Movies 5, which screens movies for only $1 per admission for matinee, and $1.50 after 6 p.m. The catch: the movies are a couple of months old.
‘We show midrun movies, which are basically movies that have been out in theaters for about two months,’ said Vanessa Wilson, an assistant manager of the Woodbridge Movies 5.
Films currently showing at the theater are ‘The Weather Man,’ ‘Jarhead,’ ‘The Legend of Zorro’ and ‘Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit,’ among others. According to Wilson, the theater gives people a chance to see movies that they didn’t catch when they first came out, and for a considerably lower price.
Located in a quiet neighborhood in Irvine on Barranca Parkway between Culver Drive and Jeffrey Road, Woodbridge Movies 5 looks small and relatively old. But the theater, which prior to a renovation in June 2005 was called Captain Blood’s, has new carpeting and seats.
Because it is a smaller theater, one limitation of Woodbridge Movies 5 is the limited number of screenings each day, which is between two and five per film.
‘We get about 100 people per screening on Fridays and Saturdays, and of course less on the weekdays. We see a lot of senior citizens during the weekdays, but definitely a lot more college students and a younger crowd on the weekends,’ Wilson said.
When asked how it is that the theater is able to show movies so inexpensively, Wilson answered, ‘It’s not just that we can show them inexpensively, but that we can and will show them inexpensively. We can charge pretty much any price we want, but we choose to keep the prices low because we want to help out our customers.’
It seems hard to believe that an economy theater can sustain itself, but according to Wilson, Woodbridge Movies 5 makes most of its money off of the concession stands, where it sells beverages, popcorn and other movie snacks for the same prices you would find at other theaters. Spending only a $1 upon entry, moviegoers have plenty of money to spare on Snowcaps.
However, ticket prices do rise to $2 or $3 dollars in the summer.
The theater seems to be a well-kept secret of Irvine thus far, but another assistant manager, Keith Jordan, explained that they will probably look into marketing toward the student community in the near future.
While the price of admission is alluring, fourth-year information and computer science major Sean Hsieh points out one downside for students.
‘For me, it’s not a very ‘date’ place,’ Hsieh said. ‘I mean, you’re not going to ask a girl out to a $1 movie. But I wouldn’t mind going with a whole bunch of friends to cheap flick.’
Filed Under: Features