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Forget popcorn, first dine-in cinema opens in Dubai

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Dubai: Forget popcorn, nachos and sugary soda. Chef-prepared meals delivered right to your table inside the theatre is the next big thing in movie-watching experience in Dubai.

The region’s first theatre to serve restaurant food, located at the Jebel Ali Recreation Club in Dubai, is now open to the public, and more are expected to follow suit.

Operated by Reel Cinemas, which has tied up with award-winning American restaurateur Guy Fieri, is now serving patrons in Dubai and for a Dh160 entrance fee, cine-goers can enjoy a movie and a sumptuous meal comprising of an appetizer and main course.

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Moviegoers can opt for a gourmet burger, chicken cordon bleu pasta or lobster roll for their main dish. There are also chicken tenders or hummus for starters.

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And there’s a choice of dark chocolate layered cake or New York marbled cheesecake to cap a meal. 

cheesecake

Theatre operators have been finding ways to boost cinema attendance and entice consumers to go out more instead of binge-watching at home. In many markets outside the UAE, theatre attendance has been on a decline, with admissions to cinemas in the US and Canada alone falling 5.8 per cent to 1.24 billion in 2017. That’s the lowest attendance since 1992, according to a Bloomberg report.

Reel Cinemas confirmed that the concept of combining restaurant meals and movies will also be introduced in other locations in Dubai, with the opening in Jebel Ali to be followed by Dubai Mall and The Pointe in The Palm Jumeirah.

“The Guy Fieri cuisine will be available at three locations of Reel Cinemas in Dubai,” the company said. “Combined, the theatres will have 14 dine-in screens, with session tickets covering not just the film but also [food].”

Guy Fieri’s portfolio includes 45 restaurants spread across the United States and Mexico. The partnership with Reel Cinemas marks the next step in the award-winning chef’s global expansion.

Reel Cinemas has just announced that it is set to open the first cinema inside a hotel in Dubai before the end of June this year. Its flagship megaplex in Dubai Mall has just been relaunched following a major makeover.

The first dine-in theatre in Jebel Ali can accommodate close to 200 people and is equipped with Dolby Atmos surround sound technology and Barco Flagship Laser projection. Unfortunately, for popcorn lovers, the traditional cinema food will not be served.