Ster-Kinekor and Nu-Metro have been a part of South African lives since 1969 and 1972, respectively, and have consistently entertained movie-goers week in and week out with the latest and hottest films in the industry.
Unfortunately, as with so many other things, the price of taking the kids out to watch a movie has soared over the last couple of years. You're looking at around R100 a pop for the ticket alone – not to mention the exorbitant price of snacks – but hey, you're paying for that gigantic screen and quality surround sound.
With the full movie theatre experience fast becoming a 'once every now and then' splurge, we thought we'd compare the prices and different experiences that these two movie-house giants are offering going into 2019.
Both Ster-Kinekor and Nu-Metro offer a variety of different experiences – types of cinema – in an abundance of locations all across South Africa. Both companies offer the standard, classic 2D cinema, as well as the 3D cinema – which is fun for children and hell for anybody prone to migraines.
Now, both Ster-Kinekor and Nu-Metro also offer exclusive, luxury cinema experiences that feature the likes of leather recliners, fancy décor, spacious leg-room, snack and beverage waiting staff, cocktails, coffee and gourmet snack platters. Consider it the business class of cinema – and seats will almost always require booking beforehand, due to limited seating.
Nu-Metro's luxury experience is called Scene VIP and the Ster-Kinekor equivalent is called Cine Prestige.
Likewise, both also offer something far superior to your standard 2D or 3D experience. We're talking bigger screens, better resolution, clearer sound, comfortable seating and true immersion. From Ster-Kinekor, we have the well-known IMAX theatre in both 2D and 3D, featuring 2K projection and heart-pounding surround sound. Nu-Metro takes it a step further with Scene Xtreme, if you prefer to watch your movies in Ultra High Definition 4K on a wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling screen while trying to survive the Dolby Atmos 3D sound system which could, at any moment, melt your face off.
If that's not quite enough, and you feel like actually being inside the movie screen instead of just watching it, both Ster-Kinekor and Nu-Metro have got you covered. Ster-Kinekor calls it D-BOX. Nu-Metro calls it 4DX.
These are the most immersive film experiences available in the country – hyper-realistic entertainment involving moving, vibrating seating, scents, wind, lightning flashes, sprays, smoke and so on and so forth.
Hopefully you're not watching an Adam Sandler film. God alone knows what will happen to you.
And on that subject, if you're looking for the complete opposite, in the form of films with culture, Ster-Kinekor also offers Cinema Nouveau, the unique, upmarket arthouse division that specialises in screening alternative, independent and artsy film content from cultures all over the world.
Ster-Kinekor has hiked its ticket prices quite significantly since the second half of 2018, with some theatres now charging 20% more per ticket. With the exception of a hike in Scene VIP, Nu-Metro has left its prices more or less unchanged.
Ster-Kinekor brought the pricing of many of its cinemas across the country in line with one another, and these adjustments now make Ster-Kinekor a little more expensive than its competition.
Both Nu-Metro and Ster-Kinekor offer loyalty and partner programmes, however, that offer discounts on tickets for avid moviegoers.
Here are the prices for both film giants, as we head into 2019.
• Cinema Prestige prices have increased from R142 to R154;
• IMAX prices have increased from R131 to R142;
• D-BOX prices have increased from R172 to R186;
• Cinema Nouveau prices have increased from R81 to R88.
• Scene VIP prices have increased from R100 to R140 for 2D films and from R115 to R140 for 3D films;
• Scene Xtreme prices have increased from R120 to R130;
• 4DX prices have remained the same at R175.
If you've become disenchanted with the money-making behemoth that is the Ster-Kinekor and Nu-Metro powerhouse, and would prefer something more intimate and out-of-the-ordinary, you could always check out the Labia Theatre in Cape Town – which has also hosted the SA Horrorfest films and literature readings over the last couple of years.
And then there is the Galileo Open Air Theatre, if you prefer to watch your movies out in the open air under the stars.
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