This month I tried… Ster Kinekor’s Cine Prestige

Moneybags journalist Jessica Anne Wood experienced Ster-Kinekor’s Cine Prestige for the first time this month.

Red leather recliner seats, waiters taking your order and a large screen are the basic ingredients that would make any cinema-goer’s dream come true. The good news is that Ster Kinekor made this all possible through their Cine Prestige theatre.

It’s unlike walking into a normal movie cinema. Not only is the cinema smaller than a normal movie theatre (at least in terms of the number of seats), but the chairs are larger and there is more leg room.

With waiters on hand to take your order and more items to choose from on the menu, it’s probably the closest I’ll ever get to feeling like I own my own movie house. Prestige cinemas are here to stay and they’re putting an end to cinemagoer’s being packed like sardines into the room.

The experience

I went to the Cavendish Square Cine Prestige in Cape Town. The staff were friendly and welcoming, and the service I experienced was good. However, I have to wonder if I maybe had a bit more attention than a normal customer because they knew I was a journalist.

The Cine Prestige VIP Lounge provided a comfortable place to sit and relax before going into the theatre. While seated there, I was offered a selection of cakes and coffees to choose from. I had the choice of enjoying all the treats in the lounge before the movie, Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation started, or to have delivered to my seat once I was in the cinema.

Besides the luxurious extras that you can’t normally get at a standard Ster-Kinekor cinema there were the usual treats like popcorn, coke, Slushies and sweets to nibble on during the show as well. (To view the Cine Prestige menu, click here.)

The film was enjoyable, but I have seen all the previous Mission: Impossible films in the franchise and enjoyed them, so I might be biased. But while the movie was good and the seats and theatre more comfortable than a standard theatre, I did not enjoy the movie more than I usually do.

The cake was fresh and tasted nice (I had red velvet), and the coffee was good. But I must say that it was a bit awkward eating cake in a dark movie theatre. Even though there is subtle lighting, it was still hard to see what I was eating. I was worried that I’d mess the cake all over my lap.

Overall it was an enjoyable experience, but for R120 a ticket, it is a lot more than a standard movie ticket R62. At that price I will definitely make use of Cine Prestige in the future, but for selected movies only. For my general movie enjoyment, and to save money, I am still happy with the good old theatre layout.

However, there is good news for people who usually enjoy discounts on their Ster-Kinekor movie tickets, as the loyalty programmes associated with Ster-Kinekor (SK Club, Discovery Vitality and Edcon’s Edgars Club) do apply to Cine Prestige. So while it will still cost you more than your normal movie experience, you still pay less than the average person. Children (aged between two and 18) on the relevant loyalty programme also get to view movies at Cine Prestige for free before 7pm any day.

I noted with sadness that you cannot place orders for more food or beverages during the screening (unless you leave the cinema). I presume this is because moviegoers may complain if the show is interrupted by waiters coming and going throughout the show. However, you can place and order and select the time that you would like to receive it before the film starts.

Cine Prestige – a brief history

The first Cine Prestige opened in July 2012 at The Zone in Rosebank, and the popularity for this ‘business class’ cinema has grown, according to Bradley Knowles, general manager of marketing at Ster-Kinekor Theatres.

“When Ster-Kinekor introduced this concept to cinema goers, they loved it and continue to support it. Ster-Kinekor now has 12 Cine Prestige cinemas located at seven different sites across the country, which continue to attract a broad audience looking for a special cinema experience in an exclusive environment,” revealed Knowles.

The Cine Prestige cinemas are found in:

  • The Zone, Sandton and Cradlestone Mall in Johannesburg;
  • The Grove Mall in Pretoria;
  • Gateway in Durban;
  • Baywest Mall in Port Elizabeth, and
  • Cavendish in Cape Town

As with any new releases, especially the bigger name and more anticipated films, such as the new Jurassic Park film, Jurassic World, Knowles points out that it is best to book tickets in advance to get a good seat and the number of tickets you need.

“It is advisable to book tickets to see a new release at Cine Prestige when the bookings open on the Tuesday of the week that the title is releasing. These cinemas do get booked up way in advance – particularly when a popular titles are released, such as Fifty Shades of Grey, Fast & Furious 7, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Jurassic World and Minions. These all performed very well at Cine Prestige cinemas in the first half of 2015,” says Knowles.

Not all of the films that Ster-Kinekor airs are shown at Cine Prestige. “All the popular blockbusters and big titles enjoy a release in Cine Prestige when they open in other Ster-Kinekor cinemas. On occasion, a big Bollywood title will also enjoy a release in Cine Prestige.

“With all the Ster-Kinekor cinemas now converted to the latest digital projection technology, it is also possible to screen two different films at a Cine Prestige cinema on the same day – for example, a child-friendly title could be screened during the day, with an adult title showing in the evening, to cater to a wider audience – this is particularly popular during school holidays,” reveals Knowles.

In addition to Cine Prestige, Ster-Kinekor also offers the IMAX experience, which is also proving popular according to Knowles.

“Ster-Kinekor’s other ‘impact cinema’ offering, the immersive IMAX experience, is also increasing its footprint. To date, Ster-Kinekor now has five of these theatres across the country – at Gateway in Durban, The Grove in Pretoria, Cape Gate in Cape Town, Baywest Mall in Port Elizabeth and recently, Cradlestone Mall, west of Johannesburg.  Watching a blockbuster film in one of these IMAX 3D theatres, with its roof-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall screen, dual digital projection system for crystal clear images, amazing surround sound and bespoke seating design result in an immersive cinema experience where you are part of the action, and not just watching it,” says Knowles.