Photo: Pexels Cottonbro


As the age of covid-19 social-distancing practices continues to subside and while Netflix, Disney+ and other streaming services lament losses in their rosters of subscribers, a brand-new Mexican cinema group is banking on revamping audiences’ nostalgia for the good old big-screen moviegoing experience.

Cinemas WTC — located, not surprisingly, inside Mexico City’s World Trade Center (WTC) complex, although the initials in this case actually stand for World Theater Concepts — is slated to premiere its first movies on Friday, March 10, with a total of 14 new theaters (five of which are VIP) and an exclusive showing of the Spanish film “13 Exorcismos” (“13 Exorcisms”) a full week ahead of its national release in Mexico.

“13 Exorcisms,” a 2022 Spanish supernatural horror film directed by Jacobo Martínez in his feature debut, will be followed by yet another sneak film premiere five days later, with a one-day-early release of the destined-to-be-a-blockbuster hit “Shazam! Fury of the Gods,” one of the most anticipated titles of the year, on Wednesday, March 15, and the promise of other big film premieres to come in the weeks ahead.

But what really sets the WTC chain apart is its obsession with revitalizing that old big-cinema experience, coupled with the latest image and sound technology, all on the largest screens in all of Mexico.

“Motion pictures were made to be seen in a cinema, not on a tiny cell phone or tablet screen,” said Cinemas WTC president and founding partner Miguel Ángel Dávila during a press conference on Thursday, March 9, to announce the new chain.

“There is no better way to enjoy the magic of movies. However, at some point, many people began to think that with the advent of new technologies, that would no longer be the case. And, of course, with the covid-19 pandemic, many others prematurely announced the death of cinemas.”

But Dávila said that nothing could be further from the truth.

“People want to go out again, and experience movies the way that they were meant to be experienced, on a big screen, with impeccable projection, spectacular sound and comfortable seats, at a place where they are welcomed with a big smile.”

To help recreate the true cinema experience of bygone days, Dávila said that the company spent more than 60 million pesos remodeling the former Cinemex installations in the World Trade Center, switching out cramped cloth seats for spacious leatherette alternatives with comfortable headrests and more reclinable backs, adding acoustic panels to improve sound, installing those signature 10-meter-high screens and, to give the whole affair a retro effect, adding floor-to-ceiling cloth curtains that are lifted when the film is about to start, just like in the movie theaters of old.

The five WTC VIP theaters not only have fully reclining leather seats, but guests are also provided with seat-side food and drink service and a cozy blanket to snuggle up in during the feature presentation. And, just like in the old VIP theaters, guests are offered a complementary chocolate as they leave.

“We have a large wall-to-wall bar in the VIP waiting lounge, and the usual snack bars, but we have kept our menu pretty simple — the standard popcorn, sweets and hotdogs — because we feel it is more important to offer quality than quantity,” he said. “And besides, it is hard to eat sushi when you are in a dark cinema.”

Dávila said that, for now, Cinemas WTC is limited to the 2,000 seats of the 14 theaters within the World Trade Center, but he said that in the future the company is looking to expand to more locations.

Tickets, by the way, run about 15 percent cheaper than those of the other two big theater groups in Mexico — 99 pesos for regular seats, 199 pesos for VIP seats — and the company offers a 25 percent discount on parking within the World Trade Center.

All seats, including non-VIP seating, are assigned at the time of purchase, so there are no worries about where you will end up sitting once you are inside.

Tickets can be purchased at the door, through the Cinemas WTC webpage or through an app.

The theaters are located on the third floor of Mexico City’s World Trade Center, at Montecito 38 in Colonia Nápoles.

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