There are several theaters close to campus and all have their pros and cons. Instead of ranking theaters from best to worst, I am going to evaluate each theater on a five-point scale for the following criteria: cleanliness, affordability, viewer experience, popularity, proximity to campus and options. On the following scale, a higher proximity score means that a theater is closer to campus, and “options” will refer to the amount of movies playing and the amount of showing times available.
Willow Knolls- Peoria, IL
Proximity to campus:4/5
Managed by Bradley film-appreciation professor Steve Warner, Willow Knolls is fairly affordable for students with evening tickets costing only $7.25. The concession menu is somewhat limited and overpriced, but what movie theater food isn’t expensive? Willow Knolls has, by far, the most playing times any day of the week, and you can always find a decent seat. Only 11 minutes from campus, Willow Knolls is the most convenient theater in the Peoria area.
New Vision Showplace Pekin 14- Pekin, IL
Proximity to campus:2/5
The Pekin movie theater has always been my favorite. Even during premieres this theater is hardly busy, meaning that my friends and I can give loud commentary during the movie and text to our hearts’ content. The only inconvenience about New Vision Pekin is that it’s a 17 minute drive from campus. For me, the great seats and immersive experience Pekin offers is well worth it, but it certainly isn’t for everyone.
Landmark- Peoria, IL
Proximity to campus:5/5
Landmark is by far the cheapest theater in Peoria, with tickets costing only $5.50 for students. However, the quality of experience you receive is definitely proportional to the cost. The seats in Landmark are ancient and uncomfortable, and I don’t think any of the upholstery has been changed since the 70s. If you just want to see a movie just to see it, Landmark is your most cost-effective option. However, if you go to the movies for the experience, keep reading.
AMC Grand Prairie- Peoria, IL
Proximity to campus:3/5
AMC Grand Prairie offers the best movie experience by far and is the only real movie theater in Peoria that has IMAX options. That being said, if you want to see movies at AMC regularly, you’re probably going to have to sell your kidneys on the black market. One trip to AMC can easily come out to over $40 after concessions, a luxury most of us college students can’t afford.