We Got A New One: Which Movie Theater Is Best?

We Got A New One: Which Movie Theater Is Best?

Olivia Abeyta, Author

The new Regal in the Santa Fe Place Mall adds another movie theater to Santa Fe, bringing the total to five, including small movie houses such as the Jean Cocteau Cinema and the Center for Contemporary Arts (CCA). All of these theaters have similarities and differences that make them unique. To rank them, let’s look at comfort, concessions, location, and movie choices.

Starring Role: Violet Crown
Violet Crown offers a semi-luxurious vibe to the movie watching experience as the dining is on a par with restaurant food and the theater has leather seats that come with a pull-out table to put your food on! The movie screen itself is a good size, though it may feel slightly smaller than that of Regal 14. Violet Crown’s movie choices range from indie movies to blockbusters, so there is a nice selection to choose from.

While the seats and dining are an upgrade, the parking is not. Because Violet Crown is located in the railyard, one can park either in an outside lot or in an underground space. Finding a parking spot may also be an issue, as the railyard is a popular place. (Located at 1606 Alcaldesa St.)

Lead Actor: Center for Contemporary Arts
The CCA is much more old school. The movies played here are not mainstream; rather they are indie and international films. While there are no reclining chairs and the screens are smaller than an average theater, the CCA has high-quality snacks, a friendly atmosphere, and an art gallery to browse through at no extra cost. Of all the theaters, the CCA has the best popcorn and add-ons to customize your batch, such as cinnamon and cheese powder. The butter is real and is melted there, so you won’t get that overwhelming fake-butter taste you might get at other theaters.

The parking at the CCA is also a lot more accessible and closer to the building. As for service, the people working there genuinely love film and movies, giving a warmer vibe to the place. (Located at 1050 Old Pecos Trail.)

Supporting Actor: Regal at Santa Fe Place Mall
The new Regal in the Santa Fe Place Mall opened Dec. 19. The seating is lux, with reclining chairs and food tables similar to those at Violet Crown. The screens are also a decent size and the mood in the theater reminds me of what a drive-in movie would feel like. In similar fashion to the Regal 14, the movies that play there are blockbusters.

The location is a smart choice too, as the theater is next to the mall’s food court. Concessions are identical to that of the Regal 14. However, more food options similar to Violet Crown will be available in the future. Parking at this theater is easier as the mall has vast space for parking. (Located at 4250 Cerrillos Road.)

Extra: Regal Cinemas Santa Fe 14
Regal 14 is the largest movie theater in the city. The actual movie watching experience is nothing special, but it will do. The seats are comfortable and there are no problems with cleanliness. The movies offered are mostly blockbusters.

Located by a plaza of restaurants, Regal 14 offers a place to eat before or after watching a movie. A recommendation is to eat before the movie, as the concessions at the theater offer mediocre to less-than-ideal options. (It’s a risk eating those nachos.) If you must eat at the theater, then purchase pre-packaged snacks and candies.

In my experience, Regal is like the McDonald’s of movie theaters, just not as cheap. Overall, this theater gets the job done, but that’s about it. (Located at 3474 Zafarano Dr.)

Background Actors: Jean Cocteau and The Screen
The Jean Cocteau has the perfect retro vibe that gives a unique and personal film experience. Similar to the CCA, the Jean Cocteau is local and has delicious concession items. The movie choices can be mainstream, independent, international, and vintage. (Located at 418 Montezuma Ave.)

The Screen is a low-key, simple theater with classic snacks and comfortable atmosphere. International films and animation shorts are the most prominent films that are played. (Located at 1600 St. Michaels Dr., formerly SFUAD/College of Santa Fe.)