I walk into a dark room, in front of me: a 4 by 8 meter big screen, it is magnificent. It shines somewhat silver, mesmerising. A promise, anticipation. A lifetime later I walk out of the same cinema. Escaping the cocoon of emotional revelation. My heart feels light, heavy, I wipe my tears, tears of sadness, tears of joy.
A few years ago, there were only a couple of stations available on television. We could rent a movie from the local video shop or go watch it at the bioscope. Our choices of entertainment where very limited. But in today’s technologically developed world, the newest, oldest and weirdest movies are immediately available via high-speed internet or satellite television. An abundance of affordable, quality content was never as easily accessible as now.
Movie-theatre-culture or going to the movies are questioned by a lot of members of the public. The main reason is the costs linked to such an outing. You can easily pay between R35 and R75 for a movie ticket, depending on which cinema you visit. Obviously, the price increases for 3D-, 4D- and prestige-cinemas and you can cough up an astounding R150 for a single movie ticket. However, the whole outing wouldn’t be complete without a box of popcorn and something cold to quench the salty thirst. Add parking, 3D-glasses, and petrol to the bill and we are looking at a substantial amount.
I believe, however, that if the quality of the movie exceeds the viewers’ expectations, the price of a movie ticket will never be too much. But back to …
… the second reason on our list why people are hesitant to visit the cinemas, is the lack of etiquette of some of the other movie-goers. Die loud chewing of popcorn, cellphone light that goes on, even cell phones that ring and then the chatterboxes. Naturally, this makes the comfort of home-theatre much more attractive.
But movies aren’t designed to play optimally on a 40-inch television screen. Movies are made to be seen on the big screen. The high quality and magnificent screen, combined with the surround-sound, enhances the ultimate experience of feeling part of the story playing off in front of you.
Then, naturally, there is the fact that you see it first whilst sharing a communal experience. This experience demands your undivided attention to transport you to another world where it is lovely to use all of your senses and escape from reality. The dreamlike state you find yourself in has some sort of a healing effect, as it brightens your mood almost instantly.
And then, of course, it is a very good excuse to get out of the house and go do something, or to treat someone special.
There are also various ways to lower the cost of going to the movies: Vitality-members get up to 50% discount on movie tickets. On Tuesdays all movies are half price at Ster-Kinekor theaters and on Wednesdays NuMetro has Woza Wednesday. Edgars Club cards and pensioners cards also get your tickets discounted and I’m not even mentioning the huge variety of competitions you can enter to win you a movie ticket.
As a student I questioned the value of going to the movies and decided that visiting the cinema was a waist of money and time. My empty wallet wasn’t a joke and the fact that we exchanged pirated movies with other students, didn’t really help me sleep sound at night.
Pad na jou Hart hit the big screen and everyone was in awe about this true South African movie experience. Good marketing, a strong trailer and the fact that Donnalee Roberts is an old-Tukkie, convinced me to give the cinema one more chance. I scraped together my last few rands for the month and decided to go watch this movie at Brooklyn Mall’s Ster-Kinekor.
It changed my entire life. Ivan Botha and Donnalee Roberts’ magnetic performance demanded my attention for almost two hours. I walked out as a new person. When I got into my car, I burst out in tears. I was so unbelievably proud to be South African, to be Afrikaans. I was inspired to realise my dream and to contribute to the South African entertainment industry.
I am currently working in the film industry and I realise the negative impact pirating has on our industry. If we support quality South African movies, there will consequently be a bigger budget to improve local productions.
So spoil yourself, treat yourself and spend a few rand on the local industry to ensure that we can stay Proudly South African.