Cinépolis of Mexico Brings the Luxury and Low-End Jobs to Hoity-Toity OC ZIP Codes for a Change
|See, the Spanish juxtaposed with Captain America ... oh, never mind.|
Prepare to have our amigos south of the border take over your movie theaters next.
Like an endless wave of, oh, whatever keeps coming at us in endless waves, Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico-based Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas is moving into where two South County Edwards theater houses paid rent.
It's part of a corporate strategy by Latin America's largest movie theater operator to eventually reconquista 'em all--or at least the ones they can manage to lease, refurbish and re-open as luxury movie houses. Already boasting 2,800 screens in 270 theaters in 10 countries, Cinépolis started in San Diego County, then plans to spread throughout Southern California over the next few years before moving up the coast to the San Francisco Bay Area.
Now what does that remind me of? Oh, and the plan is to purposely ply their trade where their services are needed most: in California's most affluent ZIP codes. I'm telling ya, I've heard this story before somewhere.
Except Anaheim and San Juan Capistrano currently.
When CinemaFusion opened its luxury movie theaters at Anaheim's GardenWalk near Disneyland in 2008, it was a novel concept not only because of the comfy leather seats but the beer, wine and wait service. For those who couldn't wait that long for the wait service, there was also a cocktail lounge.
Newport Beach-based CinemaFusion went belly up last year, but UltraStar of Vista swooped in to the rescue last summer, taking over what it renamed the UltraLuxe of Anaheim and patiently waiting until the state transferred the beer and wine license over a few weeks ago. In the interest of full disclosure, OC Weekly is a partner in Friday night parties honoring the opening of summer blockbusters--and the keyboard monkey banging this out has popped open a cold one or seven at these.
Regency Theatres' Franciscan Plaza moviehouse in San Juan Capistrano followed pioneering CinemaFusion in the beer and wine game with its VIP concept. The Irvine Co. expects by December to re-open Island Cinemas at Fashion Island in Newport Beach as a shi-shi theater with a bistro menu, craft beer, champagne and wine.
Unless someone steps in to cut the Mexicans off at the pass, Cinépolis will be next at the by-then former Edwards of Rancho Santa Margarita and Ocean Ranch in Laguna Niguel. Besides Papi's medicine, the new Cinépolis spots will serve sushi, cheese boards and wraps, along with the usual hotdogs, candies and popcorn.
Ocean Ranch, which Edwards will abandon the end of this month, is scheduled re-open in early 2012 with 684 leather recliners seats in seven state-of-the-art, digital auditoriums. Some time after that, the new RSM Cinépolis will be ready. Dinner and a movie at these joints is expected to average about $30 a head.
Cinépolis only entered the U.S. market in June, starting with theaters in Del Mar and Carlsbad. Look out, Tinsel Town.
"[W]e found that Laguna Niguel was the perfect fit for our next location," says director of operations Carlos Wellman in a Cinépolis statement and perfecto English. "We love movies; however, we felt the experience of going to the theater lacked a little sparkle. We hope to change things up a bit--all at a price point that makes the Cinépolis movie experience an affordable luxury."
Besides the juice and grub, that affordable luxury will include a "Cineticket" that can be reserved via the web, mobile, or a call center--similar to reserving seats on an airplane.
More information about Cinépolis world domination--they are currently the fourth largest movie chain in the world; hey, maybe we can work for Mexicans for a change!--is available at CinepolisUSA.com.