The Next Evolution in Luxury Theaters? Playgrounds

Cine?polis_Junior_Mexico_ - Publicity - H 2017
Ernesto López Ruiz/Cinepolis

The nation's first dedicated children's movie auditorium will debut later this month in Southern California — but don't worry, kids can't play during the film.

Parents are about to see the next evolution in luxury theaters: playgrounds in the auditorium. 

On March 16, cinema chain Cinepolis USA will unveil "Cinepolis Junior" in two of its Southern California complexes, one in Pico Rivera in southeastern Los Angeles County and the other in San Diego.

Billed as the nation's first dedicated theater auditorium for kids, Cinepolis Junior features the chain's usual upscale luxury seats along with colorful decor and a 55-foot long, 20-foot high play structure featuring slides, two platforms and a bounty of playground equipment. 

For younger tots, there's a smaller, fenced-in play area with green lawn turf, a tire climber and molded plastic animal sculptures that invite climbing.

Some on social media have questioned whether such amenities will ruin the moviegoing experience, but parents don't have to worry: Kids will only be able to play 15 minutes prior to show time, and the theater only features family movies. 

Cinepolis, based in Mexico, already operates Cinepolis Junior auditoriums in Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Spain. 

"The opportunity to introduce Cinepolis Junior and what it represents — a new way to help loved ones come together and enjoy the arts — to the U.S. market is an honor,” Cinepolis USA CEO Adrian Mijares Elizondo said in a statement. “As the entertainment industry continues to evolve, we are pleased to be a pioneer and continue our innovation in the exhibitor space with our newest theater concept. To help new guests fall in love with movies is our goal, and to do it in a way that caters to every need is our mission.”