Of course, there are multiple factors to be considered when choosing a movie theater. How far is it from home? What are the ticket prices? What are the crowds like in that area? But the one feature that I truly measure a movie theater by are the seats.
Movie theater seats have come a long way in the last twenty years. I remember when they were narrow, half-backed, thinly cushioned, and the row in front of you was only an inch or two lower than yours. Some theaters still have seats like this. I understand why theaters had these seats - the more people you can pack into a theater at a time the more tickets you can sell. But people aren't going to a theater to sit on a little bench like they were attending a Penn State game at Beaver Stadium! I avoid theaters with these old seats at all costs! I'd rather pay more and drive further to sit in a full-backed, plush, recline-able, wide-seated chair that is neatly arranged in stadium seating. After all, thanks in large part to home theater systems where somebody can watch a 3D high-def picture in their favorite recliner, theaters are now tasked with making the experience of watching a movie in a theater a premium one.
The one area I think theaters can still improve the seats in is the armrest. First of all, the armrest needs to be able to come up. When I go to a movie theater with my wife, I walk to be able to have her snuggle up with me, put my arm around her, or hold her hand. An immovable armrest gets in the way of that.
Armrests should also be wider. It bothers me to sit next to someone who takes up the whole armrest. Sometimes the people on both sides of me take both armrests and I'm left hugging myself for the entire movie! Why not create a double armrest so that each patron has an armrest all to themselves on either side of them? This wider armrest could accommodate a double cup holder. Perhaps a fold-up or fold-out tray would be nice as well. This would encourage people to purchase things like nachos and hot dogs. Who wants to hold a tray of nachos on their lap during the movie?
And while we're at it - can I have something to put my feet up on if it's not to much to ask? That way I'll be almost as comfortable as I am at home in my recliner as I watch films on my home theater system.