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Unlimited Cinema...Shame its at the Cinema
Cineworld Unlimited Card
Member Name: fulldonx
Cineworld Unlimited Card
Advantages: great deal, unlimited films, set fee
Disadvantages: cinemas in general
So, a couple of years ago, me and my girlfriend both signed up the unlimited card deal. We initially paid £13.99 a month which included the Central London cinemas as well as all other cineworlds in the UK. Although this sounds good, in reality 99% of the time you are only going to use your local cineworld.
Given it costs roughly £7 to see a movie, if we went twice a month (this is any night of the week bare in mind) then the card essentially paid for itself. Added to this, you recieve an e-newsletter detailing new films that were coming soon and you also received vouchers for money off food and drink at the cinema.
I feel I really need to split this review into 2 parts:
*The Card itself*
Te idea in theory is a very good one. Customers pay a set subscription each month and in return can use the cinema as much as they like. The company also receives a guaranteed 12 month fee, which in a time of recession and disposable income being less, is good for their balance sheet.
The card you receive has your picture on it, so there is not really the chance to lend it around. It is about the size of a standard credit card and so fits easily in the wallet. Often there is a seperate queue at the cinema for cardholders which can be useful during busy periods.
Cineworld cinemas are fairly standard as movie theatres go. The toilets are usually cleaned to a good standard, I've never had to move due to lack of legroom, and the food is the standard overpriced / underflavoured stuff you would come to expect.
The only thing not included on the card were 3D films. Although I never went to see one, I believe you had to pay an additional £3 for the pleasure.
*Why I cancelled my card and am no longer a member*
You would think that the deal would be worth continuing even if you just went twice a month as the card would pay for itself. I didn't, I cancelled and so did my girlfriend and I will list my reasons below:
1. Cineworld decided to change the cost of subscription from £13.99 to £15.99. I emailed them to ask what their justification was and what improvements I could expect to see from the 12.5% increase. Basically I was going to see no improvements and they could not give me a justifiable reason for the increase.
2. I work, my girlfriend works and so in order to get to the evening film times we would have to either eat out or eat at the cinema if we wanted to go during the week (I'll explain why I don't like weekend films later in the review). Now although the deal for the cinema was good, when you add on a meal every time it soon becomes quite an expensive endeavour.
3. If we decided to eat at the cinema, the food was pretty dire. To charge someone £6+ for a coke and a plastic container of nachos and horrendous cheese dip is a bit of a liberty.
4. Although unlimited cinema seems great, how many films per month do you *actually* want to go and see. For me, it was maybe one or two on a good month. To go to the cinema to see a film you are not that bothered about soon became a bit of a chore, and I don't really like doing things for the sake of it.
5. For me, when I was a child I used to enjoy the magic of the cinema. The big screen, the surround sound, the smell of the popcorn. As an adult though I find myself less and less impressed by this rather worn facade. I have a big TV at home, I have a surround sound system at home. I know I can knock up a better meal than I can get in the cinema. I know that when I am at home I don't have people incessantly talking away, laughing at bits that aren't funny and kicking my seat...other than my gf but I make allowances!
On more than one occassion I had to go and find a member of staff because either the film had not started or the picture was mis-alligned and so we could only see half the film. Another time the sound was out of sync with the picture.
Now I know you are thinking "what a grumpy old git", I'm really not, I am 27 and do really enjoy films, however the experience at the cinema is really nothing like what it used to be. The cinema used to be a treat, a night out, something to look forward to. Now I don't find it is any of these.
I don't go near them on weekends because it is full of teenagers shouting at each other, playing with their phones and just generally being annoyances. I know kids will be kids but I challenge anyone not to get annoyed when they are trying to concentrate on a film only to have a constant disturbance from someone who clearly has no intent on watching the film.
6. As we both had Unlimited cards, that was the equivalent of £32 a month. Consider the following:
-Lovefilm membership is from £3.99 a month, and I can get Playstation games on that as well.
-I could probably buy 3/4 new release DVDs on Play or Amzon for £32 a month.
Both of these options are much cheaper, plus I can watch them in the comfort of my own home on my own cinema system. No kids, no plastic nachos, no adverts at the beginning that went on for so long the film actually started half an hour after the scheduled start time!
I can't argue that the deal will not be great for some people. Go twice a month and that is the card paid for. If you are someone that goes regularly to the cinema and have a cineworld near you then you would be crazy not to take up the offer.
However, for me the cinema has really lost its appeal for many of the reasons I listed above.
Don't get me wrong, I will still go every now and then when there is a really hyped up film, or something comes out that I *have* to see on the massive screen. Other than that, the "wow" factor that cinemas once held is sadly gone for me.
Summary: If you can put up with the cinema experience nowadays then this is for you