You may have noticed, a night out at the movies has undergone some serious changes over the past few years. Theaters are evolving not only in their equipment and quality, but many are also focusing on presentation and ambiance. You may think a reclining chair in an IMAX Theater is the epitome of luxury, but think again. The new iPic Theater chain is flipping the switch and creating an affordable but luxurious experience for moviegoers everywhere.

As we met with Director of Strategic Marketing Jim Nowicki and Director of Public Relations Michelle Soudry, it was unveiled how iPic continues to provide outstanding service not only in Fort Lee, NJ, but state wide.

The difference is iPic

The two directors congregated and spoke with us, as well as introduced us to the iPic lifestyle, during their opening red carpet gala in early August. But for those who have never heard of the eclectic establishment, Michelle Soudry pulls it together nicely. “The iPic Theater is the ultimate moving going experience, especially in regards to luxury. In regards to qualities, the theater is pioneering something new into our community, as we are confident in our approach and maintain plans to further the growth of the establishment in our new communities.”

Soudry further revealed that iPic Theater isn’t simply a place for movies, it welcomes in big business, too. “Our theaters actually act as a private halls of sort– we have stadium-style seating and they are very luxurious. We are a popular bet for corporate executives and individuals to rent out a theater to book their own private party experiences and screen showcases. We frequently hold Q and A events with Hollywood movie directors with simulcast on our screens too.”

Frankly, iPic is a state of the art movie theater that is offering the classic touch of the movies but revamped with the 5 class elegance you’d expect at an in house theater. Private, personal, compelling and simply high-class, while maintaining an affordable expense for patrons. High-class living isn’t just for the upper class.

Being excited to see iPic theaters so close to home now, we feel the community can’t resist wanting to question  the choice of location. Tell us why Fort Lee was your destination of choice? Does it involve its rich history with film?

Jim Nowicki expressed that, “Aside from its rich history in film and production, Fort Lee and more specifically the Hudson Lights development, is the first community visible after crossing the George Washington Bridge into New Jersey, providing easy access from surrounding communities along the Hudson River.”

Which soon followed through with our question for Michelle. What other communities do you expect to get involved with aside from Fort Lee?

“It made sense for us to be a part of the first lifestyle project in the Fort Lee community. We are expecting to draw moviegoers and dining patrons from neighboring areas including Englewood, Tenafly, Paramus, Teaneck, Edgewater and Hoboken.”

  

With Fort Lee’s history aside, we were more intrigued by the beginning of iPic theaters itself. During the Red Carpet Gala event, Hamid Hashemi arrived and gave a brief speech of what exactly pioneered his innovative approach on a common ritual of entertainment.

What started the idea of marrying exceptional dining experiences with film? 

Hashemi stated that “At iPic, we discovered that the two most common forms of entertainment are dining out and moviegoing. Seventy-eight percent of people eat before or after watching a movie, oftentimes ending up missing their movie because of delayed service in a restaurant they dined at or they get caught in traffic on their way to the theater.”

“So the decision was simple – why not bring both experiences under one roof,” we asked.

“Exactly,” replied Hashemi. “By doing so, we actually take the stress and hassle out of going to the movies, essentially providing the moviegoer a half hour of their leisure time back. You don’t have to get into a car before or after dinner to drive to a restaurant anymore. Even if you aren’t planning on seeing a movie or dining during a movie, iPic delivers a great quality destination restaurant or movie theater experience for one to discover.” 

How many establishments can be found across the USA and is iPic global yet?

“The iPic Theaters’ addition to The Hudson Lights development in Fort Lee marks our 14th location, with another new site opening up in New York City this October, followed by locations in Dobb’s Ferry,  Norwalk, Connecticut, Delray Beach Florida and Frisco Texas. We are also currently in negotiations to license and operate in the Middle East, Europe and Asia.” Aren’t we lucky to be in America?

While preparing to speak with the rest of masses at the Red Carpet Gala Event, Hashemi left us with a few words for the community of Bergen County and new iPic patrons.

“We are so excited to be a part of the Fort Lee community. We know you’re going to love the iPic experience and will want to share it with friends. We encourage movie-goers to try our Sapphire membership. Sapphire members receive a free Premium ticket on their birthday and a free dessert on their anniversary in addition to other perks and benefits like invitations to private movie screenings and wine tastings.”

Dining In The Dark

Soon afterwards, we heard a snippet from the their esteemed chef, Sherry Yard. As she cheerfully approached the front, she gave us some exclusive information on how and why she crafts the theater menu the way she does. Sherry stated that, “Many movie-goers want to enjoy delicious snacks and treats during the movie. But it can get a bit noisy. That is why we tirelessly work to create menu items that are fulfilling but also distraction free!”

What is the menu like? Do you offer more than the average corn dog and popcorn?

“Of course! Our in-theater menu offerings are completely different from what is served in traditional movie theaters. We operate scratch kitchens at iPic, and take pride in offering dishes that are freshly prepared in-house daily; nothing comes out of a can.

Nowicki kindly added that, “Chef Sherry Yard designs and oversees all aspects of culinary at all of our iPic destination restaurants, as well as our in-theater menus. The public will recognize Sherry as an accomplished chef, as she is also a regularly-appearing judge on the ‘Food Network.’”

Sherry continued on that, “Popcorn is free to guests seated in our Premium Plus Pod seating!”

  

But for those who worry about their dining experience in a theater being near impossible or just plain sloppy– 

“Everything in our theaters is designed so as not to require a fork and knife– including our salads. Imagine being able to enjoy a fresh, handheld Caesar Salad or Chinois Chicken Salad Rolls for a convenient, dining in the dark experience.” Sounds great to us!

But eating at our seats isn’t the only option. ‘City Perch’ is another grand addition to this theater.

Can you reveal to us a bit more about the dining experience aside from in-theater eating? Collectively, Nowicki and Yard added that, “Guests often arrive early to take advantage of the unique culinary and beverage offerings at our destination restaurant, ‘City Perch Kitchen and Bar’ —a farm-to-table all-American restaurant—or hang out at the bar and sip on craft cocktails curated by Corporate Sommelier/Executive Bartender Adam Seger. At the end of the night, the entire experience can turn into an escape that can be enjoyed upward of four to five hours.” 

Don’t Break The Bank!

Despite people complaining the movies are becoming more expensive these days, there is a reason why iPic is known for offering an affordable experience.

Nowicki continued to ease the tension of costs and comparisons by expressing that, “The iPic Theaters were designed to offer an affordable luxury experience. The experience begins with the download of our app, which is the simplest and easiest way to purchase a ticket and order food and beverage. Just like an iTunes account, once you enter your credit card information with three simple touches you can reserve your seat in advance. You can also then select to order food, beverages and cocktails to enjoy at your Premium Plus seat before or during your movie.”

Without a doubt, our readers want to know how much does a day at the luxury theater cost? Are movie tickets more expensive?

“Tickets at iPic Theaters are $12 for Premium seats and $19 for Premium Plus on weekdays and $14 and $24 respectively on weekends for members and base level membership is free. At iPic there are no charges for buying your ticket online, no extra charges for attending a 3D movie, and we even include complimentary popcorn for all guests seated in the Premium Plus section of each theater. When you add up the usual $1-$2 fee that comes with ordering tickets through services like ‘Fandango,’ along with the typical $4 upcharge for 3D glasses, and around $8 for a medium popcorn, plus $10 to $14 for the ticket you wind up paying more than you would if you enjoyed a movie at iPic Theaters.”

After experiencing the movie theater for ourselves at the Red Gala opening, we can agree that movie watching has never been this good, and honestly, it just doesn’t get any better! Nowicki added to our words and went on to say, “At iPic, you can watch a movie in the comfort of our patented plush, Premium Plus reclining leather seats encapsulated within your own private viewing pod with courtesy pillow and blanket as you enjoy a glass of wine or a craft cocktail by our own world-renowned mixologist Adam Seger or dine on chef-curated dishes.”

  

Lights – Camera – Action!

The more the interview goes on, the more it seems that iPic is truly an affordable luxury moviegoing experience! Aside from these fine amenities, what enhancements or technology is available for the savvy movie-goers?

“The iPic Theaters offer the best in visuals and audio through employing 7.1 channel Dolby sound, utilizing the largest and best-proportioned screens, and harnessing the most advanced 3D technology out there. We also streamline the entire guest experience through a proprietary iPic Theaters app that allows guests to purchase tickets and select their in-theater dining options via their smartphones. They can access their membership information and receive rewards and special access to advanced screenings of movies unavailable at other theaters, along with tracking loyalty benefits earned for every dollar spent. Sapphire members who pay $29/year receive a complimentary birthday ticket and additional benefits throughout the year, making our program one of the most robust and rewarding out there.”

It seems if you’re a true movie buff or date nights are just your thing– you CAN’T miss out on becoming a member with iPic!

  

“However,” Nowicki added, “when it comes to the ultimate development for our in-theater experience, we are most proud of our custom-designed, patented Premium Plus Pod seating and our new iPic Chaise Lounges that will make their debut at iPic’s Fort Lee location.”

You may wonder, “What exactly is a theater pod and why do we need it in a theater?” Believe it or not, it is what makes or breaks the time spent at the movies. “Fort Lee guests will be the very first to experience our revolutionary seating options. Seating pods encapsulate our leather recliners, offering an intimate experience for moviegoers unlike anywhere else. The typical iPic guest understands the value of this shared experience, so you don’t find that people talk or text during the movie like you might at other theaters.”

Goodbye Netflix!

With all the exclusive offers, wonderful benefits, the surreal dining experience and overall idea of being a high-class movie-goer, the feeling becomes tantalizingly over whelming. While many may enjoy a classic Saturday evening at the movies, it goes without saying that the iPic theater is a life changing experience worth indulging in more than once! We think iPic will even entertain the idea of going to the movies alone, just to indulge in a little well-deserved “me time!” Movies and dinner all done at a low cost? Yes, please!

Now, iPic will continue dominating the U.S. with 5 star dining and incredibly revolutionary concept. With our NJ community being a great start, and offering a chance to experience their unique pod concept, we can confidently say that Fort Lee’s iPic will become the newest hot spot of 2016 and onward!

Edward Leary

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