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Let's Be Real: This Movie Theater Playground Is A Terrible Idea

Photograph by Ernesto López Ruiz

I generally consider myself a pretty reasonable person and a low-key mom. You wanna breastfeed, formula feed, attachment parent, or junk food parent? You do you, no judgement from me.

But when it comes to the latest trending parenting topic of a movie theater adding a playground inside its cinema, I just can't help but think one thing...

This is a terrible idea.

And it's not for the reason you may think.

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As many news outlets have reported, the luxury movie theater chain Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas introduced the idea for a brand-new type of cinematic experience with the Cinépolis Junior, a children's theater that comes equipped with a full indoor playground for the kids.

The cinema features ride-on toys, crazy cool climb-through tunnels, and a huge, slightly terrifying slide that extends from the top of the auditorium to the bottom of the stairs. To complete the kid-friendly aspect, the theater will only show children's movies.

All of that adds up to one thing in my mind—complete and utter torture.

They're making a business move to try to attract more families and at first glance, it's not a terrible idea. The movie theater business is declining as more people opt to stay home and stream movies from the comfort of their couches. Add in little kids and well, what parent is going to want to shell out $10 plus per ticket for a movie that 1) their kid isn't going to watch 2) they're not going to get to watch either, because they'll be busy trying to wrangle the kid?

Make the theater so kid-friendly that families don't have to feel bad about disrupting other movie-goers and make the whole place an attraction on its own, so kids will want to come. And as a bonus, kids can get their energy out and maybe, just maybe, the whole family gets to enjoy a movie together.

Brilliant, right? There's only one problem.

The theater's policy clearly states that the kids are only allowed to use the playground before the movie starts to play and for 15 minutes after the movie ends. Although the brand outside of the U.S. also has a 15-minute intermission during which kids can play, the U.S. version hasn't decided if they will allow the same play break just yet.

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All of that adds up to one thing in my mind—complete and utter torture.

The idea that I'm going to have to get to the movie early enough to buy my tickets, get snacks, herd my kids in, find a seat, take them to the play area, get their shoes off, watch them and make sure they stay safe, and then convince them to leave the play area in 10 minutes, and wash their hands afterwards, makes me feel exhausted just thinking about.

Photograph by Ernesto López Ruiz

And how on earth would your kids concentrate during the movie when there is the big, beautiful playground literally right next to them? These are kids we are talking about, so how would I convince a preschooler, who has only been able to slide and run and play for 10 minutes, that it's now time to sit next to the giant slide she can no longer ride on and watch the movie instead?


It sounds like a meltdown waiting to happen to me.

This is definitely one of those things that's a better idea in theory than in execution.

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