What is the True Cinema Experience?
Going to the cinemas to watch a movie, for some can be a personal delight especially if you are looking to catch up with friends, wind down a hectic day or just wanting to relax and live a little. With this at the back of your mind, you pick one of the Cinemas in Lagos out of our limited number and make your way to it only to get there and at the end feel it would have been ideal to just stay home and watch your DStv explora.
Over the years of writing about movies, trends and the arts, I had been thinking of conducting a poll, that will speak to our Nigerian cinema experience, in fact I had a conversation about this on my radio show and the opinions from my callers were funny, but not funny oh! So, when my friend Bosun says let’s go see a movie and instead of visiting Surulere mall which is where we stay, we decide to visit the Ikeja mall as we were in that vicinity at the time, all I can do is *sigh*!
With good time on our hands, we purchase the tickets, stroll around waiting the time out and then proceed to the hall to watch the movie. With popcorn in our hands, we take our seats to discover that the chairs are reclined! Now this is the 2nd time I have visited the Ikeja mall to watch a movie, first time was when I took my nephews in 2013, so I am not sure, if they have always been that way, are spoilt, or in need of maintenance, which can straighten them up a bit.
As part of an updated cinema experience, I know luxury cinemas across the world have gone that route, deploying a reclined seat to enable you enjoy the movie, but can you imagine a reclined seat in that cinema? It felt totally awkward to me.
Now I can probably go on about why a reclined seat doesn’t work for this cinema but I will focus on the cinema that gives us close to a decent cinema experience with a rating from ‘A to F’. I will be considering location, parking, confectioneries, Personal CSR messaging, toilet facilities and maintenance!
Silverbird Galleria Victoria Island:
The oldest cinema chain in the country, was the awe of many in 2004. I recall having to put on my Sunday best to go and watch a movie. After a while, it was mainly during the periods when the tickets were cheapest. Now, with the advent of other cinemas in the state, the place is rarely as packed.
Location – When I worked in Victoria Island and even moved to Marina, Silverbird was always central to me, now in Ikeja, the thought of going there is a long thing, but I believe it still pays those that live and work in Victoria Island.
Parking – Has always been horrible since inception. But imagine when a blockbuster is showing! Having to drive to the lot and then the security will either be hoarding space or charging N500 to park was also incomprehensible. Why do I need to suffer myself again? For a movie? Nah! Home to the rescue.
Confectioneries – Wow, I am totally biased as it relates to Silverbird Galleria popcorn! How they do it that the others can’t get is beyond me. Asides the clump of sugar I find in my bag sometimes, they make the baddest popcorn mix in the state! Thank God for that.
Personal CSR Messaging – So I didn’t know this existed until my first movie at the Galleria. I actually took that message to heart and ensured that once I was in the hall, I respected the other people in this space ensuring my phone is on silent, the light is dim and I’m not a distraction. This I maintained even when the message changed to infographics and just recently not available. Now do people still adhere to this, not sure I can blame the cinema for people’s behavior but I think the crowd here is also the most matured and they keep their comments to the barest minimum
Toilet Facilities and Maintenance – Unfortunately this has gone down the drain since the time the cinema was first established. As the only building with an escalator then, that facility hasn’t worked in a while. There are rats in the cinema halls, yeah, I had one stare me in the face, sometime back! The toilets scare me, like I feel I would walk in there and catch a disease when I walk out. The 2nd floor toilets which was recently renovated, is slowly becoming like the rest and I advise anyone to avoid the ground floor stalls.
Cinema experience overall E
Genesis Deluxe Cinemas Lekki
GDC was the second most popular cinema to kick off operations in the State. Having gone through a name and logo change just recently, the cinema caters to the Lekki environs people.
Location – As mentioned, GDC as it was popularly called is located at the Palms Lekki. As the hub of one of the major malls in the state, the location was okay. The location is totally out for me, as I don’t need to journey all the way to watch a movie but it works just fine for the people nearby.
Parking – If there is ever something like heavenly parking, then GDC at the Palms is it. For a long time, parking was free and readily available even during blockbuster movies.
Confectioneries – Never been a fan of their pop-corn, shawarma and the likes. Even when they opened the City Mall outlet, there was no major change in the popcorn
Personal CSR Messaging – Don’t recall if there was ever a responsibility message for people in the halls. I recall watching an above 18 movie a while back with friends and we could hear the kids behind us chatting away talking about everything and anything. However, I watched the movies ‘Fifty and Suru’lere there and I can say the crowd are well behaved.
Toilet Facilities and Maintenance – Even with an addition of a VIP section, nothing can change the fact that the facilities are falling apart. Never had a rat incident, but those toilets are something else. From faulty faucets, to no water, toilet paper or a bad hand drier, the list is endless. Let’s not get started on the state of the cinema rooms sef!
Cinema experience overall D-
Ozone Cinema Yaba
The 2nd cinema to be established by the Murray-Bruce clan, was a hit in Yaba when it was initially set up. It brought new light to the area, people didn’t necessarily have to drive all the way to the island to watch a movie, so it was pretty awesome.
Location – Was pretty dope, especially since I didn’t have to drive to the island to watch a movie. But asides location, there has always been something esthetically wrong with the cinema halls at Ozone that it never really resonated with me.
Parking – Another cinema with no parking was Ozone, if this has changed, then forgive but as at the last time I visited, parking was done on the streets with no security but touts managing where you park.
Confectioneries – Don’t remember if I ever had confectioneries here, as I basically wanted to watch the movie and leave.
Personal CSR Messaging – Initially, when they first opened, this was a given even though the crowd didn’t care. However, subsequently, this was a thing of a past.
Toilet Facilities and Maintenance – Now I remember why I don’t eat when I am the Ozone. Simple because the facilities were not enough to cater for the number that troupe in and out, as there is always a queue that stretches to the hall. It was also the 2nd building in Lagos with an escalator, not sure if this still works, but the facilities are also slowly loosing steam.
Cinema experience overall F
The dawn of Filmhouse Cinemas in Lagos was pretty much welcome, choosing to kick off in my very abode ‘LSR’ aka Surulere. Filmhouse came with a thunder to shake the other cinema chains with a strategic development plan to roll-out twenty-five (25) cinemas over a six (6) year period that commenced in December 2012. It’s 2017 and I believe there are 10 cinemas down, 15 more to go
Location – This cinema is a delight, as it is basically in my backyard. When I feel like taking a stroll, I am there, if I need to watch a late-night movie, it works so the location pays me well.
Parking – It’s location in Leisure Mall was both a blessing and a curse as people. As the mall parking cannot take more the 100 cars. There is the option of parking at Adeniran Ogunsanya mall, but that is also limited in numbers. So, we do the natural thing, turn duo lane roads to single as cars literally park on the road and anywhere space is available.
Confectioneries – As it relates to popcorn, they get a pass mark. I also love their shawarma, as they are not miserly with the content inside. I have however eaten one that the chicken was going off, but one out of the many I have had can be forgiven.
Personal CSR Messaging – Another cinema chain that started with CSR messaging then dropped it after a while. However, CSR messaging or not, I have never seen an unruly crowd like the one in Surulere. If they are not telling their partners what they think the story line of the movie they are just watching is, they are answering their phones and speaking loudly or basically shouting at the movie, it’s a market place! Phew it is exhausting. The only movie they literally don’t talk in is a horror movie, I recommend that if your intention is to watch a movie there.
Toilet Facilities and Maintenance – Initially, when the mall was opened for business, the toilet facilities were great and functional. While this hasn’t changed much, we now have to pay to use the toilet facilities at Leisure mall. The cinema halls which have been extended to Adeniran Ogunsanya is free though, but if they are careful, it will be heading down the drain.
Cinema experience overall D
Genesis Deluxe Cinemas Maryland
The newest location in the GDC cinema chain. It started its operations as soon as the mall opened and have had decent operations.
Location – Another location that comes in handy for the people of Maryland and Anthony. Its location is quite apt as well, I recall the shopping complex that used to be there, one I never entered but wondered how shop owners survived as it was rarely visited. However, the Maryland shopping mall is haven to people around its environs.
Parking – Parking here is quite easy, although I see that people are reluctant in parking underground so they are always jostling for space overhead. I like it though, everything feels so compact there, best times to visit and get good parking 11am ish, just before the shopping people.
Confectioneries – They get a pass mark as it relates to the confectioneries. Once you are with kids, their staff are quite handy and hurry it up, but they are quite good and helpful.
Personal CSR Messaging – There was no CSR messaging, but I was proud of the kids though. I was watching ‘Trolls’ and the kids were pretty much well behaved and focused on the movie once it started playing. Not sure how it is when adults are watching a movie, I would like to believe they might not need it much.
Toilet Facilities and Maintenance – If they keep up with maintenance especially during the weekends, I think they will go a long way. The need for toilet paper and working driers is a must have, so I do hope they get their acts together before things start going downhill.
Cinema experience overall C-
Silverbird Cinemas Ikeja
The mall that started this write-up in the first place, was the first to open in the Ikeja environs. I recall hearing the call for a missing child when I visited the first time so I held my nephews tight, because I did not want to hear story.
Location – The opening of this cinema, basically reduced the visits from people living on the mainland to the island. It was a big relief for the people of Ikeja, Magdodo, Agege, and so on and a welcome development.
Parking – This mall kicked off the payment for parking service that we have prevalent in all malls now. While the parking space is quite vast, it was still all nightmare to many, as the inflow of vehicular traffic is something else. Over the weekend, the number that park around the mall, compared to the number within the mall, wow and wow is all I can say.
Confectioneries – So even if I have a biased for the Galleria popcorn, I believe their popcorn comes in a close second to good popcorn at the cinemas. I can’t however, move from this point without talking about the area where the confectioneries are sold, what!!! Well facilities will take care of that.
Personal CSR Messaging – Not sure if it existed here, but in its early days, watching a movie here was noisy. However, my last experience was quite cheerful as we were watching a somewhat horror movie (LOL)! Like I said, watching a horror movie doesn’t get a lot of talk from viewers, so I recommend it again.
Toilet Facilities and Maintenance – Unfortunately and I say unfortunately, the facilities here have really gone down the drain. The chairs recline, which makes it awkward to watch a movie, the concession stand is scary, feels like something will come out the back and jump us. The toilet, feels and smells so public like I won’t have minded that Izal smell of back in the day.
Cinema experience overall F-
FilmHouse Cinemas Lekki
The new kid on the block and belle of the FilmHouse Cinemas chain, this cinema was opened last year (was privileged to attend the opening ceremony), and boost of the first IMAX cinema in the whole of West Africa. It has also become the go to event venue for movie premieres and festivals.
Location – For the people in these environs, I want to believe it works. For me, I would make the trip to watch a movie in 3D.
Parking – I noticed since launch that the don’t have a large parking lot, but I also noticed that the number of people there at a given time isn’t too many. Never been there on busy weekend or a public holiday so I cannot categorically say, parking is a nuisance here.
Confectioneries – Another pass mark on confectioneries. Due to the VIP cinema hall, people can have actual meals with a glass of wine, so it’s like your home away from home. I also like the fact that one can just visit the sports bar upstairs to have drinks
Personal CSR Messaging – Haven’t witnessed it here, but the people are typically well behaved and I trust they don’t need to be told to be quiet or speak in hush tones.
Toilet Facilities and Maintenance – As with everything new, it feels great to walk into the toilet and do your business. Hand washing liquid, functioning hand driers and courteous cleaners, the works. Maintaining this is what we pray for. Also I recall during the launch, they were basically still working on bits and bobs of the structure, hope this isn’t the case till now though and everything is safe. Overall, this is cinema has the best facility overall.
Cinema experience overall B+-
Do you think I have been fair? Let’s talk about it, which cinema experience is the best in the land?
Original posted on bellanaija