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Renovated AMC Newport on the Levee 20 brings recliners, Dolby, expanded food & drink menu, more

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By Mark Hansel
NKyTribune managing editor

AMC Theatres and Newport on the Levee are excited to announce the completion of the renovated AMC Newport on the Levee 20 theatres.

Guests can enjoy AMC’s popular movie-going amenities throughout the entire theater for the first time ever, just in time for the holiday movie season.

AMC Newport on the Levee 20 may look the same on the outside, but a whole new moviegoing experience awaits inside (photos by Mark Hansel)

“We’re excited to deliver this incredible AMC Experience, which guests around the country are raving about, to movie-goers in the Cincinnati area,” said John McDonald, Executive Vice President, U.S. Operations, AMC Theatres. “These enhancements, including our AMC Signature Recliners, provide an unparalleled movie-going experience that complements Newport on the Levee’s status as a destination hub in the area.”

The completion marks the end of a five-month renovation process that includes bringing AMC’s most popular, viewer-friendly features to guests in the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area. Moviegoers at AMC Newport on the Levee 20 can now enjoy:

  • AMC Signature plush, power recliners
  • Online ticketing, reserved seating, and ticketless entry
  • Dolby Cinema at AMC
  • New movie screens, speakers and sound systems
  • An expanded menu of treats for every taste bud through AMC Feature Fare

The theater also offers features that guests have come to enjoy, such as the MacGuffins adult beverage concept and IMAX at AMC.

Ryan Noonan, director of corporate communications for AMC, said MacGuffins Bar, seen in the background, is part of the enhanced experience for moviegoers.

Vanessa Rovekamp, director of marketing at Newport on the Levee, said everything guests see, touch and feel in their experience has been updated.

“The renovations represent a huge investment in our region and a huge vote of confidence as well,” Rovekamp said. “We are dedicated to continuous improvements and are proud to be one of the premier destinations for families in the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky region.”

Ryan Noonan director of corporate communications for AMC, said one wing still needs some last-minute touch-ups, but the whole building will be competed by tonight.

He said the goal of a movie theater has traditionally been to get as many people into the building as possible, but that has changed over the years.

“AMC really pioneered this focus on the movie-going experience,” Noonan said. “The focus on an elevated experience with recliners, better food and beverage, better convenience, MacGuffins Bars. We started right around 2010, it was so immensely popular and so successful that, from an industry standpoint, it took off.”

The word ‘macguffin’ was coined in 1939 by Alfred Hitchcock to mean a plot device that motivates the characters and fuels the action. MacGuffins Bar is focused on fueling the experience for guests of AMC Theatres.

Vanessa Rovekamp, director of marketing at Newport on the Levee said everything guests see, touch and feel in their experience at AMC Newport on the Levee 20 has been updated.

Noonan said MacGuffins was here before the renovation began in May, but it kind of goes back to that theme of an enhanced movie-going experience.

“You can get a glass of wine, you can get a cocktail, or a craft beer to enjoy with your movie and it’s an amenity that guests want, they like,” Noonan said. “It’s not designed to be like a neighborhood bar, where you sit and have multiple drinks, it’s for those who want that option as part of their experience. You’re here to watch a movie, so maybe you’ll grab a beer and go in and enjoy, but to get another drink means you are going to miss some of the movie.”

Noonan would not provide an exact figure, but said the project involved “multi-million dollar” renovations. It is a significant investment and it’s taking place nationwide, but not at every one of AMC’s theatres.

“This one has taken five months, so there is a significant amount of time, money and resources that go into a renovation like this, but we are finding that it works,” Noonan. “We are seeing our capacity drop by about 50 percent, but typically what we see in a renovation like this, year-over-year, is attendance going up 40 to 50 percent. So, there are a lot more people sitting in the seats and there are fewer seats in the building, which lends itself to something like reserved seating.”

Moviegoers can get a ticket online and select their seat at the time of purchase, which helps ensure that everyone in a group sits together in a spot of their choosing.

“You’re going to sit exactly where you want to,” Noonan said.

Noonan said in addition to the plush recliners, theaters have been designed with private rows and barriers, to minimize distractions from cell phones and other modern inconveniences.

Dolby Cinema is described on the AMC website as “astonishing brightness, deep darks and vibrant colors (that) render each moment with spectacular impact. Breathtaking sound in Dolby fills the room and flows all around you. The sleek, power recliners reverberate to move you deep into the story.”

Noonan provides a more moviegoer-friendly description.

“It’s another premium format experience where you’re going to get the best of both worlds with Dolby and AMC,” Noonan said. “There are about 70 speakers that surround you in the auditorium. So, you get this incredible sound and it’s all over the place and you get the laser Dolby projection, which is the best on the market right now – the colors just pop right off the screen.”

The recliners provide the comfort inside the theater and the private rows are designed to help eliminate the distractions sometimes caused by modern technology.

“There are a lot of complaints about moviegoing distractions and obviously we want everyone to keep their cellphone in their pockets at all times,” Noonan said. “A setup like this gives you a more intimate feel, a little more privacy, so, if somebody does take out their phone three or four rows ahead of you, you’re not going to see it, because your focus is on the screen and we’ve got some barriers there.”

There are several reasons, Noonan says, why AMC chose Newport on the Levee for an upgrade, including location, attendance patterns and just making sure it is staying up with the market.

The theaters are also equipped with handicap-friendly recliners, to help ensure all guests can enjoy the experience.

“When a theater opens with recliners, it becomes kind of the star attraction in town,” Noonan said. “We want to make sure that as we are going across the country, we are finding sites that respond well to it and Newport on the Levee clicked off all the things we were looking for.”

Barney Estes, general manager of Newport on the Levee, said the dining, shopping and entertainment destination is thrilled to bring the new state-of-the-art experience to its guests.

“AMC at Newport on the Levee has a long history of providing a quality experience for our movie-going guests, says Estes. “This renovation enhances that experience even more.”

Noonan said AMC didn’t want to just come in and “sand off the rough edges,” of a theater complex that has a few years on it. The plan was to provide a first-rate theater experience that would draw visitors to AMC and Newport on the Levee.

“With this being an entertainment hub, when people are down here to see movies, they want to visit the shops and eat at the restaurants and vice versa,” Noonan said. “Newport on the Levee has been a great partner with AMC and we’re happy to continue to provide movies to the Greater Cincinnati area.”

For showtime information and to purchase tickets, click here.

Contact Mark Hansel at mark.hansel@nkytrib.com

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