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Thats the ticket: Movies, soda & popcorn for $11
A movie admission, large soda and small popcorn for $11 is just the ticket at Manteca Marketplace. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL
I almost couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

Here at the ticket window of the Marketplace Stadium 10 Cinemas – where it once wasn’t uncommon for me shell out more than $10 for a ticket to a late night show – I find myself contemplating a combination that includes my admission, a large soda, and a small popcorn for only $11.

I think I’ve just found my new favorite hangout.

And it’s not like this theater is just jumping on the bandwagon of slashing prices in order to keep up with others worried about the current economic situation.

They were the first to reduce their regular admission fees by a dollar, and eventually offered free large popcorn to every ticket buyer that passed through the door – something that allowed them to compete with the new Kerasotes mega-theater on the other side of 120 and earn the respect of their customer’s pocketbooks as well.

“We’ve had a big increase in people coming in since we reduced all of the movie prices to $3,” General Manager Rebecca Bergthold said. “And we’ve had people coming in from as far away as Tracy and Stockton and Modesto that want to save a little bit of money while still enjoying themselves.”

While the movies on the silver screen aren’t first run, there’s always an ample supply of options to keep even the most discriminating movie buff entertained.

On a mundane Wednesday night, I opted for the Channing Tatum film Fighting – primarily because it was supposed to have an amazing fight scene with San Jose kickboxing legend Cung Le. Overall the storyline could have had a bit more substance, but I definitely got my $3 worth – shelling out a total of $11 for the movie, my large Diet Pepsi, and some Sour Patch Kid Straws.

“We could go over to the other theater but why not wait a few weeks and see it here for a lot less money,” youngster Josh Reeves said while hanging out with his friends in front of the theater. “That’s money that you could spend on something else.”

Now in the spirit of full disclosure, I have little problem shelling out $20 for movie tickets to see the newest blockbusters in IMAX theaters or watching my favorite band sail past me in 3-D motion.

But scanning the paper Wednesday morning I literally had to decide between three movies that I had wanted to see when they were on their current run but couldn’t find the time – something that has been happening with more frequency as of late.

The bottom line? With reclining seats and stadium cinemas, there’s absolutely no reason not to think that the Marketplace can give you the experience you’re expecting while saving you money at the same time.

Everything always better with a little bit more green in your pocket. And this is one way to make sure that happens.