AMC converting movie theater into a 'dine-in'

Cinema Suites seating in an AMC theater.

Movie chains like the idea of "dinner and a movie," but they want to keep it all in-house.

That's why some theaters serve food and drinks at the seats while the features roll.

These so-called dine-in theaters have fewer seats than conventional theaters, but the theory goes that food and beverage sales more than offset that.

Following Movie Tavern - which opened outside Collegeville in 2011 and has a Flourtown location on the books for 2014 - is AMC Theatres.

The Kansas chain is retooling its AMC Painter's Crossing 9 in the Brandywine Valley into a dine-in theater. AMC's Ryan Noonan tells me that the theater will shut down in mid-March.

At its reopening expected in mid-June, Painter's Crossing will still have nine screens. But six screens will be fitted out as AMC's "Fork and Screens," which allow families as long as all customers under 18 are accompanied by an adult, and three will be "Cinema Suites," which have oversized recliners and are open only to those 21 and over.

And if iPic gets its chance to develop the Boyd Theater on Chestnut Street, Center City will get a dine-in theater of its own.

You may wonder how it all works - you order before the show and get your food during the show. Isn't it intrusive?

It's all done quickly and a bit surreptitiously. In fact, iPic refers to its waiters as "ninjas."