Cary, N.C. — For Bruce Frank, watching a movie is so much more than just "watching." It's about the experience.
Despite the often predicted demise of the movie theater, the medium keeps thriving by evolving.
"We keep stepping up the game," said Frank, CEO of Frank Entertainment, which will open its new concept CineBowl and Grille in Cary's Parkside Town Commons shopping area on Friday.
Frank loves the movies. He even watched five complete films in one day.
It wouldn't be hard to do that in CineBowl's "dine and recline" theater, which allows moviegoers to order food and drinks from a special menu of finger foods. Items include parmesan fries, pretzel bites, Buffalo chicken pizza, Philly cheesesteak egg rolls, meatball and caprese skewers, sliders, flatbreads and kabobs. Dessert picks include bacon wrapped Oreos. You can also order items from the concession stand - candy, classic buttered popcorn and gourmet popcorn (which comes in three favors: chocolate, caramel drizzle and Southern spice). The drink menu is also impressive with a host of signature cocktails and beer selections.
The dine and recline theater has plush seating and trays to hold your food and drinks. Now, you might think that serving food inside the theater itself will interrupt the experience. Frank has accounted for that.
Servers will begin taking orders for food and drink 30 minutes before the film is scheduled to start. Entrees are delivered during previews. Once the film starts, servers won't be walking through the theater. If you want to get dessert or another drink, simply go the concession stand. If you arrive late to the film, you can place an order with a server stationed downstairs at the theater door. Once the food is reader, the server will bring it to the bottom steps for you to pick up from them.
Dine and recline tickets run about $15 on weekends and $12 on weekdays for adults, only a couple dollars more than regular adult tickets.
If you'd rather get your own snacks at the concession stand, there is that option too. The expansive stand also features a bar.
CineBowl also has an FDX-Xtreme Screen, which is 85 feet long and five stories tall. Watching a film in this theater is really a treat. The screen features Sony Digital Cinema 4K projection and walls and ceiling are outfitted with Dolby Atmos 12.1 sound, so you feel like those "Jurassic World" dinosaurs are all around you.
There are 11 other theaters that feature wall-to-wall floor-to-ceiling floating screens with the same technology, just not the sound coming out of the ceiling. Five of those theaters are also equipped for 3D.
Tickets for CineBowl are all reserved. So whether you buy online or at the box office, you get to select your seats. No more worrying about saving seats.
In addition to a movie theater, the 60,000 square-foot entertainment complex also has 16 bowling lanes and an arcade. The grille and bar, which has a menu all its own, serves up half-pound certified Angus beer burgers, fish tacos, flatbreads and more.
Frank said the bar will also host local music and live DJs. There are also more than enough screens in the grille and bar area to watch just about every game that might be on.
Look out for special deals, including discounted tickets and food on Tuesdays and Ladie's Night at the bowling alley on Thursdays.
The movie theater, bowling alley, restaurant and arcade is located in the Parkside Town Commons shopping center in Cary. Frank said guests can begin reserving seats online Thursday for this weekend's new releases, including "Minions."