The Money – Is it Worth It?
Catch Those Near Misses!
There are plenty of films you wouldn’t necessarily go out of your way to buy a ticket to go and see – tickets are expensive on their own, and were you to add the drinks and popcorn extras, you’re suddenly putting a lot of pressure on the film you have picked to be great. I’m as much a sucker as the next person for being put off by poor or average reviews for films, and I’m not even spending £10 a pop. With the card you can go safely in the knowledge that if the film you’re booked to see isn’t the best you have ever seen you haven’t lost all that much. This takes the pressure off a cinema trip and opens up the possibility of catching a ‘lesser’ looking film you definitely wouldn’t have caught otherwise. I would never have paid money for a ticket to The Drop, Green Room, or Goosebumps, and while neither changed my life, that isn’t to say they weren’t pleasant surprises that I’m really glad I caught.
One of the biggest draws for me is the chance to catch the odd early preview screening of a film ahead of its official release date. We actually have three bunched in to one week ahead of Oscar season next month! We will be lucky enough to catch La La Land, Manchester By the Sea and Ben Affleck’s Live By Night days before they are opened to the rest of the public. Needless to say we have booked our seats well ahead of the days and will be spending more time in the cinema that week than our flat. In the past there was a red carpet laid out in to the screen and the odd freebies handed out, but both seemed to have dried up recently.
A slight twist on the Unlimited Screenings in that you have no idea what it is you’re walking in to beforehand. Cineworld’s Twitter have offered cryptic tweets leading up to the day, but other than that you’re going in totally blind. This can be hit and miss, and despite some people walking out as soon as The Secret Life of Walter Mitty came on, I actually really enjoyed that and may not have bothered with it otherwise.
Money Off Snacks, Drinks and 3D
I’ve never been a big fan of 3D and can count on one hand the films where this has added anything at all and/or not been distracting at all. However, if having things jumping out of the screen is your bag, then there is only a nominal additional fee for card holders in their first year, and then all screening are totally free after that. There is still an extra fee to pay for any IMAX screenings, so while we would save those for special occasions (eg. Star Wars, or when Tom Cruise clings on to the side of a plane as it takes off) it’s something to bear in mind.
Unlimited Recommend a Friend
Films can drop off much sooner than other cinemas. Unless it’s a huge blockbuster or straight from the Marvel conveyor belt, there is a strong chance it won’t hang around long. I’ve been hurt by this before, and had to pay elsewhere to see Bridge of Spies among others. To an extent you can sympathise as they need bums on seats, and if some aren’t cutting it then they need moving – that doesn’t make it any less frustrating if you’re unable to get to a screening early enough though. Then there was when The Hateful Eight wasn’t released at all at Cineworld (as well as Picturehouse and Curzon) cinemas due to the Tarrantino’s decision to have it shown in 70mm only. Although that was a one off, it’s pretty embarrassing not to have had one of the biggest films of the year on their roster.
The Alternative Option
Other cinemas are finally waking up to the idea of having a similar card system. As with anyone else deciding between Odeon and Cineworld, this came down to location for us. I got the Cineworld card when I used to work round the corner from one, making it easy to walk down any midweek evening. Since the introduction of Odeon’s Limitless card it did cross our minds to switch seeing as there would be one in walking distance from our flat, but that will change early next week when we move out. Location aside, to my eye Odeon appear better at keeping films available for longer than Cineworld, but the food/drink savings and Unlimited Screenings at the latter make it a bit of a toss-up. I am a big fan of the Odeon Flashbacks though, and wish Cineworld would introduce something similar.