Movies and More in Prince William

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In recent years, with the onset of streaming services like Netflix and the increasing cost of going to see a movie in a movie theater, some people may think twice about paying to see movies on the big screen. But while experiencing some movies in your PJs on the couch can be a great option, theaters are a part of American culture and are definitely here to stay. There’s nothing quite like seeing your favorite actor looking 10 feet tall and slaying a dragon while sounds engulf you from all sides.

Lucky for us, there is no shortage of theaters in Prince William, and you can catch not only newly released movies, but also see timeless classics.

Destination: Movie Theater

There are numerous theater destinations to frequent in Prince William — AMC Potomac Mills 18 located in the Potomac Mills Mall in Woodbridge, the Alamo Drafthouse Theater also located in Woodbridge and the Regal Manassas & IMAX on Bulloch Dr., Manassas. There is also the Medal of Honor Theater located at the National Museum of the Marine Corps.

Today, movie theaters are offering reclining plush seats, unparalleled picture quality and sound, and most are now offering bar options and full food menus. Gone are the days where you pass away a few hours on a rainy afternoon at the theater. Prince William theaters offer their patrons an evening out and an experience worth paying for!

AMC Potomac Mills, Regal Manassas and Alamo Drafthouse Movie Theater

These chains have moved with the times and offer a range of upgrades to the movie experience — from reserved seating for reclining chairs in a stadium-like setting, to your choice of sound, Dolby and IMAX, or a 3D experience. AMC Potomac Mills also offers adult beverages at MacGuffins bar as well as an improved food menu that includes stone-fired flatbread pizzas, loaded hotdogs and a gluten-free menu. The Alamo Drafthouse Movie Theater offers newly released movies as well as seasonal classics while also serving food and drinks directly to your seat, a perk many people are willing to pay for.

The introduction of rewards programs such as AMC Stubs and Regal Crown Club and subscription services like AMC Stubs A List and Regal Unlimited, where you can watch up to three movies a week for a monthly fee, have kept movie goers coming back for more.

Medal of Honor Theater

“The Medal of Honor Theater in the National Museum of the Marine Corps is a … state-of-the-art, giant screen theater with 369 seats and is equipped with a 4K laser projector that provides audiences with ultra-realistic images,” said Jennifer M. Vanderveld, Vice President of Development and Marketing at the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation.

According to the opening press release in July 2017, “the theater, sponsored by Lockheed Martin, presents ultra-realistic images, awe-inspiring visuals and enveloping audio by High Performance Stereo, and will transport visitors into the middle of the action and the edge of their seats.”

The museum is open to the public, and ticket prices for the films shown are reasonable for all types of visitors. The theater is currently airing a signature film, We, The Marines, a “giant screen adventure that immerses audiences in the unparalleled experience of becoming and serving as a member of the U.S.
Marine Corps. Narrated by Academy Award®-winning actor and Marine, Gene Hackman, the film follows the journey of Marines from boot camp to training, deployment and finally homecoming.” The movie runs every hour on the hour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for 38 minutes.

The movie theater also offers an addition to the movie experience by offering a simulated rifle range experience that can be combined with a movie ticket for the ultimate military experience for ages 5 and up. The museum is open 364 days a year from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed only on Christmas Day.

Looking for a Different Type of Viewing Experience?

 

Hylton Planetarium, destinations 0220

Why not try the Irene V. Hilton Planetarium at Hylton High School on Spriggs Road in Woodbridge? The planetarium opened in 1991 and is used by Prince William schools to enhance students’ interest in astronomy. “It matches up to the specific astronomy threads across the entire K-12 curriculum, so if third grade students are learning about Earth, moon, sun relationships or fourth graders are learning about planets, the planetarium has a show for that,” said Anthony Kilgore, planetarium Director.

Whether it’s for a birthday party, an anniversary, a scout troop get-together or just a fun evening out, the planetarium offers both entertainment and education all wrapped into one throughout the year.

Kilgore spoke about the changes that have taken place since 2013. “Lots of amazing things are happening at the planetarium! We expanded to offering one Saturday of public shows each month. Usually the last Saturday each month and we call it our ‘Science Saturday’ series,” Kilgore said.

The Galaxy Gift Shop has also been added where you can purchase astronaut ice cream or a celestial buddy planet plushie, as well as a host of other cool things before or after the shows. “And how could I forget, we now sell advance tickets online on our website, HyltonPlanetarium.com. Folks can go on there and purchase the tickets for any night for the specific show they want to see and then come to the planetarium and check in at the box office will-call style,” said Kilgore.

The planetarium is closing for a major renovation on March 9, 2020. “We are upgrading everything! Putting in a new 4k laser projection system, all new seamless dome, new seats, the whole nine yards. And all through private donated funds. Lots of love for the planetarium! Our target re-opening is the tail end of June or the beginning of July,” said Kilgore.

Transported to Another Time and Place

A visit to the movie theaters or the planetarium is sure to transport people to another time and place just for a little while. Sometimes it is just this kind of escapism that people are looking for, and they can find it all in Prince William.

Olivia Overman (ooverman@princewilliamliving.com) is a freelance writer for both online and print organizations. She earned an M.A. in journalism and public affairs from American University, Washington, D.C.

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