Movies

UltraStar Cinemas Offer Family Friendly Movie Screenings

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While becoming a new parent comes with many joys in life, it can also come with one serious problem: what do new parents do when they want to see a recently released movie?

UltraStar Cinemas has found the answer. The theater chain knows that oftentimes new moms and dads find themselves missing out on the movie theater experience because they don’t want to leave little ones at home with a sitter or don’t want to bring the baby with them. For this reason, Parent Movie Morning was created.

Parent Movie Morning is a weekly program offered in select UltraStar locations that is catered specifically to new parents.

“Once a week UltraStar selects a new film, generally a romantic comedy or drama,” the company explained. “The lights are dimmed, not completely darkened as in a normal film, so new parents can still see their babies to nurse or comfort them; the volume is reduced so that any action scenes aren’t as startling; and changing tables are set up in the auditorium so when a baby’s diaper needs attention their parent doesn’t need to miss any of the movie.”

The program has been a hit so far, occurring in eight different locations.

“When the program debuted at our La Costa Cinemas in 2003 I had high hopes that other new parents would embrace the concept and I wouldn’t be the only one in the auditorium with my baby stroller, but I didn’t anticipate how well-received it would be,” Julie Bravo, vice president of advertising and marketing for UltraStar Cinemas, stated.

The idea started eight year ago when an UltraStar guest asked about starting a program that would allow her to come to the movie with her baby in an atmosphere that would be welcoming.

“As a new mom myself, and an avid moviegoer, I loved the idea instantly,” Bravo said. “I would never bring my newborn to the theater for fear of disturbing other guests, but I didn’t want to wait 7-8 months for the hot new movie to be available on DVD either … our Parent Movie Morning and Baby’s Night Out programs allow new moms and dads a unique opportunity to get out and enjoy a new movie they want to see with their baby. ”

One of the great things about Parent Movie Morning is the early bird ticket price, which allows parents to buy tickets for $6. The movie content is also geared toward the parent instead of the child, making it an event for the adults instead of the kids.

“Parent Movie Morning is a way for new moms and dads to see a movie they want to see, not a chance to bring their child to see a movie,” Bravo said.

However, parents are warned that featured films can be rated R so parents are asked to think twice when bringing along older children.

The success of Parent Movie Morning was so great it sparked a spinoff last year called Baby’s Night Out, which is currently held at Hazard Center.

“I was contacted frequently by moms that had returned to work following their maternity leave that still wanted to see movies but could no longer come to our morning show. Working dads wanted to come too,” Bravo said.

Baby’s Night Out follows the same family friendly philosophy and is held the first Thursday of every month at 7 p.m. for the same early bird discounted price.

“Families phase of out this program within six months to a year so the fact that the program is still going strong is truly a testament to the great experiences new moms and dads share,” Bravo said.

“Both of these programs have been extremely successful and have received great feedback from our guests. Parents are able to come to the movies with their newborns, then when they end up leaving the baby at home they come for a date night out, then when their children are a little older they graduate to the Kidtoons program.”

The Kidstoons Program offers G-rated content every Saturday and Sunday at 10:30 a.m. at participating theater locations. A different G-rated film is featured very month for $2.50 per person and free for children 3 and younger.

“The major studios only release a handful of G rated films each year, but we are the only theater company in San Diego that offers consistent family programming every weekend,” Bravo said. “And at only $2.50 per person it is an affordable way to entertain the kids and to introduce little ones to the magic of movies.”

Kidtoons features characters and stories that preschool to school-age children are familiar with, including Barbie and Sesame Street. After each show children also receive a free give-away item such as stickers, temporary tattoos or a coloring sheet.

Ultra Star Cinemas is headquartered in San Diego County and operates 141 screens at 14 sites throughout Southern California and Arizona. The company was formed in 1999 by John Ellison, Jr.and Alan Grossberg with the same goal in mind – be a pioneer in the industry and consistently stay onthe forefront of technology, while providing the best movie-going experience to every guest that walksthrough the doors.

UltraStar was the first exhibitor in the world to be equipped with D-BOX Motion Seats. D-BOX Technologies uses motion integrated within theater seats to capture some of the best action scenes in all types of movies. Feeling the action immerses the guest in the movie like never before. D-BOX films opening this summer include Pirates of the Caribbean and Super 8.

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