Deluxe Theaters are on the Way

The Hollywoood Reporter says a new deluxe cinema will open this year in suburban Chicago, one of 50 U.S. multiplexes set for construction during the next five years through a new $200 million joint venture headed by Australian entertainment conglomerate Village Roadshow.

The planned theaters will boast boosted amenities, including plush reserved seating, special parking privileges and upscale food and beverage offerings with seat-side waiter service.

Some or all of those offerings are available at existing deluxe cinemas in select U.S. markets that charge $20 or less for movie tickets. But Gold Class auditoriums will feature a 40-seat-maximum patron capacity and an even higher-end atmosphere, at the estimated price of $35 per ticket.

Village Roadshow Gold Class Cinemas also plans to open a site in Redmond, Wash., by year’s end, with about 20 additional sites planned for rollout by 2010.

Companies partnering with Village Roadshow in the joint venture include Act III Entertainment, a company co-owned by Norman Lear and Hal Gaba; Michael Lambert’s Lambert Entertainment; and the Retirement Systems of Alabama, a pension investment fund.