Enormous screens and cushy seats miss out on their purpose when ticket buyers stay home, so East Texas theaters are about to pivot and use their space differently.  They're finding new ways for us to watch things, and it's not just movies.  

I can't be the only one that's getting a little tired of streaming at home.  I mean, it's nice to have access to the home fridge because sometimes a girl craves carrot chips and garlic hummus instead of a theater-sized tub of popcorn, but after months of streaming movies in the living room, it's nice to get out.  The dogs can survive a few nights without lap time.

Movie theaters are starting to pivot and give us new ways to watch movies AND new things to watch.  I love it!  We have some beautiful, innovative theaters around town, and when I go out to the movies instead of stream at home, I'm not tempted to fold laundry or answer emails all the way through.  It's an escape from the monotony.

3 Ways East Texas Movie Theaters Are Adapting in 2021

1.  Private watch parties. AMC Theaters around East Texas are offering the chance to rent out an entire theater for your group, so you and your friends can have the space all to yourself for a few hours.  The available times vary.  A friend of mine rented a theater for her entire family last Thanksgiving and they had a blast with the movie and snacks, and someone else did the clean-up.  Oh, and how great is it to pick the people that get in, instead of being surrounded by strangers?  Climbing over a friend getting back to your seat is less awkward than tripping over a stranger.

2.  Concerts.  Bon Jovi's Encore Drive-In Nights was a prime example back in May of what it's like to see live music simultaneously in scattered, small venues.  The band pre-recorded the concert on a stage in Asbury Park, New Jersey, and then streamed it to drive-in theaters around the U.S. for one night only.  A few indoor theaters were able to show the concert too, and this may be a sign of things to come, even if live music makes a complete comeback and is able to happen without restrictions.  I went to the Bon Jovi show, and parking was SO much easier at the theater than it would have been at a stadium.  There are perks with a movie-theater concert, not the least of which is the cushy recliner.  Florida-Georgia Line will be the next to do an Encore Nights show, and that's coming up this Saturday, June 12th.

3. Food and alcoholStudio Movie Grill has been offering alcohol for a while and AMC Tyler Classic 14 offers beer.  Some theaters are adding full bars in their lobbies with the nightclub vibe and setup with sleek multi-colored lights, polished marble countertops, and glitzy decorations.  It's an atmosphere we don't have at home, at least most of the time.  Menus are expanding too, and some theaters serving salads, wings, and flatbread pizzas.

Theaters around the country are starting to show live sporting events too.  Some are showing NBA playoff games for free, and anyone who buys a ticket to another movie can wander in and watch.  Theater 9 might be showing Dream Horse, and Theater 8 might be designated for the basketball.  The sound is loud, the players are one-story tall, the recliners are comfy, and the theater that serves alcohol will keep the drinks coming.

Home got us by for a year, but going out is good too and theaters are ready.  We have a feeling the changes may just be the tip of the iceberg.

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