Now playing: reclining seats

Audiences can now enjoy reclining seats in two of the auditoriums at GTI Theatre in Cambridge. Plans are in the works to add reclining seats to a third auditorium.

For many people, one of the great joys of life is sitting in a darkened movie theater, reveling in the animated magic of the latest Pixar feature, crying through a romantic comedy, or engaging in a collective scream with their fellow horror-film-loving neighbors while trying to avoid spilling a giant tub of buttered popcorn all over the slanted floor.

At Cambridge’s GTI Theatre, engaging in those movie-watching experiences will become even more enjoyable as two of its five theaters underwent remodeling with the addition of reclining seats. The two upgraded theaters opened Dec. 16, according to owner JoAnn Sprino.

Reclining seats have been a popular addition to movie theaters since around 2011 when, according to the New York Times, recliners were installed at several units within the AMC Theater chain. 

Plans to install the recliners in the GTI Theatre were in place prior to the onslaught of the pandemic, Sprino said.

Of the new seating, Sprino said the feedback “seems very positive.” She added that auditorium #5 will undergo changes soon.

“We have to shut down (that auditorium) for a month,” Sprino said. “Once we get the product (recliners) in, it takes about a week to put them in. But we have to cut the concrete, repour the concrete and paint it. That’s why it takes a month.”

Some customers have expessed concerns that prices will increase, but Sprino said, that is something that is not on the horizon.

“We can keep our prices where they are if people come and buy concessions,” she said.  “If we can get the business back to pre-Covid numbers, we shouldn’t have to raise prices.”

Sprino is optimistic that the new seats will improve business. Her father started the GTI Theatre in 1978, and it’s very important to the family that the theater remains viable. 

“This is our family legacy,” she said. “We don’t want it to end.” 

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