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» Cinematour Forum   » Cinemas and Theatres   » Cinemark Century at Tanforan

   
Author Topic: Cinemark Century at Tanforan
David Au
Member

Posts: 133
From: Walnut Creek, CA
Registered: Sep 2006


 - posted September 07, 2008 01:31 AM      Profile for David Au   Email David Au         Edit/Delete Post 
I am a little late with this review. I went to the new Century Theatres at Tanforan in San Bruno, California in April of this year. It was opened by Cinemark, but it was planned by Century Theatres.

I have to say that it looked very much like a Century Theatre with a few elements of Cinemark decor. The carpeting and layout were just like a Century. The marble and granite wall and floor tiles that Century used were replaced with cheaper tile. It still looked ok. The auditoriums were decorated with red Cinemark curtains and gold wall sconces.

The seats were the Cinemark kind of seats. They were very stiff and uncomfortable. The armrests did not move and the chairs leaned so far back that it would cramp the leg room of the person behind you. The seating that Century used to use was soft and comfortable. The main reason why I am never coming here again is the terribly uncomfortable seating. It was 2 hours of torture.

Cinemark will lose tons of customers because of their bad seats. Cinemark should invest in the Century style theater seats. Saving a few dollars on cheap painful chairs will cause them to lose tons of money in the long run.

The theater featured digital projection on all 20 screens. I saw the same movie at this theater and at another theater on film. I compared the presentation and the digital presentation was slightly more even in brightness. The resolution of the digital picture seemed to be a little bit less. The sound at the digital theater was adequate, but it was slightly too low. The theater where I saw this movie on film had much better and louder sound. Overall, most people probably would not even notice the difference between film and digital. A proper film projection is just as good, if not better.

The screen was top down masking, but the movie was 1.85. The screen was about 40 feet wide and was on the small side. I assume the theater had a few big screens and the rest were shoebox sized.

The theater food was Century style with self serve concession stands. There was a Starbucks counter and Cinemark style self serve butter machines. I don't know if they use real butter or not. All the other Century theaters still use real butter.

Overall, terrible Cinemark seats have ruined my experience.

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Jerry Norwood
New Member

Posts: 43
From: Seattle, WA
Registered: Jun 2008


 - posted September 09, 2008 01:55 PM      Profile for Jerry Norwood   Email Jerry Norwood         Edit/Delete Post 
Most major theater chains do not use real butter. That is too costly. Regal, AMC, and Cinemark do not use real butter topping. I encourage my employees to say "Butter Topping" when talking to customers.

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David Au
Member

Posts: 133
From: Walnut Creek, CA
Registered: Sep 2006


 - posted September 09, 2008 04:28 PM      Profile for David Au   Email David Au         Edit/Delete Post 
I actually know that a lot of people go out of their way to patronize Century theaters because they have real butter. A lot of people prefer real butter. Century wins customers over with their great popcorn. I know the fake butter topping at other theaters such as Regal really ruins the taste of the popcorn. When people have a choice, they go to a theater where the food tastes better.

Century is one of the best chains for good food. They served pizzas, hand scooped ice cream cones, milkshakes, and Starbucks while other theaters only offered candy and popcorn. People are willing to spend money on Starbucks and other great tasting food.

I was at a Regal once and the concession worker asked me if I wanted "butter" on my popcorn. My response was one of pure shock and horror. I knew that stuff was hydrogenated oil with silicon as an ingredient.

Perhaps Regal and other chains can offer real butter, but charge for it. Some chains charge for real butter such as Warren Theatres. If they give people an option for better tasting popcorn, I believe people will pay for it. They already pay quite a bit for movie theater food already.

We see Starbucks showing up in places such as supermarkets. They make tons of money. People want these amenities and a lot of money can be made this way.

[ September 10, 2008, 09:13 PM: Message edited by: David Au ]

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Jim Cassedy
New Member

Posts: 1
From: San Francisco, CA
Registered: Sep 2008


 - posted September 24, 2008 07:43 AM      Profile for Jim Cassedy   Email Jim Cassedy         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Most major theater chains do not use real butter. That is too costly
It's not just that the butter itself is more expensive, but since butter is a dairy product, the heatlh department requires refigeration facilities, hot running water of a specified temperature be available within so many feet of the dispensing point, and in some cases seperate utensils and washing facilities.

The concession permit and health inspection process is also much more rigorious than if you are using a butter substitute.

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Tom Mundell
Member

Posts: 93
From: Silver Spring, MD
Registered: Nov 2003


 - posted September 26, 2008 12:39 PM      Profile for Tom Mundell   Author's Homepage   Email Tom Mundell         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
hot running water of a specified temperature be available within so many feet of the dispensing point
Most of those requirements make sense, but what's the reasoning for this one?

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Scott D. Neff
Tour Guide

Posts: 661
From: San Francisco, CA
Registered: Feb 2003


 - posted September 27, 2008 11:40 AM      Profile for Scott D. Neff   Email Scott D. Neff         Edit/Delete Post 
About butter, Century theatres still uses the O'Dells butterfat. I don't know if the rest of Cinemark now has real butter, but to my knowledge all Century "branded" locations do. As far as it being REAL butter, it is and it isn't. It's been clarified and the milk solids have been removed so there truly isn't dairy left in it. The Odell's butterfat is shelf stable and doesn't need refrigeration.

About Tanforan -- David you're absolutely right. Those seats are AWFUL. Absolutely awful. Being a former Century employee I was eager to see how this theatre would turn out.

Having visited the Century Summit Sierra in Reno (the first Cinemark opened Century build) I was disappointed because it was a Century blueprint but with Cinemark finishes: Black/Orange carpet, gold trimmed poster frames, cheesy "Hollywood" photos, baby crap colored trash cans and benches... the only thing Century about it besides the layout was the snack bar, Century mural and tile treatment around the theatre entrances.

The Century 16 in Boulder was much the same way, but more of a Century feel to the lobby and halls but just had Cinemark auditoriums attached.

But with Tan Foran I was pleased to see an entirely Century feel to things. Century carpet, Century hallways... it felt like the Century I used to work for. Until I sat in those god awful seats.

Long story even longer, I was surprised that while I was in Colorado Springs I went to a Cinemark Tinseltown 20 and found that it had been remodelled with Century carpet and even Century murals. It was REALLY REALLY unexpected.

My guess is that there was a little tug-o-war at the Cinemark HQ about whether it was worth it to keep up with the Cinemark style or whether it was better to go with the Century style since I'm guessing the top grossing theatres Cinemark owns are probably Century theatres.

But those are my two cents...

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David Au
Member

Posts: 133
From: Walnut Creek, CA
Registered: Sep 2006


 - posted September 28, 2008 12:26 AM      Profile for David Au   Email David Au         Edit/Delete Post 
Century Theatres have a much nicer and more upscale look than Cinemark. Cinemark would make much more money if they ran all of their theaters more like Century did. Century had much higher picture presentation quality and higher food quality.

Century Tanforan had walls with gold metallic paint or wallpaper. I noticed that the countertops in the restrooms also had gold flecks. It really looked fancy. There was also some tile on some of the walls like Century used to do. I found some photos on the internet:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/veggierebel/2772122890/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/veggierebel/2772121056/

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Christopher Crouch
Member

Posts: 292
From: Anaheim, CA
Registered: Feb 2006


 - posted October 02, 2008 03:46 AM      Profile for Christopher Crouch   Email Christopher Crouch         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Cinemark would make much more money if they ran all of their theaters more like Century did.
While I agree, from a theatre/movie fan perspective; from a business perspective, Cinemark's more frugal approach has been the key to their long term success.

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Scott D. Neff
Tour Guide

Posts: 661
From: San Francisco, CA
Registered: Feb 2003


 - posted October 02, 2008 04:27 PM      Profile for Scott D. Neff   Email Scott D. Neff         Edit/Delete Post 
Well it's not like Century was going bankrupt anytime soon. But yes, I agree that you're right about the cause of Cinemark's ability to remain profitable.

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David Au
Member

Posts: 133
From: Walnut Creek, CA
Registered: Sep 2006


 - posted October 02, 2008 09:48 PM      Profile for David Au   Email David Au         Edit/Delete Post 
I believe that Cinemark is trying to combine the best of Century and Cinemark. Century spent a little too much money on granite, marble, and neon on their new theaters. Cinemark used paint to cover the walls at their new Century Theatres, which saved a lot of money and still has high style.

Cinemark is wise to use the Century name and Century style food offerings. People like the food at Century. Remodeling some of the old Cinemark theaters to look more like Century Theatres is also a nice touch. Some of those old Cinemark and Tinseltown theaters look really ugly with the bright clashing colors.

What Cinemark also needs to do is offer excellent sound and picture quality and that will keep customers coming back. You can't skimp and use substandard equipment. If the picture and sound are terrible, people will go elsewhere.

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Scott D. Neff
Tour Guide

Posts: 661
From: San Francisco, CA
Registered: Feb 2003


 - posted October 06, 2008 07:53 PM      Profile for Scott D. Neff   Email Scott D. Neff         Edit/Delete Post 
A lot of the tile treatments that Century used was to prevent wear and tear in the long run. A number of theatres had been retrofitted to have the tile wainscoting run down the length of each hallway. A lot less costly to put up tile once than continue to replace paint and wallpaper over the life of a building.

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