Movieland preview wrap up

Highlights from our excluuuuuuusive tour of the luxuuuuuuurious new movie theater.

Ross and I just got back from an excluuuuuuuusive tour of Bow Tie Cinemas‘ newest venture: Movieland at Boulevard Square.

Before I actually get into the specifics about the new theater, let me answer that question that has been plaguing all of you: Do they wear bow ties?

The answer is yes. Well sort of.

We were taken around the theater by Charley Moss and his son Ben Moss, the father-son duo that runs Bow Tie Cinemas, based in New York City. Moss the Senior was, in fact, sporting a bow tie, which somehow made this whole operation seem more legit to me.

After stuffing us full of donuts and coffee, Charley and Ben ushered us outside of the building so we could get a full grasp of the “story” this movie-going experience is supposed to tell.

The theater is in a converted locomotive plant that was built in the 1860s. Trying to stay true to the building’s history, the architects and builders have made use of the various railroad paraphernalia dug up during the renovation: railroad tracks running through the parking lot serving as planters, and railroad ties are mounted just above the box office.

The lobby taps into Richmond’s love for everything industrial with original exposed brick and steel beams running across the high ceilings. It will eventually sport your typical concession stand (with a few snazzy options like chicken fingers and jalapeno poppers!) a cafe, and a beer and wine bar (once the alcohol license come through – as license that just might allow you to take the booze INTO THE THEATER WITH YOU). They were also very proud of the catwalk crossing over the concession stand that serves as a bridge between the two exposed projection rooms. These guys seem really into making your trip to the movies An Event, and think giving you a chance to watch the projectionists do their thing will add to that.

Charley and Ben pointed out that they worked hard to create a contrast between the industrial feel of the lobby catering to Richmond’s love for reuse and preservation of the city’s historical buildings and the actual movie-watching experience. So everything past the lobby is all about being luxuuuuuuuurious. Even the bathrooms were planned out specifically with slate tile on the while, rich wallpaper, and, my favorite part of the whole tour, the Dyson Airblade hand dryers. I *might* have spent some time in the bathroom before the tour playing with them. Possibly.

Movieland has 17 screens, 2 of them with digital capabilities and the rest your standard 35mm. They all offer stadium seating. Honestly, when you go in, they look pretty much like a cleaned up version of Short Pump or Commonwealth, but there are  few subtle touches that make it special, like the custom, wood-backed chairs. Another interesting tidbit: Movieland upholds a zero-tolerance policy for disturbances while viewing a movie. Apparently there are people on each shift whose sole responsibilities are to monitor the audience for obnoxious behavior like talking too loud, texting, and so on. Anyone causing riff-raff is O.U.T. I can’t wait to see my first ousting – do you think people will applaud? Will it be a slow clap maybe, or roaring applause?

Probably what we should be most excited about is the huge variety of films Charley and Ben are promising. Movieland will show the blockbusters, but those interested in smaller, independent films will also have options. Bow Tie Cinemas recognized that Richmond was being underserved in that area and came here to answer that need. Local filmmakers are also welcome and encouraged to talk to management about screenings and festivals, a comment that took me a bit by surprise but shows that these guys actually do seem invested in giving back to the city, not just collecting its residents’ money.

Ok, enough with my jibber-jabbering. Here are some bullet points!

  • Opening day: Friday February 27, 2009
  • Yes, there is parking. The lot is pretty well-lit and has room for 800 cars. They also thought of you two wheel lovers and installed bike racks right out front.
  • Movies showing opening weekend: The Jonas Brother 3D Concert Experience (WOOOOO!!!!), Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, Tyler Perry’s Medea Goes to Jail, Confessions of a Shopaholic, Friday the 13th, The Pink Panther 2, Milk, Benjamin Button, Wendy and Lucy, Frost/Nixon, The Reader, and Slumdog Millionaire
  • Special events: Movies and Mimosas boasting classic movies AND booze, and Insomnia Theater which seems to be the same thing as Midnight Movie at The Byrd but half an hour earlier and significantly less cramped.
  • Special offers: They have a free valued customer program called the Criterion Club that lets you earn points towards free tickets and concessions AND can get you into members-only events and screenings.
  • error

    Report an error

Valerie Catrow

Valerie Catrow is editor of RVAFamily, mother to a mop-topped first grader, and always really excited to go to bed.

Notice: Comments that are not conducive to an interesting and thoughtful conversation may be removed at the editor’s discretion.

  1. Melora on said:

    My boyfriend just got a job at Movieland and the bowtie question was seriously the first question I asked him. Glad to know other minds needed to know this important detail as well.

  2. Dude…”Wendy and Lucy” opening weekend! I’ve been waiting to see that thing for too long!

  3. I think MY biggest question is still, “How much for tickets?”

    I’d also like to know what their matinee policy/hours are. I guess I’ll just have to wait a couple more weeks, but man…it’s a 15-minute bike ride from my house, so I hope it rocks.

  4. Matinees (before 3pm): $7 for adults, $6.75 for kids and seniors
    Regular showings: $9.75 for adults, $6.75 for kids and seniors
    3D concerts: $15
    Movies and Mimosas: $5.50 (drinks cost extra)
    Insomnia Theater: $5.50

    Discounts come with being a Criterion Club member.

    Go here and scroll all the way down for specifics:

  5. schlep on said:

    If Short Pump had an ousting policy the seats would be mostly empty, heh.
    Beer in the aisles, no ads, no louts policy…and less than a mile from my front door! Yip

  6. Sarah on said:

    “Once the alcohol license goes through…”

    So, we can start drinking beer there by October then?

  7. I am filled with emotion over here.

  8. i cant wait to see movies here. it might be all i do.

  9. They decided to put in bike racks after several people called and asked, “Hey, are you guys going to put in bike racks? Because people around here have bicycles.”

    Just pointing out that they seem really responsive to feedback and ideas. Which is a REFRESHING CHANGE around this town.

  10. John put up a great slide show up at North Richmond News: Click!

  11. Guys guys. I suggested in their suggestion form that they play “Casablanca” for Mimosa sundays, and I also was thinking in my mind “maybe I should suggest Gone with the Wind.” Here is the ACTUAL schedule though:

    3/1/09 Gone With the Wind
    3/8/09 Citizen Kane
    3/15/09 The Maltese Falcon
    3/22/09 Casablanca
    3/29/09 An American in Paris
    4/5/09 The Godfather
    4/12/09 The Godfather Part II
    4/19/09 The Birds
    4/26/09 Vertigo
    5/3/09 North by Northwest
    5/10/09 Mommie Dearest
    5/17/09 Breakfast at Tiffany’s
    5/24/09 Annie Hall
    5/31/09 Hannah and Her Sisters

    I have no words. Yes I do: holy crap. Those are the words that I have for that lineup.

  12. If they seriously are NOT going to run those awful military recruitment music videos (featuring 3 Doors Down, etc), then I’ll probably be a loyal customer.

    Also, I’d suggest a dollar or two off with student ID. I think that could nearly double their appeal to VCU’s potential customers.

  13. how much does it make everyone want to punch me to know that the only movie i’ve seen on justin’s list is the birds.


  14. Scott Burger on said:

    I am very appreciative for this project. I would also like to know what the plans are for the downtown block they bought for $3 million.

  15. this place is four blocks from work (full-time panhandler at the Greyhound station) and I’ve been watching it go up for the past year… MAN I’m so excited!! bike racks??? slow day matinée coming to a theater near ME.

  16. Scott, there’s restaurant space that will be up for lease soon. I think there’s also retail space around their too. From what I remember, they are waiting to decided what to do with those once they see how the theater does.

  17. shelby on said:

    I actually choked up a little at the sight of the Mimosa Sunday schedule. The thought of seeing some of those films on the big screen… too much happiness. can’t take it.

  18. Sarah on said:

    Please tell me those are actual prints of the classics and not DVD’s projected onto a big screen.

  19. I really hope the promise about smaller and independent films is sincere.

  20. Movie bouncers! F@$% Yea!*

    *to the tune of the theme from “Team America: World Police”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with an asterisk (*).

Or report an error instead