Jahlil Okafor likes movies. A new profile of him at SB Nation opens with Okafor watching Home Again with his girlfriend. And he mentions at curious fact: Okafor has “been known to take a train from Philadelphia to Manhattan just to catch a flick or two at the iPic.” That wording doesn’t explain how often he does this, but on multiple occasions he has literally taken a train from Philadelphia to New York in order to see a movie.
This is bonkers, of course. In order to see a movie at that theater in New York City, Okafor has to get an Amtrak train from 30th Street Station in Philadelphia to Penn Station in New York City, then get to the iPic theater in Lower Manhattan. It’s at least a two-hour trip each way.
Let’s try to work through Okafor’s thought process here: Center City, Philly’s downtown, has four movie theaters. But the three Ritz theaters are part of the Landmark chain and primarily show independent films, foreign flicks and documentaries. The fourth theater, the Roxy, is run by the Philadelphia Film Society and is old and small. (Okafor might not fit in one of its seats.) But there are plenty of big movie theaters that show all the new movies just outside Center City. Why would he go all the way to New York?!
On the other hand, Okafor makes $4.5 million a year. He’s 21. He’s just looking for ways to spend that much money! And, after looking up his favorite theater online, it does seem pretty nice. It has two levels of seating, and they’re called “Premium” and “Premium Plus.” Okafor can relax and see a crappy Reese Witherspoon movie while getting food delivered right to his table. There isn’t a theater this nice in the Philadelphia area, not even Movie Tavern.
Fortunately, construction has begun on a new movie theater right in Center City Philadelphia, at the site of the old Gallery mall. It’s expected to be open sometime in 2019. So if Jahlil Okafor is still on the Sixers at that time… well, that would be a more surprising twist than anything in an M. Night Shyamalan movie.