Gail Bennison Special to the Business Press
With a blockbuster business collaboration this spring, three entrepreneurs plan to shake up the North Texas movie-going experience, putting the focus on customer experience. LOOK Cinemas, a state-of-the-art, 11-screen, 1,900-seat stadium theater complex opened its doors in Dallas on March 29. The trendy dining and entertainment mix facility, located at Prestonwood Creek, at Prestonwood Road and Beltline Road, is the inaugural project of LOOK Cinemas LLC, a company founded by notable theater industry veteran Tom Stephenson and investor/entrepreneur Brian Mason. For the theater’s unique dining experience, Stephenson and Mason partnered with well-known restaurateur Joseph Palladino. The goal of LOOK is to offer the single best combination of the movie and dining experiences, says Stephenson, who also founded Dallas-based Rave Motion Pictures. Stephenson served as Rave’s president and CEO for 10 years. Under his leadership, Rave became the fourth largest theater circuit in the country. Brian Mason is an accomplished investor and entrepreneur. He has founded and built multiple companies across several different industries, including packaging manufacturer, Great Western Industries (now Multi Packaging Solutions), global digital media provider, The LTC Group, and American Graphics, a mid-western advertising service firm. Mason currently serves as chairman of the board of Preston State Bank in Dallas. The dining experience component is represented by Palladino, co-owner of Nick & Sam’s Steakhouse and creator of Dallas Uptown’s concepts, Nick & Sam’s Grill and Coal Vines Pizza & Wine Bar. “As a consumer, Dallas has always asked me to choose between a great theater experience or a great dining experience, Stephenson said. “Like most Dallas consumers, I never liked being forced to choose.” The LOOK Cinemas team has pulled together a wide-ranging cuisine – signature cocktails to a nacho and sushi bar. The new theater is the centerpiece of a complex that also features Palladino’s Nick & Sam’s Grill restaurant and, soon, Coal Vines Pizza and Wine Bar. LOOK patrons have the option to dine in the Nick & Sam’s restaurant or in one of the three dine-in screens. The menu features several tasty bistro favorites in addition to gourmet comfort food. Coal Vines, which has been a successful and popular dining spot in the Dallas Uptown and Legacy areas, will be just steps away from the Cinema facility. “I’m incredibly excited to take one of my signature concepts to a wonderful new location in Dallas and create a one-stop entertainment and dining destination with unique appeal to both adults and families,” Palladino said. The other aspect of a visit to a theater – the movie-going experience has been enhanced by comfortable, oversized power-reclining chairs, enormous silver screens and Dolby Atmos sound. The Lofts, another unique piece of the LOOK and dine concept, have three sophisticated theaters with stadium riser seats paired with tables on either side. This experience is enhanced by a lobby bar serving beer, wine and handcrafted cocktails, plus lighter fare including sushi rolls, handmade nachos and other freshly prepared small plates. The Lofts are designated for moviegoers ages 21 and over, unless accompanied by an adult after 6 p.m. In addition to multiple dining and theater options, LOOK Cinemas offers the classic movie-going experience in one of three General Admission theaters featuring the latest enhanced digital cinema projection and pure digital audio. MovieTickets.com has signed on to provide advance ticketing to LOOK Cinemas. Online and mobile ticketing with LOOK will begin in time for the 2013 summer blockbuster season, kicking off with the May 3 release of Iron Man 3. On its initial night open to the public, LOOK Cinemas rolled out the red carpet for North Texas’ military heroes for a special charity screening of Paramount Pictures’ G.I. Joe: Retaliation. All proceeds from the event benefited the Fort Hood Warrior Transition Brigade. American Airlines served as the presenting sponsor. “We are actively pursuing sites in the D-FW Metroplex,” says Stephenson, regarding future plans to expand to other counties in North Texas.