This post is going to consist of two parts. The first part will be a relatively quick “first thoughts, reaction, and feeling” of the new Titan XC theater at Consolidated Ward for those who just want a quick read. Following that, the second portion of this post will go into greater detail of my experience in the newly renovated theater.
Quick Review ::
If you want a good movie experience, then Consolidated Ward’s new Titan XC will have one to offer. However, moviegoers should be informed about the moviegoing experience that they can expect to have. First up, so we can get it out the way really quick, this IS NOT an Imax theater. The image quality on screen simply cannot match that of the Imax format. Is the image quality bad? Hardly, this is a relatively brand new projector (installed in about April) and it does a nice job of showing bright and crisp images–it just doesn’t show the high “HD like” quality that Imax does.
Second, the sound. Consolidated amped up the volume by installing a bunch of new speakers, most noticeably on the sides and ceiling of the theater. This did make for a much louder experience, but it was hard to gauge the effectiveness with a movie like Toy Story 3. Was the sound louder? Yes. Was it loud enough to drown out the crying child in the row behind me and three seats over? No.
Third, the screen–while it is wall to wall and does make for a more dramatic presentation, I personally didn’t think it added that much to the viewing experience.
Fourth, the seats–while they are nice and new, I overheard an employee mention that they are pleather seats. Still they are comfortable just the same as the old ones. Although, one plus is that all of these seats recline a little (like the ones in the first few rows). Also all rows and seats are now numbered so you can properly find your reserved seat.
Fifth and finally, the glasses. These are the bulkiest of the 3D glasses I have ever worn and if you wear regular glasses, I hope you have a small pair as I fear larger frames may not fit under the XpanD 3D glasses. Also, for some reason, the on screen images are darkened when wearing the glasses so expect a slightly muted presentation for 3D showings.
Overall, I think you’ll get a decent experience with Consolidated’s new Titan XC. I just don’t think it will be as “world class” as is being advertised. I still say that the biggest selling point of this new theater will be the reserved seating. Want to see Eclipse on opening night AND be able to show up just 20 minutes before the movie starts? This will be the way to do it!
Detailed Review ::
Consolidated Ward’s Titan XC in theater 8 definitely had the “new theater smell” like when you get a new car. Here’s more of what you can expect from each of some of the new theater’s features and an introduction from theater management.
As mentioned previously, all the seats are brand spanking new (hence the new theater smell). As far as comfort levels go, I really couldn’t tell the different between the old seats and the new ones. What I do like though is all of the seats recline a little (about 3-4 inches backward). As noted in the images above, all seats are are now numbered. The numbering starts at #1 on the left side of a row (if you’re facing the row) and works it’s way up as you move to the right across the row. Rows are numbered by letters. I know that the upper portion of rows in theater 8 are double lettered (AA, BB, CC, etc) and increase as they work they’re way up. I forgot to check while we were there, but I’m not sure if the rows in the lower level are double lettered or single lettered. Though I suspect they are single lettered to differentiate themselves from the top portion of seats. The row numbers are illuminated so you will have an easier time finding your row in the theater if the lights are off. I only hope they have new cleaning supplies as well because once food or drinks start falling on seats, it will definitely be more noticeable than with the old ones.
One aspect of the Titan XC experience that delivers as advertised is the wall-to-wall screen that now fills the entire 66 feet width of the theater. At first glance it doesn’t seem too big of a difference. After all, Ward’s big theaters (#7-10) already had bigger screens when compared to Dole, so what do a few more feet add? Well, you know the saying, “bigger is better,” it still applies. Those few feet do make a difference and make the theater that much more new and different. One noticeable improvement though is that now the screen is concave or curved away from the audience. This is done to negate the effects of distortion from the projector. One thing to remember though is that with bigger screens you need to sit farther back to enjoy the experience. I would recommend sitting in the upper portion of the theater if possible for the optimal experience.
One of the first things you notice when you walk into the Titan theater is that there are a lot more speakers than there were before. JBL speakers line both sides of the theater and the ceiling. I’m sure there were speakers on the wall before the renovation, but they have been since upgraded to the more noticeable JBL ones now installed (9 on each wall, 14 on the ceiling). Also part of the upgrade included doubling the subwoofer power behind the screen. All this leads to an extra 2 channels of audio in the theater. Theater standard is 5.1 surround. Consolidated went above and beyond to upgrade the theater to 7.1. Now does this translate to a better movie experience? The jury is still out on the audio with Titan. The sound was noticeably louder in the Titan theater, but I’m not sure if I was really that much more immersed in the seven channels of audio. Probably a better measuring stick would be a movie like Saving Private Ryan or some other action movie. As it stands right now, Titan’s roar is louder, but not necessarily more intense.
As I opened up with in the quick review section of this post, picture quality in the Titan theater is marginally better than other theaters. The image is clean, clear, and crisp, but it’s no Imax. As mentioned in their press release, the theater is operating an NEC digital projector. A quick web search of NEC’s offerings for digital projectors show industry standard projectors, a standard that is below that of Imax. However, Titan is a digital theater so it does have a leg up on other film theaters. If you have an option of seeing a movie in a digital theater or a film theater, opt for the digital one. With digital projection, the film print does not degrade from multiple viewings (this results in faded images and lots of artifacts, or spots, seen when viewing). Since Titan is indeed digital, the picture will look as good from the first viewing to the 100th. A positive note about this NEC technology is that their website states that later this year, their models will be able to upgrade to higher resolutions–hopefully Consolidated can implement this.
This is probably one aspect of the Titan XC experience that affected me the most–their 3D glasses. I’ve used 3D glasses for Imax, Dolby 3D, RealD, and now XpanD. Out of all of them, the XpanD’s have been the bulkiest. Now I usually don’t mind the glasses. This time though, I had to wear my glasses underneath the 3D glasses and while it wasn’t irritating, I definitely “felt” the weight of the glasses on my head over my own glasses. Another moviegoer in my party mentioned that they didn’t like the XpanD glasses and that the Imax one’s are better since they are lighter and easier to fit over your glasses. Another somewhat negative aspect of the glasses were that they really darkened the picture image on screen. Without them on, the picture was bright and the colors vibrant. When put on, there was a significant change in picture brightness. Don’t know exactly what the story is with that, but it’s another reason why I probably wouldn’t see another 3D film in this theater.
Adult – $14.25 :: Child/Senior – $11.00 :: Adult 3D – $16.25 :: Child/Senior 3D – $13.00
I still believe that the biggest selling point of this theater will be the fact that you can reserve your seat. For an extra $3.50 (regular Ward ticket prices start at $10.75 for adults) you can see a movie on opening weekend without having to worry about coming early, standing in lines, and then fight the crowd to get a good seat. And I like how there are two prices for films in the theater, one for 2D and another for 3D (Dole’s Imax has a single price for both 2D and 3D movies). In the end, Consolidated was smart my making their Titan XC price points lower than those of Dole’s Imax.
As I theorized in my previous blog post, a lot of the “experience” of the Titan XC theater at Ward can be chalked up to marketing by Consolidated. It’s not a bad experience, in fact it’s a pretty decent one–it’s just not as great as an experience as advertised. However, this shouldn’t stop people from going to check out the Titan XC experience for themselves. We’re all different so you might come up with your own assessment of the theater. As with all things, be informed about your movie viewing choices.