Chandler cinema programmer aims for the unique

By Ken Sain, Staff Writer

The owners of Majestic Neighborhood Cinema Grill are mapping a strategy aimed at meeting the challenges movie theaters face today.

In addition to the impact of the pandemic and government-ordered shutdowns during the last two years, movie theaters also have to worry about competition from streaming – especially as some studios are now releasing films for streaming at the same time they go up on the big screen.

Majestic Neighborhood Cinema Grill hired Andrea Canales to bring innovative programming to its venues in Chandler, Gilbert and Tempe.

“You have to stand out, you have to be unique,” Canales said. “We pride ourselves on offering a really fun, unique experience for people. We want to make great memories happen at our locations. We find that the easiest way to do that is to play up to nostalgia, things that people really enjoy doing.”

Canales, who assumed her new role earlier this month, has been doing programming for a number of independent movie houses in the state for years.

“We are very excited to welcome Andrea to our Majestic family,” said Craig Paschich, Majestic’s CEO. “She has deep ties to the Valley’s film community, ranging from her academic relationships to connections with everyday cinephiles, and she truly respects and can accommodate the varied interests of our cinema guests.”

All three theaters feature food and drinks delivered to your seat from their grill and bar.

The first major event she is planning for Majestic’s three theaters is a Valentine’s Day special with showings of “The Wedding Singer” and “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.” She said the food will be tied to the movie to enhance the overall experience.

One option also will be a “Gal-entine’s Day” screening of “Magic Mike” for single women and their friends.

Canales said she still needs to get a handle on what type of programming will play well in Chandler and Gilbert.

She said they rely on the people who work at each location for some ideas, but also get a lot of ideas from patrons themselves through Majestic’s social media platforms.

“It’s really listening to people on what they want,” Canales said. “Watching trends and patterns, and being a really keen observer of society and culture.”

Since she’s only been on the job a few weeks, she said she doesn’t quite know what those audiences are looking for.

“In Chandler and Gilbert, we’re doing a little experimenting to find out what is going to be the next consistent series for these locations,” she said. “We know there are movie lovers out here, we just have to find out what they want to see.”

Majestic to a degree has the Tempe audience figured out. One  popular program Majestic has at its Tempe venue is a themed scary movie night. On Feb. 2, they’re planning a night of original sequels because the date is 2-2-22. So Majestic will show the second film in a series such as “Friday the 13th” or “Halloween.”

Canales said if Majestic continues to focus on giving people something unique, the owners won’t have to worry about competition.

“People aren’t always looking for convenience,” she said. “They want to make memories, they want to have great experiences. We firmly believe you’ll never be able to replace that.”

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