Why Regal Cinemas Suck

Sure, we love the Alamo, but we go elsewhere too. Some theaters, such as the Galaxy Highland, we like very much.

The place we loathe the most, however, is the Regal Arbor Cinema. Regal, the largest cinema chain in the country, makes moviegoing an unpleasant experience. The biggest annoyance is the commercial reel they run before shows. It's loud and it's distracting and it makes it hard to talk to your companion.

The thing is, we've been turned away from the Alamo for a sold out show, driven down the road a few minutes to the Arbor, and found ourselves sitting in a nearly empty theater. That happened to us last weekend when we saw Shut Up & Sing. It happened the weekend before when we saw For Your Consideration.

So how can it be that the Alamo is packed to the walls at the same time that the Arbor is empty? It's not movie selection. Tim League, the Alamo owner, often has to fight distribution politics to get the movies he wants. For instance, the Alamo lost the opening week of Borat and had to refund tickets. Regal had it (albeit down the road at the Gateway).

I think the reason is because it sucks to see films in a Regal cinema. It's more fun to see the movie elsewhere—especially at an Alamo. People may not be complaining about movie commercials to theater management, but I think they may be voting with their feet.


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RE: Why Regal Cinemas Sucks

I recently found out that Regal Cinemas bags up the unused popcorn at night then heats it in the warmer the next morning and serves it to the first set. During the week at slower locations, there isn't enough customers to use the left over from the let over so it is done again. So despite all the movie we fork out for concessions not only are we forced to sit through the 20 or first look, but we get 1 or 2 day old popcorn.

re: Why Regal Cinemas Suck

Ok I know this thread is pretty old but I thought I'd share my opinion anyway.

I'm currently a manager at Regal, and there's a lot of things that some people said that I would like to address. Well I'm speaking for my theatre up north only not other regal theatres. We don't keep popcorn over night. We throw it away each night. If we did keep it, it would be kept in warmers over night so it doesn't go stale. Also if you were at a regal and you knew that they were giving you popcorn from the night before demand fresh popcorn, they'll give it to you.

About the rowdy kids who sneak in for free. At my theatre we hunt for kids like that, and make sure they paid. We don't play around either, on a busy weekend night we don't bother with the ushers we just send a cop in there to kick kids out who don't have tickets or are just being loud.

As for the commercials I hate them too.. They play in our lobby where I sit for 7 hrs a day with the same 5 commercials too. If you don't want to see our commercials don't come early. Come when your movie starts there's usually 10 min of previews. And if you ever have a problem let management know. Were not all knowing and we would like to help. If that doesn't solve the problem fill out a comment card and send it to corporate. (they're located on our customer service desk)
Then you can let corporate in on what you really think.

That's pretty much the end of rant. I hope this gave an insight to some of problems you guys addressed

re: Why Regal Cinemas Suck

I'm with you on this. The pre-show "entertainment" at Regal theaters makes me steer clear if at all possible. The commercials are incredibly loud and annoying and not conducive for getting into a movie watching mindset. It really hurts the experience.

And as much as I love the Alamo, right now my favorite place to see movies is the Galaxy Highland. Sometimes, I just want to see a movie without somebody eating chips and queso right next to me.

re: Why Regal Cinemas Suck

I hate that ad thing at the Arbor. They used to call it "The Twenty" and now they call it "First Look". Whatever it is, it's annoying.

This post is one of our favorites for the week at Austinist.

re: Why Regal Cinemas Suck

Annoying indeed. I think even if Alamo expands and becomes a huge commecial chain like other theaters, they still have the independent vibe because of their lack of commercials.

re: Why Regal Cinemas Suck

I've almost reached the point where I refuse to see movies anywhere but the Drafthouse. The pre-movie commercials at the Arbor (and others) drive me insane.

I do not appreciate spending $8 to see a movie just to be assaulted by 20 minutes of TV commercials. If I want to know about NBC's hot new sitcom lineup, I'll go buy a TV guide.

re: Why Regal Cinemas Suck

Here is some interesting and very happy news: I heard Alamo founder Tim League speak at U.T. a few months back. He said that he looked what he'd get for running commercials, and it was an absurdly low number, a couple thousand bucks a year (IIRC).

So the idea is that theaters that do ads are annoying their customers for mere peanuts, but when you are a behemoth like Regal the pennies add up.

So, hopefully, we're not too likely to see ads at the Alamo. This is just an example of how the big chains are willing to chisel you for a few pennies that a locally owned operation wouldn't bother with.

re: Why Regal Cinemas Suck

Hey, thanks for the kind words about the theater. I really appreciate it. As for the $/screen, it's a little more than a couple thousand per screen, but definitely not worth assaulting customers with the crapfest that is the Regal Twenty.


Tim League
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

re: Why Regal Cinemas Suck

I was a projection manager at Regal (well, United Artists until the merge). Regal's 20, pre show advertisements are a good step. I say that ONLY because the commercials start 20 minutes before the movie, and due to Coke paying extra, only play a minute or two into the advertised showtime.

I don't work with Regal anymore and will never go to another one again. Being a manager there, I know how things work. Substandard machines and bad presentations make me stay away.

Do yourself a favor and don't visit Regal ever again. Not only do the presentations suck, but the over charge on concessions and movie tickets to help their bankrupt company stay afloat.

re: Why Regal Cinemas Suck

Austin is not special in the Regal Suck Zone of theaters. The theater experience they have is horrible in Seattle. I want my Sunday movie to be a pain free fun experience. That is not availble at the Regal Cinimas. They oversell the seats, they do not have ushers to quiet the loud people, and they have no real gate security, so lots of kids sneak in for free, and ruin the movie for the paying folk.

re: Why Regal Cinemas Suck

I was a manager at a Regal in NC. I just have to say that the experience sucks as much for the management as it does for the customers. They don't stand by their management team or employees when they should. I will never work for another Regal ever. I did enjoy working at that theater when it was owned by Eastern Federal Theaters before Regal bought them. This is the kind of owner we had with EFT, he came in one time and saw that all of the employees were busy and the lobby was a mess so he grabbed a broom and started sweeping. EFT was a good size chain of 20 or so theaters in the south east. Most of them in Charlotte but some in other states. Why did you ever sell, why.