Wednesday, October 22, 2014


I returned to the new ArcLight Cinemas yesterday for a sneak preview of Westfield Montgomery's 16-screen cineplex, and have brought back plenty of photos (stay tuned for video). Obviously, the lobby wall of screens is what grabs your attention the most upon entering, and that real estate is currently promoting the highly-anticipated Interstellar, which starts showing on November 4 at ArcLight. I also sampled some of the food you can enjoy from the lobby's cafe, and their signature caramel corn. The latter is made on-site every day, and is more like taffy than the cheaper, "spray-on" caramel corn you might buy at the grocery store. Having said that, I'm a purist who enjoys the flavor and aroma of movie theater popcorn, preferably with extra butter. That aroma was in the air when I came in the door of the lobby, making this movie buff feel instantly at home.
Extra butter for me
Chris Nolan's Interstellar dominates
the lobby at the moment

This is just plain impressive


Light fixtures and a screen
"curtain" accent the upscale
feel of the lobby


Time waits for no man - and
neither will the movie, if
you're late
There is a small area of the lobby dedicated to movie-themed gifts, including merchandise from Star Wars, Star Trek, A Christmas Story and The Wizard of Oz. You'll also find exhibit space throughout the cineplex, and yesterday, that was dedicated to stills from Christopher Nolan's Interstellar and costumes from Robin Hood and Black Swan.

Costume from Black Swan

Robin Hood - as portrayed by
comic book legend Stan Lee for
ArcLight Cinemas
About that food - my favorite so far is the Popcorn Chicken. Not to be confused with a frozen chicken product, this was fried fresh, was extremely tender and juicy, and comes with dipping sauces. I also tried a flatbread pizza which was pretty good, and a fountain-prepared Coca-Cola. There are charcuterie and cheese boards, and quite a few baked pastries for dessert.
Ready for dessert?


Your diet just went out
the window

Chocoholics unite

Thick brownie

"Cookies are a sometimes thing"
- Cookie Monster (yeah, right!)

Not the typical theater food

Cheese board

"I'm crackers about cheese"
- Wallace,
The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Popcorn chicken. Verdict?

Just about all of your favorite
movie theater candies - plus
local Glarus chocolate bars!
The lobby's cafe

Enjoy food and cocktails
here, or take them into
the theater


Classic or caramel corn?
Try an adult beverage
On to the theater! In this case, it was Auditorium 6. There was a demonstration of the theater's Dolby Atmos sound system, which was very impressive. During an on-screen rainstorm, the 360º speaker setup made it sound like rain was literally falling from the ceiling and landing on the theater floor.

During an advance preview of Nightcrawler later in the afternoon, that movie's unique color scheme for its stunning cinematographic views of Los Angeles was richly displayed. As several representatives of ArcLight mentioned, the chain's California locations are where directors go when they want to see their films as they were meant to be seen. That includes the black box theater concept, no crackling popcorn bags (it comes in tubs, instead) and nacho-crunching, and no texting during the movies. Ushers take more of a host role here, and forget about standing in line - there are no lines, and all seating is reserved. As I mentioned in the past, there are also no ads. You might get a bonus feature after the movie, or a very short one as one of the few previews before it - you may recall some of those ArcLight-exclusive features I have posted here on the blog in the past.
Large numbers help you quickly
locate your reserved seat

A test drive of the plush cloth seats found them to be very comfortable (although the running time of Interstellar should give them the ultimate test!).
Remember the movie poster
cases from the hard hat tour?

Little movie called Hunger Games

Interstellar still

Big Hero 6

Returning to the lobby
from the auditoriums

Go ahead and check out the movies on sale now, and be one of the first in Bethesda to experience ArcLight Cinemas' first location outside of California. Why wait until the grand opening on November 4, when you can buy tickets now for John Wick tomorrow night (October 23 at 10:00 PM), and enjoy a livestreamed Q and A with Keanu Reeves from Los Angeles after the film? Looking forward to more of those types of events here in the future.

ArcLight has set the bar high for the next generation of movie theaters in Montgomery County, and it will be interesting to see how iPic Theaters will stack up at Pike and Rose up the road.
But first let me
take a selfie


Anonymous said...

Why won't BOB ADDRESS the fact that hes being paid under the table for these posts? Is it true?!

How much are you taking to spew your sponsored content Bob?!

ANSWER US!!!!!!!! You have ZERO credibility until you do.

Anonymous said...

"I'm a purist who enjoys the flavor and aroma of movie theater popcorn, preferably with extra butter. That aroma was in the air when I came in the door of the lobby, making this movie buff feel instantly at home."

It's not "butter". The aroma you're smelling is coconut oil.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Is Dyer on the wrong side of history? I'd say so ...

Anonymous said...

How many paid shills are trying to discredit Dyer?

I have to say, they are effective! I use to like him but all these comments have shown me the light.

Congrats, unknown hero! You're doing the lords work!!

Anonymous said...

Sadly, the CVS at Montgomery Mall closed some time ago.

So you'll need to stop at the one at Wildwood Center to pick up your candy, so you can avoid the ridiculous portion sizes and mark-up at the theater.

Anonymous said...

Better get those movies in now Bob. Once you're a county councilmember you won't have a lot of time.

Anonymous said...

Do poor people exist? I thought they were a myth we tell kids.

Anonymous said...

I am anonymous 7:05AM through 7:30AM.

I apologize for my posts, I was having a bad morning.

Anonymous said...

At 7:35 ... NO your not!!!!

Fuck that apology bro.

Anonymous said...

I'm Anonymous 8:01AM.
I apologize again. Having another bad morning and I'm taking it out on Robert :\

Anonymous said...

Yes, bring your own candy and water bottle! So much cheaper.

I know theaters make money on concessions, but the markup is ridiculously unreasonable. To the point we sneak in our own stuff.

I wonder if there is a study somewhere that shows the rationale for the price points? I'm not a retail expert but I imagine if prices were somewhat reasonable then they would more than make up for the lower prices in not just volume but also customer satisfaction.

Anonymous said...

$16 for the John Wick preview. Wow.

Anonymous said...

ArcLight is really bringing some things that no other theater has in the DC area. The John Wick live Q&A, for example. The unique presentation style and excellent restaurant are other examples.

It appears to be superior to iPic, but it's too early to say. Parking for ArLight is free, but I assume one must pay to park at iPic?

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't inhale that odor, er, "aroma" of the "butter" on the popcorn, too deeply.

You might wind up with "popcorn lung", especially since you already appear to be a smoker.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

iPic has a higher class of seats - its for rich people. Not poor people like you.

Robert Dyer said...

7:07 You do realize Hans Riemer is bankrolled by Bain Capital and Danaher Corporation, 2 pioneers in outsourcing American jobs to China?

Robert Dyer said...

7:05 I received no payment for this post. I attended the media preview, and am giving you my honest assessment.

Anonymous said...

Bro? Are we in a fraternity?

Robert Dyer said...

Not sure what you're referring to, but the history of movie theaters in Montgomery County is significant. One of my favorites in theater history is when Clark Gable sent a telegram to the Boro Theater on Wisconsin Avenue to congratulate them on their grand opening in 1938.

Robert Dyer said...

9:52 I've never smoked a cigarette in my life.