The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 1, 1998 · Page 28
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 28

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Salina, Kansas
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Wednesday, April 1, 1998
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2 WEDNESDAY, APRIL 1, 1998 APPLAUSE THE SALINA JOURNAL Movie Snacks: New Wave of Theater Concessions Features More Gourmet Bites > John Horn AP Entertainment Writer : "LAS VEGAS (AP) — They can account for almost 50 percent of a theater's profits and about 90 percent of a moviegoer's heartburn: Movie house concessions are often an indigestible combination of popcorn, soda and Raisinettes. Yet a new crop of theater snacks is zooming in on good taste, and concession stands will soon offer gourmet coffees, fresh-baked pretzels, made-to- order pizzas and high-end chocolates. General Cinema, one of the nation's biggest theater chains, next week will open a new 18- screen facility in Yorktown, 111., serving light entrees, champagne and wine. The new Pacific Theatres multiplex in the Los Angeles suburb of Chatsworth sells Pink's hot dogs, considered a. delicacy by many L.A. diners. A movie house makes 45 to 55 percent of its income from concession stand sales. While upscale snacks have been offered for years in some cinemas in major cities, the rest of the nation's theaters are only slowly beginning to follow suit. "Moviegoers are looking for quality products at a good price," says Joe Arancio of Denver's Pretzelmaker. "Popcorn and candy — that's the end of it. There are no fresh items." Arancio's gourmet pretzels cost theater owners about 12 cents and sell for $2.25. At this month's National Association of Theater Owners convention here, the best- known concessions claimed the most square footage on the exhibition floor. But tucked between Pepsi-Cola, Morrison Farms Popcorn, Nestle and American Licorice were several smaller food companies serving up new concepts in movie theater munchies. One of the more popular stops on the convention floor was Wetzel's Pretzels, a Pasadena, Calif., outfit that has started selling its all-natural, hand- rolled pretzels in five cinemas. The company was attending the theater owners' convention for the first time showing off such flavors as "Almond Crunch," "Sinful Cinnamon" and "Three Cheese." "It's part of the whole health food trend," says Rick Wetzel, whose pretzels are baked and then shipped frozen. "It's low- fat. So if someone is looking for something low-fat, they're not going to buy popcorn or candy. They might buy a diet soda — and that's it." Welzel said 14 different chains expressed interest in his snack at the convention. Since coffee orders have become as complicated as the tax code — what exactly is a grande decaf low foam latte with an extra shot? — Acorto has designed an espresso machine anyone can operate. Acorto's 2000J machine, which makes 30 different espresso-based beverages, even has little pictures of what each coffee drink looks like. The concession clerk simply pushes the right button and within 30 seconds out comes a cappuccino. For each order, the machine grinds its Seattle's Best Coffee beans, steams and froths the milk, dumps the grounds and cleans itself if left idle for half a minute. "More and more people are becoming espresso conscious so the demand is there," says Rita Roettele, a sales manager for Acorto, of Bellevue, Wash. "Theater owners see so many people walking in the doors with Star- bucks cups and they want a little bit of that business." The Acorto line has been creeping into theaters over the past three years. "It was a slow start, but now it's picking up pace," Roettele says. The profit margins, while not as good as popcorn and soda, are still favorable. One espresso costs about 32 cents to produce and sells for a suggested $3. The Eisenberg Gourmet Beef Hot Dog is designed to taste better than any tube steak you can buy in a grocery store. "A unique blend of fresh seasonings, spices and a secret family smoking process," the hot dogs contain no phosphates, fillers or MSG and are not sold in any markets, the Eisenberg Sausage Co. of Chicago says. "It's a product developed out of customer awareness of what it is they're really eating with most hot dogs," Eisenberg's Ed Weinshenker says. "The average hot dog can be a mixed bag of almost anything. You have to be a microbiologist to read a food label these days. "We want to bring the consumer back to the concession stand — they can't buy this hot Superman Forever - or at Least Until the Next Makeover dog in any stores," Weinshenker says. The Gourmet Beef Hot Dog is sold by 14 theater chains in all 50 states. For audiences tired of standard candy, Godiva Chocolatier has begun marketing its gourmet bars, including dark chocolate with raspberry and milk chocolate with honey- roasted almond. The bars (and plain and hazelnut-flavored coffees) are peddled in carved cherry wood Cafe Godiva displays made to resemble the entrance to the upscale candy boutiques. "We don't want to interfere with popcorn and soda sellers. We want to fill our own niche," says Ben Weiss, whose Brewed Awakenings of New York is selling the Godiva line to theater owners for the first time. "The image of Godiva is what sells. Clearly, our niche is the higher end. We like to think we have a higher quality product." Many of today's movies are so long you almost need a meal to make it through the show. Pizzas of Eight thinks it has the right light repast. Also new to the convention, the St. Louis company sells ovens and equipment so moviegoers can order individual piz- zas. "Movie theaters in general make most of their money on concessions and their patrons are looking for something a little bit more advanced than a hot dog," says Pizzas of Eight's Abe Smith. He says it takes less than three minutes for a concession worker to assemble a pizza and less than seven minutes to bake it. Pizzas of Eight are now installed in convenience stores, roller rinks and bowling alleys. "Movie theaters," Smith says, "are a natural extension." Advantage N N REALTOR 415 E. lr.ni • B25-5200 • (BOO) 8Z5-O2CH9 KMrh a£J1r» InJrpmitrHlly OH'nrtl Itttii ffrmlrj Andrew Smith • -Scripps Howard News Service ' Look! Up in the air! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's... by golly, it IS Superman! ' Yes, the familiar Man of Steel of comics, TV, movies, stage and radio fame is returning in April in a special "Superman Forever" title from DC Comics ($4.95). For those of you who have been vacationing on Krypton, the Man of Tomorrow hasn't been quite himself lately. Last year he was turned into an "electric" version, and a few months ago he was split literally in two. Whereas you'd think being his own identical twin would make life-easier for our harried hero — at least Lois Lane should see some possibilities — "Superman Red" and "Superman Blue" have had a rough time of it. Lois, for example, wouldn't have had anything to do with either one of them, fearing that it would constitute some form of superheroic adultery. But "Superman Forever" will change all that, as the Action Ace dons his original red-and-blue togs, regains his familiar powers and returns to the never-ending battle. He also ought to be a little less tense. Captain Comics is most pleased — after all, the concept of a sexually frustrated alien with Xray vision is an unsettling one. Plus, as much as the Captain has enjoyed watching the Metropolis Marvel cope with his bizarro transformation, he was beginning to tire of the Reddy Kilowatt version. Further, it's an appropriate tribute to the 60th anniversary of Superman's first appearance in "Action Comics" 1 in 1938. (Funny, he doesn't look a day over 29. Maybe that's one of his original superpowers too!) DC is going all out in April to celebrate Big Blue's return to the classic look. "Superman: The Man of Steel" 80 ($1.95) starts a three- part storyline that features the "Golden Age" version of the character, who can only leap an eighth of a mile and is a lot less "super." "Adventures of Superman" 558 continues the retro look with a "Silver Age" Superman from the '60s, and "Action Comics" 745 examines the '70s version of the character, complete with bell bottoms, disco and other frightening manifestations of that tasteless decade (both are $1.95). You can also peruse "Superman Villains Secret Files" 1 ($4.95) for the lowdown on the lowlifes of Metropolis, wear a "Superman: America" patriotic T-shirt ($15.95), or attach a to-do list to your refrigerator with the $7.45 Superman die-cut magnet ("Note to self: Take Krypto for walkies.") And for you cyberheads, an animated GIF-format version of the lenticular cover image from "Superman Forever" is making the rounds of comics-related Web sites. It shows Clark Kent changing into the Big Red S and taking off into the Metropolitan sky, with a link to DC's official site (www.dccomics.com) at the bottom. It can be viewed at" S c o 11 McCullar's Unofficial Green Arrow Web Site" (http://mem- bers.aol.com/scottroxie/index.ht ml), and if you ask nicely Scott will send you a copy to post on your own Web site. Yes, the future is now, boys and girls. Elsewhere in April: — ITEM! It may be "Superman" month, but the Hal Jordan Green Lantern is posting serious competition. This version of the Emerald Gladiator, who was GL from 1959 to 1994, is represented by a $195 statue, a $59.95 power ring and a $6.95 poster. Pretty impressive for a dead guy. — ITEM! Over at Marvel, Spider-Man is still coping with his "Identity Crisis," wherein the web- slinger is posing as four different superheroes, since his Spidey identity is wanted by the law. Captain Comics is singularly impressed with how Marvel manages to work an image of the Amazing Arachnid onto the covers of all four of his monthly titles, despite the fact that Peter Parker never dons the familiar webbed tights anywhere inside. Truly, grasshopper, marketing is an amazing thing. — ITEM! "X-Files" fans may take note of "Batman: The Abduction," wherein the Darknight Detective may or may not have been snatched by aliens. He's always been a pretty strange guy, so maybe this will explain a few things. — ITEM! The tribute bug has bitten more than a few companies this month. "Altered Image: The Day Reality Went Wild!" 1 (of 3) combines Spawn, Witchblade, Savage Dragon and a bunch of other Image characters who've never met in a "Sliders" kind of alternate universe. The cover is an homage to "Justice League of America" 5 (1961), which should warm the hearts of ancient geezers like the Captain. Plus, the "Goat: H.A.E.D.U.S. Special Event" from Acclaim Comics features the Heavily Armored Espi- Meet the Deedles? Don't Bother Robert Denerstein Scripps Howard News Service Thanks to movies such as "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure," "Wayne's World" and just about anything from Jim Carrey, dopey comedies are alive and kicking. There are so many, in fact, that it's possible to distinguish between good idiotic comedies and those that don't make the dumb-and-dumber cut. Put "Meet the Deedles" squarely in the latter category. This one seems to have been written by Bill and Ted, which proves that it takes some smarts to write dumb jokes. Maybe we're over thinking. Let's simplify: "Meet The Deedles" is crude and laughless and probably won't even tickle the funny bones of its target audience, teens who are being chased from America's malls. The movie stars Steve Van Wormer and Paul Walker. They play the Deedles, fraternal twins from Hawaii whose father sends them to summer camp in Wyoming. When the camp thing doesn't work out, these misplaced surfer dudes are detoured into posing as recruits for the park service. They're supposed to rid the park of prairie dogs in preparation for a big celebration, the billionth birthday of Old Faithful. Van Wormer and Walker probably won't be turning up at next year's Oscars, the category of cheeseball comedies having yet to make its way into an already interminable lineup. It would be easy to say no one should Meet the Deedles, but it's too cheap for a high-class fellow like me. I'll just let the grade on review speak for itself—F. Stepping forward to become Salina's leader in personal insurance. H Taiii;u a LOIII* 217 S, Santa Fe Downtown Salina 1NSUROR8 825-0286 inauranca Get the whole story... not just a two second headline. Journal for complete coverage of news, weather, and sports. Call (785) 823-6363 or 1-800-827-6363 to subscribe today to the Salina Journal onage Deadly Uber-Sheep — who is actually a goat — in a parody cover of The Beatles's "Abbey Road" album. — ITEM! You might as well pick up the "Goat Inaction Figure" from Acclaim also. As you'd expect, he doesn't do anything at all. No, really. (Captain Comics, who writes this column for Scripps Howard News Service and whose editors frequently refer to him as an inaction figure, can be reached at cap- ncomics(AT)aol.com) BERN I MA" EM 008 j£ Outstanding Swiss Quality and very Sewing & Vacuum Easy tO US6 Center 340 S. Broadway 825-0451 :30 Sat. 9-5:00 ' Suggested Retail »1099" No Trade-ins Please BUFFALO MEAT Try our 6oz. or Bex. Chopped Buffalo Steak "// Does Your Heart Good!" Oz 2775-G Arnold Ave. (2 blocks N. of Schilling on Arnold) (785)823-7474 Salina ' KS 800-435-6328

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