2014 has marked a year of expansion for the local cinema powerhouse Ster-Kinekor with new cinema complexes and IMAX theaters opening left right and center. When it was announced that another Ster-Kinekor cinema complex was opening, a few might have found themselves thinking “yeah whatever”. What has peaked interest about the new cinema complex is its location, Newtown, Johannesburg CBD.
If you are familiar with the Johannesburg CBD you will know it is not the classiest, cleanest, or safest area in the beautiful city of Johannesburg, the city has not been the same since its apartheid glory years. In recent years though the CBD has gone through a major redevelopment, with building renovations, new hip spots attracting the young, trendy, arty cool new urban kids that in the past wouldn’t dare set foot in the mix of the CBD lifestyle.
Ster-Kinekor has decided to ride the wave of change by opening a beautiful theatre cinema in the recently completed Newtown Junction Shopping Centre. For a cinema targeted at the predominant surrounding student network, what is really impressive is the simplistic yet sophisticated design; this features the standard plasma preview screens and massive Ster-Kinekor branding which makes up an entrance that exudes youthful modernity.
The new cinema complex utilizes the state of the art innovative technology, no longer will you be frustrated by long ticket and popcorn cues. Ster-Kinekor has implemented a first of its kind in the world, a self-catering service whereby you can buy your movie ticket and order your refreshments, which are then collected at the food counter where your order is packaged. Unfortunately refreshment prices are still going to cost you quiet a bit of your change (something they are yet to address), but the new self-service technology has addressed a major issue that has frustrated many movie goers.
The cinema only gets better as you make your way towards the theatre, your movie ticket is no longer validated by the friendly staff tearing your ticket method, the ticket validation process now involves a scanning method at the stationed terminal with the assistance of the cinema staff; whether this actually saves time is still uncertain but it will certainly ease the administration that goes into keeping track of the cinema goers. What really sets this cinema complex apart is evident once you enter the main theatre cinema 1, you are instantly greeted by a massive IMAX like screen, space and comfort. The space according to ‘Operations Manager’ Doug Place has also been built as a multi-purpose theatre that will be utilized not only for the latest movies but will lend itself to live performances, private and corporate function that can utilize the stage built just in front of the screen and the stage lighting rigs you wouldn’t normally find in a conventional theatre, pretty smart huh!
All this technology, innovation, design and popcorn (still pricy) give you a really seamless high-end movie going experience. Ster-Kinekor Theatres are generally only as good as their intended market, such is the sad case of Maponya Mall, Sterland Shopping Center and Carlton Center, that might cause one to have low expectations for this complex. The great news is that it far exceeds expectations; aside from size (six theatres), it lodges competition for even the affluent Sandton City cinema complex.
After your first visit you will soon be a regular.