Sunday, 8 September 2013

Karachi Cinemas - Fancy a night at the movies? Check out this review of the premium cinema multiplexes in Karachi

Cinema Wars: Karachi’s best spots for a movie night

Published in the Express Tribune on 8th Sept 2013



Fancy a night out at the movies? The cinema has become one of Karachi’s favourite past-times in recent years. With the opening of Nueplex in Phase 8, Karachi now has four family-friendly premium cinemas. But how do they compare and which offers the best experience to movie-goers?



Cineplex
Cineplex cinema Karachi
The first premium family cinema in Karachi, Cineplex, opened in 2005. However, it is now in  dire need of refurbishment. One cinema-goer described the experience as being like going to see a movie in someone’s basement home theatre.
Cineplex Cinema Karachi
Location: Seaview, Defence near The Village Restaurant
No. of Screens: 5
Ticket Price: Rs400
Pros
Convenient for Clifton and Defence, Cineplex is not that busy. The more popular cinemas have a higher turnover of movies, shunting even popular films to bizarre screening times very quickly. Cineplex is good for catching films that you’ve missed elsewhere.

Cons
The seats are poky and the screens are fairly small — you’ve had it if someone tall sits in front of you. Cineplex has no 3D screens and apparently, also periodically has electricity problems. It also has only one exit and no cell signals, which isn’t great from a security point of view.
Verdict: Only worth going if you’ve exhausted all other options, and maybe not even then..

Atrium Cinema
Atrium Cinema Karachi
Location: At Atrium Mall in Saddar, close to Zainab Market
No. of Screens: 3 
Ticket Price:
Rs350 Cinemas A&B (Rs450 for 3D)
Rs450 Cinema D (Rs550 for 3D)
The first 3D Cinema in Karachi, Atrium, has been a runaway success ever since it opened. Despite a less than ideal location and a sometimes dodgy crowd, Atrium is most people’s first choice in premium cinema.

Pros
Atrium has roomy seats and large screens. It has excellent 3D, a great ambience and clean bathrooms. Last but not least, it has the best popcorn in town.

Cons
Atrium’s biggest downside is its terrible location. While convenient for both Defence/Clifton and the KDA side of town, Atrium has minimal parking and awful valet service. It's near a place that protest marches go through every time there's unrest in the city. The mall and cinema attracts a very mixed crowd, and women by themselves are prone to getting ogled at by packs of young men.  Atrium is also a victim of its own success. It has only three screens and limited capacity, so getting seats is difficult and can involve repeated trips to the mall. The telephone booking system tends to get inundated quickly and hence, is unreliable.

Verdict: The best overall movie experience in town, but location and limited capacity are both issues.



Cinepax
Cinepax Cinema, Ocean Mall Karachi
Located in Clifton, Cinepax is convenient for the Defence/Clifton crowd. Smaller than Atrium and Nueplex, Cinepax aims for a more luxurious experience with premium screens, recliner seats and quality snacks.

Location: At Ocean Mall, Clifton near 2 Talwar
No. of Screens: 3
Ticket Price:
Silver Screen Rs450 (Rs600 for 3D)
Gold Screen Rs750
Platinum Screen Rs1,000 (Rs1,200 for 3D)
Pros
Cinepax has a great location and huge snack selection including burgers and fries. It offers recliner seats and blankets to counter the chill factor in the premium screens. It has lovely bathrooms and is the only cinema to offer online booking. It’s perfect for a girls’ night out due to location and crowd quality.

Cons
Screens sizes aren’t huge and the 3D, while good, is not as great as Atrium and Nueplex. The seats in the silver screen are not very comfortable. The escalators to the cinema are not conveniently placed, which is annoying as the lift service is sporadic. You can sometimes hear movies in adjoining cinema halls, and low capacity means it’s difficult to get seats. Crucially, many people have complained the popcorn is always stale.
Verdict: Great location, but silver screen should be better. The premium screens offer a better experience but are pricey if you go the movies often. Thankfully, Cinepax say they’ve fixed the popcorn — stale popcorn ruins movie night.

Nueplex
Nueplex Cinema, Karachi
Nueplex is part of The Place, a dedicated entertainment complex that has just opened in Phase 8. It has a huge capacity and state-of-the-art equipment.
Nueplex Cinema, Karachi
Location: Phase 8, Defence
No. of Screens: 5
Ticket Price:
Rs500 Cinema 1-4 (Rs600 for 3D)
Rs1,000 Royal Screen (Rs1,250 for 3D)
Pros
Nueplex has huge screens, a good 3D system, efficient telephone bookers and an attractive ambience. The royal theatre offers food service, a dedicated waiting area and recliner seats. The popcorn is delicious.

Cons
The bathrooms are clean but very small. Nueplex is the priciest of the cinemas, for everything from tickets to snacks. It is very far for those not living in Defence, and is in a quite unpopulated area. The standard cinema seats are just a tad less comfy than Atrium.

Verdict: It is a little far for those who don’t live in Defence, but in terms of screen size and overall cinematic experience, it is only rivaled by Atrium.

7 comments:

  1. Hello Salima,
    I follow your blog and very well written... Objective from the view of a consumer... Now here's a mail that I sent out last week (copied verbatim)

    Hello
    THIS IS A REPORT ON NEUPLEX CINEMAS AS VISITED BY MYSELF / & a TELCO BRANDS TEAM FROM LAHORE & ISLAMABAD / & SOME FMCG REPS FROM LAHORE (these guys had come to see the building known as “the Place” and as we were all friends I tagged along to see if we could also ride along and get any form of benefits as well…

    “The Place” it’s self… The building is not 100% completed and none of the retail outlets will be ready to open their doors for another 60 days at least… Due to the compact nature of the physical infrastructure there is little or maybe none branding spots at all… The corridors are very narrow & this location has very compact toilets for public use… It is also a property that is NOT friendly towards disabled people as there are NO wheel chair access ways…

    At around 6pm when we were standing outside the building looking at the infrastructure many residents of the Creek Vista apartments were “annoyed” that the privacy and serenity that they enjoyed would no longer be there… This is due to the traffic noise and honking by vehicles wishing to park on the roads as there is NO parking other than 56 cars (Not SUV) parking in the basement.

    The surrounding vicinity was buzzing with construction work as it was obvious that due to this mall the traffic would increase. One should classify this venue in the same league as a compact “Strip Mall” like in the US or Europe.


    NEUPLEX CINEMAS

    The cinema complex its self is extremely compact… again there is virtually no area to brand any walls etc…
    The tickets are priced the same as Ocean Mall and this place also offers you a ticket for 1000 rupees where you get a can of Pepsi or coke should you wish to sit on a sofa and watch a movie.
    Oh yes (this actually happened with a female who was from ****** in our group) if you are a lady and wish to use the cramped toilet (Stalls are the same size as in an airbus plane) then you MUST buy a ticket for a movie to do so… If you stand in the male urinal they are so close apart that the dividers between 4 urinals will touch your elbows (no space)
    Right now the “management” had an attitude which basically told us all to “simply leave” as they were “not interested” in branding at all for the next 6 months. They did not say it in so many words but that is what we got from the body language, tone of voice, and behavior towards us all. When we asked them if we would be allowed to take a few pictures to show what could be done in the future so that it could be archived we were simply told to keep any and all cameras in our pockets… when we asked them for their own stock images they said that those were “confidential”
    The cinema screens are not widescreen but yes “BIG”
    I have tried my best to be as nice and objective in this email to you as one of the stakeholders in the entire project is my next-door neighbor. Please make your own decision and plan accordingly when considering branding options.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Am not so bothered about the branding aspect - I don't wish to advertise anything and am tired of adverts pushed in my face wherever I go. And yes the loos are tiny but overall it offers a great cinematic experience

      Delete
  2. oh yes


    Now from a consumers point of view when I consider going to a cinema in "Karachi" I consider the only following factor... "Will my safety be compromised?"

    Atrium is good as there is lots of Public around in the form of traffic even at 3am and has easy exit points so if followed on can zip in and out of the streets of saddar to some point where there is awaam!

    Cinepax... The same as atrium and being in Clifton as well as Gulshan (now) that too has ensured that they provide some element of security in the form of brightly lit surroundings so you can see if someone is coming at you after 1am

    Cineplex - It has two access ways and both are well lit and always have police mobiles patrolling them... Seaview road is always packed on the weekends so its great to know that there are enough "Bhai's" around who will watch your back when you have some burger chicks with you...

    Nueplex - wellllll I dont have it in for the place and nothing against the pricing but... if you are a couple driving home on Khy E Shaheen after 10pm its like you are on the set of a Stephen King film... almost no lights and as you come back to civilization you realize that you are crossing main roads where anyone could simply hide with their lights off... Also when a couple is coming back alone after 1am please ask them to carry their "Nikah Naama" incase they are really married or keep atleast 5000 ruppees (the going rate) for such a bribe I think! If you want to avoid that then make sure you have atleast 4 armed goons paid for by daddy following your hopped up civic in a vigo..

    I hope you don't mind I added to it but good review anyway...


    ReplyDelete
  3. Cinepax has 4 screens i.e. 1 Platinum, 2 Gold screens and 1 Silver screen.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Another great article. I like that you are very honest and direct to the point.

    Advertise your business
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    ReplyDelete

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