Things are looking up for Miami moviegoers. Last month, Miami Beach passed an ordinance that would allow its Regal South Beach theater to sell booze to patrons. And now, North Miami Beach moviegoers are due to get their own luxury film-watching experience.
iPic, a chain of upscale movie theaters serving food and drinks and offering amenities like large, plush recliners and blankets, will open at the Intracoastal Mall in 2015, developer Michael Dezer told the Miami Herald.
iPic will go into the former Intracoastal 8 theater at the western side of the mall, requiring a complete gutting and renovation to implement services such as a wine bar and lounge to complement patrons' trips to the theater. It's part of an overall move to take the mall to a higher level of luxury, Dezer told the Herald, which also includes bringing in a branch of Epicure Market and other high-end shopping.
If you're reading this in Miami, the closest iPic theater to you is in Boca Raton. Patrons there, of course, are no stranger to luxury experiences. So it's probably not a surprise that Boca audiences seem to love the concept, giving it 4.5 stars on Yelp with reviews like "once you come here you will never be able to watch a movie in another theater again."
But as with other upscale movie theaters in the Miami area, such as Cobb Cinebistro at Dolphin Mall, there is one common complaint: the price. Movie theaters are already notoriously expensive; add food and drinks to that experience, especially ones at jacked-up theater prices, and things can get expensive quickly. Ticket pricing has not yet been announced for North Miami Beach's iPic, but today's prices in Boca start at $14 for standard seating (or $12 if you're an iPic member); you can tack another $10 onto that if you want the "premium plus" experience that includes a recliner, blanket, and pillows. And again, that's before you get to the food.
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But as movie attendance continues its decline across the nation, due in part perhaps to audiences' bad experiences at traditional theaters, maybe patrons are ready to pay a little extra for the premium film experience, saving up and splurging on the movies they really want to see.
"This will actually transform the movie experience into an ultimate night out," Dezer told the Herald. "Now, you go to the movie and have popcorn, and you go. This is a whole different experience."
iPic's North Miami Beach location is the first of three luxury theaters the company plans to open in Miami-Dade.