TWIN FALLS • Magic Valley Cinema 13, which opens with shows on all 13 screens at 12:05 a.m. May 25, has just about every new gizmo a film buff could want. Except film, of course.
Chairs lurch to the vibrations on screen, making moviegoers feel they are caught in the action. Earphones describe each scene for the visually impaired. Other viewers may choose to follow the flick’s plot via closed captioning in their select languages.
The new theater in Magic Valley Mall has strictly digital projection and sound in both 2D and 3D.
But it’s the “D Box Motion Seating” that has everybody talking. General Manager John Eickhof said it consists of 19 chairs in two rows of one theater that will move as though in an earthquake, avalanche or high-speed chase.
It’s not appropriate for romantic comedies, but it’s just the ticket for fare such as “Men in Black 3,” which will play there in 3D on opening night.
Cinema 13 is the first complex that Cinema West of Petaluma, Calif., has built outside of California, where the company operates 11 complexes. Eickhof said avid customers book the D Box seats online weeks in advance in its California theaters.
“They have their own following,” he said, adding that what title is playing seems less important than those seats.
In Twin Falls, Cinema 13’s largest screen stretches 55 feet in front of 299 seats. Other venues are mid-sized, while a couple of 49-seat “screening rooms” offer intimate settings. One constant among all rooms is rocking-back seats that Eickhof joked are almost too plush.
“They’re so comfortable I’ll be waking people up after the midnight shows,” he said.
The cinema has a beer and wine bar that will serve drinks on special occasions, Eickhof said. He’s already planning a Super Bowl party.
Movies will play on all screens starting at 11 a.m. each day, giving a variety of scheduling options for those wanting to take advantage of the $7.50 price for features starting before 6 p.m. Prices increase to $9.75 for adults after that, although seniors and children 11 and younger will still pay $7.50.
Expect a $2 extra charge for 3D screenings and an $8 surcharge for the D Box seats, the only moving movie chairs between Boise and Salt Lake City.
Eickhof said customers can purchase tickets online through www.fandango.com, or by paying with ATM or credit cards or cash at the theater.
A spacious lobby can be entered from doors off a parking lot or through a connection to Magic Valley Mall. That creates what Eickhof calls an “open lobby,” which people can visit to buy popcorn or personal pizzas from the snack bar even if they don’t plan to see a movie.
“I call them drive-by popcorn eaters,” he said.
Magic Valley Cinema 13 fills the void left when the mall’s previous six-screen theater closed in September 2011. For Eickhof, the offer to become general manager revived a longtime love of cinema.
He’s the former owner of Ace Theater in Wendell, which closed years ago.
“We went down with ‘Titanic,’” Eickhof said with a grin. He thought that signaled retirement, but he was wrong.
“It’s the movie bug. It bites you and it’s fun.”