Canberra cinemas?

johnboy 10 April 2007 50

On Thursday I went to see “300” at Hoyts Belconnen (apart from tying the psychopathic homosexual Spartans to the agendas of right wing America it was entertaining enough).

No box office and the concession stand which was selling tickets was not properly opened (only the one tap head serving drinks meaning the whole process was painfully slow).

It got me thinking… Are there any decent points to be found in Canberra cinemas?

Let’s leave aside the new but rapidly crumbling Dendy. Is there anything good to be said about the cinema experience in this town?

Or is it time to settle down on the couch with my properly balanced surround sound and watch what comes off the torrents with a beer from the fridge?

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50 Responses to Canberra cinemas?
ant ant 11:17 am 11 Apr 07

I can’t stand being in a cinema, due to the horrible behaviour of people. Some take their shoes off! Stinko. Or they bring their kids and as always are oblivious to the racket they make. Or (as someone else mentioned) they air their horrible lack of table manners while feeding.

It’s a shame, as some films are made for teh big screen (Out of Africa, Blade Runner, Lawrence of Arabia, Dr Zhivago to name a few), but they are still enjoyable on one’s home theatre setup.

johnboy johnboy 10:11 am 11 Apr 07

Plenty of quality cinemas in North Sydney (serving plenty of quality money I guess)

simbo simbo 7:23 am 11 Apr 07

To go back to a much earlier point – No, Bonfire, Greater Union Civic is about as much a pit as it ever was. The difference is, they’ve compensated for the quality differential with Dendy (and despite the many complaints about Dendy, Dendy at least understands that a cinema with raked seating is a good thing if you want your patrons to, you know, actually see the screen), to compete Greater Union Civic has done the “cut the ticket price” thing.

Having said that, the cinema problems are Australia-wide on this one – it isn’t a canberra-specific problem.

stan_bowles stan_bowles 10:21 pm 10 Apr 07

Yeah I used to churn about 300 decidedly dodgy quality choc tops in one day, and I was considered slow.

I thought Candy bar prices were insane until I went to Cirque de Soleil and paid $17 for popcorn and two cokes. Now thats a markup.

jacross jacross 9:30 pm 10 Apr 07

Even counting in the wages we got, it doesnt cost that much. We used to bang out a bucketload (literally) of choc tops in no time. That said it was a great day when Hoyts decided to start ordering them in, Ice Cream in general is an extremely annoying commodity to dish out.

In regards to candy bar prices, of course they are a rip off and of course you don’t have to buy them. That’s the beauty of voluntary agreements, they are voluntary. When people complained I used to tell them exactly that. It’s surprising I didn’t get into trouble more often than I did, probably because I mentioned to the customer that I did the exact same thing as I was advocating. Come to think of it, expressing a libertarian political philosophy and the virtues of freedom of choice wasn’t the best idea for a young teen who needed the job he was risking with his mouth.

emd emd 9:10 pm 10 Apr 07

West_Kambah’s right, cinema is a totally different experience to home viewing. This is why some movies are “worth watching on the big screen” while others are “wait for DVD” – and it’s not just the quality of the acting. Some special effects are designed for the big screen (and nobody has a screen that big at home!) and some plot devices also work differently when you’re in the cinema. Anyone remember walking out after Once Were Warriors and noticing that NOBODY was talking?

AD: TiVO. ’nuff said.

I loved ANU Film Group. I got to see lots of relatively recent releases on the cheap, but I also got the opportunity to see great movies that I wouldn’t normally have paid money for in a cinema, and I got to see classics on the big screen. And the kiosk was good. And the seats gave me nostalgia for the crappy seats at the old Woden Cosmo.

stan_bowles stan_bowles 5:51 pm 10 Apr 07

“One wonders if the reverse might also hold true – reducing the ticket price might increase the number of patrons (thus increasing their take from the candy bar into the bargain)?”

A small number paying high prices is preferable to a large number paying lower prices. More customers raises your outgoing costs: More customers equals more staff needed, more cleaners, more damage to cinemas etc

Plus the kind of people who would be attracted by cheaper tickets are not the kind of people who would pay exorbitant candy bar prices.

johnboy johnboy 5:25 pm 10 Apr 07

The first wave of home cinema, the VHS actually revived the movies by getting people watching them again and then anticipating the release.

But underpaid projectionists the world over means that the pirate copies are getting stupidly good as captured from the projection booth.

Vader Vader 5:21 pm 10 Apr 07

There are some interesting stats on cinema patronage in today’s SMH.

According to that article, between 2002 & 2006 patronage has dropped by 10 million cinema visits (92.5M tickets down to 82.6M). However, the price rise on those tickets has more than compensated – going up from $845M to $866M.

So, they balance the reduced number of patrons by increasing the price of the tickets.

One wonders if the reverse might also hold true – reducing the ticket price might increase the number of patrons (thus increasing their take from the candy bar into the bargain)? Maybe not, as the DVD and home surround sound system seems to have taken hold.

Genie Genie 4:51 pm 10 Apr 07

VY – i remember paying $2 for a nights accomadation and food in Bangkok, i think you were ripped off!! 🙂

Genie Genie 4:49 pm 10 Apr 07

With the ease of extra large Plasma and superfast internet, why pay to go to the movies anymore. Hoyts Belco sux – when they first opened tix were $5, and you have to walk so far to go the the loo, makes you not wanting to buy their supersmall cokes for $5 a pop (dont forget its 90% ice too). I live in Belco and drive out to Woden to go to the movies – but again with the whole lazyness thing, why walk all the way down to Coles and Woolies for munchies when Big W is right upstairs ???

Did someone also mention 10 redskins for a BUCK ?? yummo

VYBerlinaV8 now_with_added grunt VYBerlinaV8 now_with_added grunt 3:39 pm 10 Apr 07

When I went to the Premium VIP cinema in Bangkok, they had allocated seating, as well as impeccably clean cinemas, friendly helpful staff and nice food. And all for less than 2 bucks a movie!

bonfire bonfire 3:34 pm 10 Apr 07

i really miss the center cinema.

great screen. great sound. great seats. great location.

ineresting programming.

remember the friday night shows ?

the fact its a nightclub now is a crime against culture.

johnboy johnboy 2:45 pm 10 Apr 07

I think a moment’s thought spent on crowd control would do wonders for the experience, and fully allocated seating for new releases over the weekend would do wonders for reducing the surges (also the pre-booking surcharges would cover the cost of the extra staff that requires).

But a bit of thought and a bit of investment are needed as they’re all looking run down in this town.

Delbosca Delbosca 2:08 pm 10 Apr 07

Come on Johnboy why so negative, what do you want in Canberra some intergalactic transporter style cinema , where you get teleported from you lounge room to your very own cinema styled fantasy???? But aside from the ever crumbling Dendy? Give them a break the “storm effected Dendy” is back at it and providing what I can say is a 1st class cinema experience and no this is not Craig with a new handle , but to make comment not an attack Dendy is still number one for me premium class that is, and I do like Hoyts woden , it the best out of the hoyts 3, you can go see a movie then go to barbar for a good ole latte

Non_Sequitur Non_Sequitur 1:58 pm 10 Apr 07

What really boils my coil is the simple fact of having to wait for the spotty teenager to fill five cokes before I can buy my ticket. I’m one of the ones who enjoys lining up, enjoys the smell of the popcorn and the thrill of wading through the Val Morgan advertising to get to the feature. I have a good dvd system, I buy movies and watch them at home, but I really do like the cinema experience. Unfortunatley the transparent attempt to force me to go to the candy counter to buy my ticket is really putting me off and is spoiling the experience. A triffling matter, but enough to stop this customer from shelling out my $15 bucks a fortnight. Its almost been 3 months since my last movie experience and I can’t see that ban being lifted soon. Hoyts, just let me buy my ticket and I’ll decide as an informed consumer whether or not I want to buy that choc top or not!

Ralph Ralph 1:40 pm 10 Apr 07

Agree. It’s the other people you have to put up with that turns me off cinemas.

JD114 JD114 1:37 pm 10 Apr 07

Cinemas are too loud and I find my concentration is often directed towards my suffering ears rather than the action on the screen.

$15 to watch an often out of focus screen with some garlic laden person chewing their excruciating way through a very loud ice cream cone, or one by one crackling their way through a whole bag of minties, is probably not a big worry for adrenalin laden teenagers but for the last fifteen odd years has proven to be more than my own sensibilities can handle.

So for $5.95, and an investment in a 68cm screen wired up to my stereo, I get to enjoy an unpolluted environment in which to watch what i want, when I want, and in virtual silence. Sure the screen isn’t so big, but five minutes into the film I don’t even notice that aspect of the experience.

Movies are good for socially active types, DVDs are better for the pure enjoyment of a film. IMHO of course!

rachellenevin rachellenevin 12:12 pm 10 Apr 07

The ANU Film Group is a great alternative. $35 per semester gives you about 60 films held throughout the week. Films include recent & old ones & you can vote on/suggest films that are to be shown for semester 2. Rotary runs the lolly shop (10 redskins for $1!) and the crowd is fun.Check out the website:

bonfire bonfire 12:12 pm 10 Apr 07

cinema staff cannot legally stop you bringing in food from somewhere else.

its forbidden under the third force marketing provisions in ACCC legislation.

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