CinemaSouth Africa’s top cinema chain, Ster Kinekor, uses the tagline, “Always better on our big screen” in their advertising. Well, the last few times I’ve gone out to a cinema, I’ve had exactly the opposite experience.
I have previously complained on this blog about the way in which cinemas lie to us. They don’t let us take in food and drinks bought outside of their own concession stands, and they make up all sorts of stupid reasons for this. The real reason, of course, is that they charge a small fortune for their food and drink, and make a hefty chunk of their profit there.
But last night’s issue was that in a 16 rated movie (The Last King of Scotland), a woman came in with her husband/boyfriend, another female friend and a toddler who couldn’t have been more than 2 years old. The guy went to sit down near the middle of the theatre, and the women sat at the back. As the movie started, the woman walked down, and dumped the child on the guy’s lap and then went back to her seat. The child was niggling, crying and chirping all the way through the movie. The guy was disinterested, then just allowed the toddler to wander around the cinema. The child was friendly enough – climbing onto people and talking to everyone.
Meanwhile the mother was taking phone calls on her mobile!! What chaos and distraction! My wife actually went out to call cinema staff, but they did nothing.
If cinemas want people to flock to their venues, they are going to have to create an envrionment where it is better on their big screens. At the moment, it is not!

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