For me, it started as a matter of convenience. I grew up in a town where the only close theater was in an almost-abandoned mall, which then moved to an actually-abandoned K-Mart. Since it wasn't really the backdrop for excellent movie viewing, I'd drive for 40 minutes every week to pick up new CDs and see a movie at a better theater. I'd usually get to the theater quite early, so I would smuggle in Wendy's and have dinner while watching the on-screen trivia -- a much more appealing option than sitting in a food court, eating, then getting to the theater late.
These days, I live in Toronto and don't have to worry about huge movie travel. Nevertheless, the urge remains, and now it might actually come close to becoming legit! The Canadian Press reports that T-dot's Varsity Cinema has gotten a new liquor license to serve alcohol in their smaller VIP theaters, and other areas may soon follow. First step booze, next step: big juicy burgers and fries?
The Varsity is a theater that's inundated with fest-goers during TIFF, and spends the rest of the year screening films in both large theaters and small, full-serve VIP rooms where the seats are more comfortable, spacious, and separated by small side tables. It costs a few extra bucks, but also allows you to order concessions without facing the lines. You peruse a small menu, give the server your order, and it's all brought right to you before the movie begins.
The annoying piece of this puzzle: The Varsity also has a coffee and booze bar, and while you could carry coffee to the theater, all beer and wine could only be consumed in their special lounge. But this new license will allow VIP moviegoers to get two beers per person right in the theater, without the huge markup that drives us all crazy. (A domestic bottle of beer is only $4.50.)
I can only hope that this is the first step to more food-friendly moviegoing. These days, many theaters have fast food counters and sometimes bars a few steps outside of the theater, so why not offer full-service screenings? Theaters could make money on those that pay for the full-service benefit, rather than infuriating customers with $5 cups of watery soda; the wait staff could grab tips; and those of us who live far from the Alamo can still get a small taste of what it's like.