OK, it’s not really “madness,” and come to think of it it’s not technically “Atlanta” either. It seems that anywhere within a one hundred mile radius around the city of Atlanta is considered Atlanta, much as New York City has the five boroughs around Manhattan.
NYC is “the city that never sleeps”, but here in ATL, we do sleep. Well, at least some of us anyway.
For others, around 12am you can’t sleep and are looking for something to do other than hang out at the sports bar; then you realize your local movie theater is showing movies at midnight. In this case, your local theater being: Regal Cinemas Mall of Georgia. Fortunately for me, I live only 15 minutes away.
According to Wikipedia, the midnight movie phenomenon can be traced back to the seventies, perhaps specifically to showing of the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” in 1977. But for the purposes of our story, the midnight showing of movies at the Mall of Georgia began in 2000 with the completion of the Regal Cinemas of which it is a part. Today, it still seems like a well-guarded secret. If you search online, or talk to people, chances are you may not find any information about movies being shown at midnight. Unless you happen to be searching on a Friday or Saturday listing, you will only see show times that go up to 10 or 11pm. when you do search on a Friday or Saturday, you will find one move being shown at 12am or 12:15am. The movie that is being shown will change every week. Right now you can see some really cool movies that just came out. If you go this week, you’ll be able to pick from: “The Warrior’s Way,” “Burlesque,” or “Faster.” But later in the month, you can also enjoy the remake of “Tron,” “The Chronicles of Narnia,” or even “The Tourist.”
What’s nice about the secrecy is that it feels like an exclusive membership. There is the added benefit that being so late, you will find mostly adults, and thus a more controlled (meaning respectable) environment. There is something to be said for sneaking out so late in the dead of night and finding yourself situated in a magnificent theater which is well-known for its stadium seating appointment, huge screen (IMAX available) and high quality surround-sound. The place will not be packed, so parking is ample for both your car, and your self!
Many people drive from the depths of Atlanta to catch a movie here, they don’t mind the hour drive.
For me, a few minutes is a no-brainer. It’s really quite easy to find, in fact you can’t miss it. Once your on Buford Highway, simply make a left when you see the mall. It is touted as being the largest mall in Georgia, which is why I say you can’t miss it. As you enter the parking lot, the Regal Cinema sign faces you in all it’s glittering, retro charm which conjures images such as The Majestic. As you purchase your ticket you will find that no matter what hour, the staff is always courteous and helpful. The space is well defined and luxurious; in fact, it still looks brand new. They host 20 different movies any particular night and none of them repeat, meaning each of the 20 spaces within features a different movie. As mentioned above, the midnight movie will only be one and it may or may not be an IMAX. The seats are very comfortable and clean, and prices are what you can expect these days.
The overall experience is so overwhelmingly positive no matter when you visit, that it’s a wonder more people haven’t caught on to this. Perhaps the only “madness” here is that the midnight movie experience is not promoted more often. I guess that just means more space (and popcorn) for you and me to have the ultimate cinema experience.