Enter The Swankoplex
(FORTUNE Magazine) – Imagine sipping a martini, arranging day care, and reserving a taxi or airline flight--all while waiting to enter the 9 P.M. screening of Shrek. That's the idea behind the Bridge: Cinema De Lux (310-568-3375, www.thebridgecinema.com), the latest stage in the evolution of the multiplex. CineBridge Ventures just launched its 17-screen "new-style entertainment concept" in West Los Angeles, with others to follow elsewhere in the U.S.
"We're trying to make everybody feel there's more to the experience than walking into the theater, seeing a movie, and then leaving," explains CEO Shari E. Redstone--who is, yes, the daughter of Viacom honcho Sumner. (CineBridge reps insist the chain will remain independent of and unrelated to Viacom, even though Shari Redstone sits on Viacom's board.)
To encourage lingering, the Bridge offers concierge service, a cocktail lounge, and a restaurant, as well as live prefilm shows. W Hotel designer Dayna Lee did the curved lobby in sueded chartreuse, orange, and olive fabrics, lined the softly lit spillways with black terrazzo tiles and alcove seating, and dangled lamps from the swanky bar's 60-foot ceiling.
The Bridge's toll runs at a slightly stiff $10.50 for a Saturday night show. Or for a few dollars more, opt for the ne plus ultra Director's Hall and sink into a preassigned 25-inch-wide leatherette seat. Then, even if you're not flying anywhere, you can still lord it over the poor fools in coach.