If you’ve been missing movie nights at the cinema, you might be wondering what has changed to make the cinema experience appropriately socially distanced.
We’ve checked out some of Joburg’s main movie houses to finally get our cinema fix and have found that socially distanced cinema is actually a pretty comfortable experience. Furthermore, that return to surround sound and HD vision which cannot possibly be recreated at home, is still as special as it ever was.
If you are going to the cinema this month you will find the main noticeable change to the experience is in terms of seating. Cinemas are now running at half capacity, usually managed by blocking off every two seats on alternate rows. If you go to one of the upmarket ‘VIP’ cinema screens such as Nu Metro’s VIP Scene or Ster Kinerkor’s Prestige, where seating is on immense armchairs, you will find there’s now so much space you’ll hardly even notice the other cinemagoers.
Cinemas are also now required to run with an online booking system. Book your tickets online and when you arrive at the cinema an attendant will print your tickets for you (meaning you don’t need to handle any touch screens). You are asked to wear your mask during the screening, although it is ok to remove it to enjoy your popcorn and drinks during the film.
Cinemas in Joburg
For Hollywood blockbusters there’s Nu Metro who have branches at Clearwater Mall, Emperors Palace and Hyde Park Corner, where you can also find their special Scene VIP cinema screens.
Book online via numetro.co.za
South Africa's biggest cinema chain has branches at many of Joburg’s bigger malls including Sandton City, Cresta, Mall of Africa and The Zone@Rosebank and at Montecasino. You can find Ster Kinekor Prestige cinemas in The Zone@Rosebank and Sandton City. Note that as of September 1, 2020 Ster-Kinekor has only opened its cinemas at Sandton City, Cresta and Eastgate. Other branches are expected to re-open later in the month.
Book online via sterkinekor.com
Part of the Ster-Kinekor chain, Cinema Nouveau movie theatres specialise in art house, documentary and foreign language films, as well as arts-focused cinema experiences such as The National Theatre Live and The Met Opera Live. The Cinema Nouveau theatre in Rosebank Mall was recently given a major facelift with more spacious seating and the addition of a patisserie bar serving cakes, wine, beers and spirits which you can take into the film with you. The Cinema Nouveau at Rosebank has not yet announced when in September it planes to re-open.
Book online via sterkinekor.com
The Bioscope independent cinema
Joburg's original independent cinema, The Bioscope is devoted to bringing the latest in arthouse, indie, documentary and African films to the South African big screen. In 2020 The Bioscope marked its tenth birthday with a move out of Maboneng to a brand new location in the main courtyard at the delightful boutique shopping complex 44 Stanley.
The new Bioscope location is a 47-seater cinema (meaning under current restrictions only 23 tickets are sold for each sitting). As well as a more spacious auditorium and brand new air filtering system, the new Bioscope also has a more expanded Bioscope gift shop where you can buy movie-related memorabilia such as books and posters, as well as the first physical Limited Edish store selling cool T-shirts (many of them movie-inspired) designed by talented illustrator and The Bioscope's founder Russell Grant.
Book online via thebioscope.co.za
Egrek independent cinema
Launched on 4th Avenue in Parkhurst in 2019, this small independent cinema favours major international blockbuster releases as well as award-winning foreign films. The cinema seats 30 and has its own attached cafe-bar. Located above the Parkhurst Square centre it is also well situated for post-movie dinner and drinks.
Book online via egrek.co.za