Saturday, July 25, 2015

Studio Movie Grill - Upper Darby, PA

I rarely do blog posts on things other than movies or destination movie events.  But I just experienced the newest movie theater to open in the Philadelphia area and I think it is blog worthy.  For those of you outside of the Philly area, you should know that one of the worst things about this city is its lack of mainstream movie theaters in the downtown area.  Quite frankly it's outrageous that nowhere in Center City, Philadelphia is a there large multiplex where you can enjoyably see mainstream movies.  Sure, there are the newly reopened Roxy and Prince theaters, run by the Philadelphia Film Society, which are great, but are only two screens and one screen, respectively.  And yes, this is a terrific city for artsier films, with the three Landmark owned Ritz theaters showing 12 screens of arthouse films, all within a few blocks of each other, in lovely Society Hill.  But where can we see Jurassic World?!?  Is it really too much to ask in a major city like Philadelphia that we not have to travel to West Philly, North Philly, South Philly, or South Jersey just to see what the rest of the world can easily access?  And furthermore, all of the aforementioned options are terrible!  You can pretty much count on a poor experience going to any of them.  But now we have the Studio Movie Grill on 69th street in Upper Darby.   So here's the scoop.

The Theater:  Nine screens.  Comfortable seating with tray tables to eat on.  Full menu and bar delivered right to your seat by their friendly staff, with a push of a button for service.  Great audio and video.  Nice lobby, bar, and bathrooms.  A great way to watch a movie.  Though take note, it was extremely cold in there.  (Movie theaters are notoriously chilly, but this was a bit Arctic.  Bring a sweater.)

Location:  Well, the good news is it's very convenient to the El, right off the 69th street stop, a few doors down from The Tower Theater.  The bad news is, it's on 69th street.  If you're familiar, you know what I mean.  This ain't the Saks Fifth Avenue stretch of Philly.  But it's not much worse than the other options.

Price:  I love a good matinee.  It's cheaper and emptier, so I don't have to be near anyone.  My Saturday 11:30 AM screening of Southpaw was only $6.00! (plus $1.50 surcharge for reserving my seat online.)  I can't remember the last time I saw a movie in a theater that cheap.  That will increase, I'm sure.

Menu:  It's pretty large, not unlike any American chain restaurant.  For a movie theater it's amazing.  But I can't say I saw a ton of healthy options.  A few.  I opted for the coconut chicken bite appetizer which was very tasty, but very small.  But for $8, how much can you expect to get?

Customer Service:  Amazing.  Everyone was extremely friendly.  You don't get that anywhere else in Philly.

Organization:  Honestly, they just opened, but they do need to get their stuff together a little bit.  I pre-purchased my ticket online from the official Studio Movie Grill site for 11:30 AM a few days prior.  I arrived early (at like 10:30) because I wanted to check out the lobby, the bar, the menu, etc...  They didn't open the doors until 11:20, which was annoying.  And then I found out they changed the movie time from 11:30 to 11:55.  Not a huge deal, but you really shouldn't be changing movie times after you release the official schedule for that week, sell tickets, and not contact people about it.  But, again, they did just open.  Not the biggest deal.

Overall:  It's a great new option for Philly moviegoers, and I look forward to going back anytime I want to see a mainstream release.  The Rave in West Philly, The Pearl in North Philly, The Riverview in South Philly, and the AMC in Cherry Hill definitely should be concerned.  Why on Earth would anyone in Center City choose them now over the new Studio Movie Grill on 69th?  It's about time we had a better option.  Today is a good day.

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