By Jan Norris

Boca Raton’s mayor and her staff got a leg up on movie-goers at the new iPic theater slated to open this summer in Mizner Park.

Hamid Hashemi presented Susan Whelchel and a few council members with their own monogrammed pillows and blankets — to be used in the new electric leather recliners that will serve as seating in the luxe-premium areas of the upscale theater.

At an outdoor press con-ference in Mizner Park’s green space last month, Hashemi, CEO of iPic Entertainment, unveiled design plans and details of the new theater he dubs “the future of cinema.”

“Think of it as a better version of the W Hotel,” he said. Top hotel designers were hired to design the interior of the 43,000-square-foot two-story space that replaces the old Sunrise Theater, vacant for a year in the shopping park.

IPics — there are eight others in the Southwest and Northwest U.S. — aim to take movie-going to a new level, with eight intimate 40- to 80-seat auditoriums featuring large leather chairs with tables for food and, at the Premium-Plus level, food and beverage service and plush pillows and blankets for comfort.

“You won’t want to watch a dull movie here, or you’ll be asleep in no time,” he said.

That comfort comes at a price — tickets to the movies will average more than $20 — but include a free box of popcorn at the Premium-Plus level. Free membership in the theater includes similar perks, including online ticket purchasing and advance release notes. Registration is already open at ipictheaters.com.

Tanzy, a 7,000-square-foot, 250-seat restaurant will be the dining venue at the theater, but will open to the public as well. The independently run restaurant with full bar will front Federal Highway, where a vivid sign and seating will attract visitors to Mizner Park and the theater, Hashemi said. 

An express counter for ordering premade foods to take into the theater will be accessible inside. Diners can expect flatbreads, salads, sliders and similar fare, he said. Further details of menus, chefs and interiors will be announced at a later date.

Other innovations have to do with technology, he said. Movie buffs will be able to interact in real time with directors or producers brought in for Q&A sessions in the California iPic and shown on a video feed. 

The theater is slated to open sometime in May or June. It competes with one of Hashemi’s first upscale movie palaces — now known as Cinemark Palace 20 — formerly Muvico Palace, less than 4 miles away. 

He opened that theater in 2000, with a premiere level for adults only. The new iPic will be open to all ages.

Hashemi will also be in charge of first-run and other movies to be shown under the stars at the Mizner Park Amphitheater. Whelchel said during the news conference.

More details about those showings, prices and schedules will be released at a later time, Hashemi said. “We’re still working out some of those details.”                                      Ú

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