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The Future of Movies (If You Can Afford It)

By Rob Christopher in Arts & Entertainment on Nov 20, 2007 2:59PM

Two stories have us thinking about the continuing evolution of the cinematic experience and the differences between going to see a movie and just watching one. First off, "boutique" theater chain Muvico has signed a letter of intent to occupy two floors of the Block 37 development. The proposed multiplex would have only seven screens, much smaller than the AMC RIver East 21 for example. But (to quote Seinfeld) they'd be draped in velvet, so to speak, with luxurious amenties like V.I.P. seating (free popcorn and extra-wide seats), top-shelf liquor and upscale dining choices such as "skewered filet mignon sliders and truffle-grilled flatbread sandwiches." Would we be willing to pay a ticket price of $15? Depends on the movie, of course. There Will Be Blood: yup. Fred Claus: nope.

2007_11vudu.jpg Meanwhile, the long-awaited gadget known as VUDU is now available. A set-top box that looks similar to an oversized Apple TV, it plugs directly into your television and delivers streaming movies that play without stuttering at near-DVD quality. That's if your net connection is fast enough, and of course if you shell out $399 for the box. You can either rent movies or buy them as permamanent downloads. CNET gives VUDU very high marks and user feedback has been pretty positive too. Have any Chicagoist readers taken the plunge and signed up already? If so, we'd like to hear from you. While we're not ready to give up GreenCine just yet, the promise of being able to choose a movie from among tens of thousands and then watch it instantly is, well, freakin' amazing. VUDU is available to buy online and at several Tweeter stores around Chicago. And thus we really hope that Santa is reading this.