The Carmike is much older and is starting to show its age. It's in one of those shopping plazas that has a lot of empty stores. It's hardly ever crowded.
The Grand is much larger, newer, and popular. They just now opened their new iMax. The seats recline. Their lobby is gigantic.
Would you like to guess which theater I frequent? You know I'm going to say: the Carmike. The Grand is very attractive, but when it comes down to what really matters, the Carmike is just the better deal. Here's why.
- Carmike's tickets are usually $2 cheaper than The Grand's.
- All of Carmike's movies are digitally projected. Almost every movie I've seen at the Grand used the traditional projectors. Some say movies are supposed to be shown the traditional way, so you can see the black spots, hear the cracks, and experience color mismatch when they switch the reels. I just like digital better for the consistent and brighter viewing experience.
- The reclining chairs at the Grand hurt my lower back. They just don't give support. Reclining chairs sound like a nice idea, but would be better if they came with some kind of locking mechanism to give support to us lumbago sufferers.
- Carmike is less crowded. You can show up at a premium showing of a movie and most of the time it won't be sold out.
- Carmike accepts Fandago, but The Grand doesn't. (Sometimes Fandago offers some good deals.)
- Carmike offers some pretty good discounts on their refreshments as well. (Though I usually skip those.)
- The Grand is indeed more attractive, with the large lobby, and neon lights, and all. However, I usually do my movie viewing in the theater, and not in the lobby. Carmike is decent, and is kept just as clean. Together with the other points listed above, I just think the Carmike is the better theater for me.