Metro theaters introducing big changes, new tech to make movie-going better

LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. -- The Edwards family made their yearly group trip to the movie theater Friday night to see one of the year's biggest releases. But each time the family makes the trip to the theater, they're noticing bigger and bigger changes.

"Well, it`s gotten more expensive, but other than that there`s just way more amenities, way more stuff to do before the movie," Brandon Edwards said.

"We haven`t seen anything on the Grand Screen yet, which is what we are doing today, but we`ve seen the 4-D one, so adding things like that makes it more exciting and more fun," Laura Edwards said.

Brock Bagby, the executive vice president of B&B Theatres, said an evolution has taken over the movie industry and has forced theaters to become innovative with the experiences they offer to movie-goers.

"People were saying, 'I have a recliner at home,' so how do we bring that? And with the recliner revolution, it's bringing that and now you can't get a 60-foot screen at home. You can`t get these giant, electric recliners. So we`re really elevating that experience. Part of that is Netflix, but I think part of that is the evolution of cinema," Bagby said.

Liberty, Missouri, will be the next town to see this evolution first-hand when a brand new B&B Theatre location opens its doors later this summer.

"It`s going to have 12 screens, all leather electric recliner chairs. We`re going to have two large-format Grand Screens, the biggest ones we've ever built. They'll be 7 stories wide and 4 stories tall," Bagby said. "Inside one of the Grand Screens, we`ll have ScreenX, which is a 270-degree immersive experience where you've got screens on your left, right, and in front of you. It'll be the largest ScreenX in the entire world."

It's a shift Cynthia Drake said has made her decision to leave her couch for the movie theater much easier.

"I think that`s definitely driven this concept to up here because we can just sit at home, in bed, and watch anything we want so they definitely had to do something to keep us coming to the theater," Drake said.

And a change the Edwards family, and others, are embracing.

"We don`t do it very often, but I think it`s a lot more fun now and a lot more of a family experience then it was when I was younger," Brandon said.