RPX (Regal Premium Experience) - gimmick or worth it?

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by agentalbert, Aug 10, 2012.

  1. agentalbert

    agentalbert Forum Resident

    San Antonio, TX
    A new Regal theater just opened in my area, and I noticed some movies marked with an RPX logo, which is their abbreviation for "Regal Premium Experience". What is RPX? They describe it as having:

    - crystal clear all digital projection
    - high impact giant screen
    - powerful uncompressed surround sound
    - breathtaking immersive 3D experience

    The 3D thing is marked with a little caveat that films may be 2D or 3D. Other than 3D, isn't the above what you would normally expect at just about any theater anyway?

    Found this article, which is a few years old, but RPX is new to my area so I'm just hearing of it. Apparently since Imax dilluted their brand with what gets called "Imax-Lite" or "LieMax", the other theaters chains have created their own brands of premium experience to compete. Regal has "The Regal Premium Experience", AMC has "The ETX Experience", Cinemark has "XD Screens", etc. They can charge a premium ticket price but not have to pay licensing fees to Imax.

    Tickets to the shows are at a premium, like Imax, but are they worth it? For instance, looking at a matinee showing for the new Bourne movie today - $5.50 for a regular ticket, $11.50 for RPX, which is almost double. Regular non-matinee showings are $10 or $14 for RPX. Not almost doubled, but its a 40% markup. This is not 3D, just regular 2D. If its just a bigger screen and LOUDER sound, I don't think I'd like it. I don't want to have to start taking hearing protection to the theater as if I'm at a concert. Also seems like this could just be an excuse to let the quality of non-premium tickets go to crap. Is anything but a premium ticket now going to mean misframed picture, blown speakers and seats in disrepair?

    Would love to hear some opinions from those in the know or those who have been to an RPX theater.
  2. Vidiot

    Vidiot Trying to Avoid Cheeseburgers

    Hollywood, USA
    We have an "Immersive Experience" screen over at the local Pacific Theaters complex in Chatsworth: 80' floor-to-ceiling screen, 40 loudspeakers, 20,000 watts of power, double-stacked Christie 4K digital projectors, very comfortable seating for about 900 people. It ain't real Imax, but it looks pretty good to me: pin-sharp, bright, clear, decent color.

    The best thing about it: no commercials, and just two trailers prior to the start of the movie. So you do get some advantages over regular showings.

    Tickets in LA are generally about $9-$11 for regular theaters, $14 for 3D, and $18 for Imax. I think the "premium" theaters are typically in the neighborhood of about $16. It's just a question of time before they hit $20. They may already be there at the Lowe's at Lincoln Square in NY, which I think traditionally has the highest prices in the country (and is a great theater).
  3. JohnG

    JohnG Boney Fingers Jones

    Long Island, NY
    The Lincoln Square also did not do trailers before The Amazing Spiderman IMAX.

    I believe I paid $20.
  4. Drew

    Drew Well-Known Member

    Denver, CO
    The local Cinemark 24 screen megaplex has one screen thats "XD" which stands for extreme digital cinema. I saw Prometheus on that screen in 3D. It seemed pretty clear but I'm not sure its worth the premium and it won't influence my choice the next time I go to the cinema.
  5. agentalbert

    agentalbert Forum Resident

    San Antonio, TX
    I went and saw Bourne Legacy at Regal yesterday at a Regal Premium Experience showing. $11 for the 11:40 am showing, versus $5.50 for the regular. Nice picture, but it wasn't anything I wouldn't expect from a new or well maintained theater. The sound was nice, but again, this theater has all new equipment. I'll have to try one of their regular showings for comparison. The seats are nice plush leather or leather like. Only drawback was that you could hear the creacking sound everytime somebody moved around or adjusted in one. Regular seat cushions are quiter.

    Interesting that you (Vidiot) mention that the premium showings in your area limit previews. I HATE sitting through previews, but Regal must have shown a good 20 minutes of them. I arrived at the window at 11:47 pm (their clock, I asked) for the 11:40 showing and asked when it would actually start. She said at 11:55, so I took my time, went to the bathroom and then went to my seat. But I still saw at least six previews and I wan't in my seat until 10 minutes past the official start time. That kind of thing really annoys me. Movies are so long as it is, I don't want to sit there any longer than necessary due to a ton of previews. Especially when paying almost double a normal ticket.

    I think what the theaters are doing is just giving people less choice, which sounds opposit. I mean, regular showing and premium sounds like more choice, right? But it means fewer showings at the normal price. A lot of people show up to theaters and pick from what is about to start or what will work for the window they have. They don't have a regular and RPX showing for every start time, the are staggered. So if people show up and the next showing happens to be one of the premium ones, you've gotta bone out the cash or come back an hour later or adjust your plans.

    I worry that they will intentionally just not take care to make sure the standard presentaion is up to snuff. We'll see.
  6. captainsolo

    captainsolo Forum Resident

    Murfreesboro, TN
    Strongly considering giving this a shot for Force Awakens since the materials all claim dual 4K projection along with Auro 11.1 in the non-atmos screens. Theaters in TN have gotten so bad that you couldn't pay me to go, but I figured paying a bit more for some semblance of quality control might be worth it.
    Anyone have experience with these chain "large format" premium screens? RPX sounds decent and Carmike's is more of a joke.
    None justify nearly $20 a seat. All I want is proper standards back like they had for Phantom Menace, which had immaculate presentations on opening.
  7. Vidiot

    Vidiot Trying to Avoid Cheeseburgers

    Hollywood, USA
    I need to write one of my long, tedious theses on what "Premium Theaters" are all about. Two things most newspaper articles omit:

    1) Premium theaters are designed to make the theater owners more money

    2) Premium theaters present great pictures and great sound, along with very comfortable seats, which to me you should just get anyway at the normal ticket price.

    So there's a lot to hate about the concept. Given no resistance to high ticket prices, I think it's fine... but there is a point where I think the theater owners and theater chains are money-grubbing bastids. I just checked and a regular adult ticket for an Imax screening of a big movie (Hunger Games) is $20.09, and that's without parking, popcorn, or nothin'. Twenty clams is a lotta dough for people these days. I'm glad that J.J. Abrams is not a fan of 3D and stood firm on that particular technical decision.

    All of the premium theaters I've seen in LA have been pretty damned good, and I can't fault them. In particular, the AMC in Burbank was pretty damned spectacular on the showing of Interstellar I saw there... though even a $100,000 sound system couldn't help the dialogue mix. :sigh:
  8. Did big roadshow 70mm engagements in the 50s and 60s cost more than the typical 35mm presentations? Did Cinerama? Just curious, thanks.

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