Twelve years ago, husband and wife team Mark and Katie Stern had a dream. They wanted to reinvent the movie experience. “A boutique theater,” Mark calls it. And Seattle’s Big Picture was born. Mark and Katie must be doing it right. In the March 4, 2011 issue of Entertainment Weekly, Big Picture was named as one of the eight best theaters in the country, in an article tited “Make Better Movie Theaters (Like These)”. Now there are two Big Picture theaters. The second is celebrating its sixth year of operation this month in the Redmond Town Center.

Located in the Belltown area, at 1st and Wall (underneath El Gaucho’s steakhouse), the Seattle theater has a hotel lobby feel, “like Casablanca,” says Mark, with cozy couches, quiet corners, and soft lighting. It’s an over-21 crowd, simply because there is a full-service bar for movie-goers. The Redmond location is a bit more modern, with animal prints and red walls. Arrive at the theater early and enjoy an after dinner cocktail. Order another to be delivered to you during the show. Popcorn is gourmet, with white cheddar sprinkles, and served in champagne buckets.

At $11 a ticket, it’s more reasonable than you’d think. And Monday and Tuesday showings are $7. For seating at just under 100, all the seats have foot rockers, so you can put your feet up, just like your favorite recliner at home. And with large, digital screens, you’re not missing anything in movie viewing quality. Mark, a third-generation theater owner, knows what movie-goers want. The movies are first run, with different shows going at the Seattle and Redmond locations.

Thinking of a big birthday celebration? The theater rents space for private events. They’ve even had weddings in their theaters. “To do it better, rather than bigger, make it smaller,” Mark suggests. “And I think we do it right.”


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