The choices are limited for weekday night outings in Jozi. You generally will go out for dinner or a movie or both. As much as I love going to the cinema the experience is always the same. The social aspect is lacking and the environment involves a stuffy shopping mall. This is where Air Cinema comes into the picture. Like the name suggests the experience is watching a movie out in the open air on a rooftop overlooking Jhb city centre (usually the top of the neighbourgoods market). Munching on popcorn, enjoying a drink (which can be alcoholic), whilst relaxing on a beanbag and taking in the gorgeous view of the city… what’s not to love!
The idea behind Air cinema is to make the cinema experience social once more. Classic movies are screened in the hope of encouraging people to get excited about cinema and the conversation flowing on film discussions.Tickets can be bought online from webtickets. R120 for movie only, R150 for movie and afterparty, R100 for afterparty only and R150 for movie and right to take your own food in. Cinema goers are encouraged to dress according to the theme of the movie. I attended the Friday the 13th Texas chainsaw massacre movie where some people dressed in scary attire.
The effort the team went to set the scene was amazing. From the moment we entered there was a cordoned of police scene with a hanging chainsaw and bloody words encouraging you to Facebook and tweet using the Air cinema hashtag. I didn’t like having to walk up five flights of stairs – you guys know how lazy I am! I would have missed all the cool decor if I hadn’t. Fake blood, dead pigeons, dead dogs, burnt bodies, voodoo dolls and demon heads kept us company on our walk to the top.
In the food area a newspaper clippings wall was set up with missing person articles and scary stories. There was also a voodoo room and a Dexter style operating room. It was great to see the attention to detail in ensuring that the experience started way before the movie began.
The food we had to choose from was nachos, burritos, hotdogs, boerewors rolls, chicken pieces and waffles. Prices are decent at R40. I didn’t think it was fair that vegetarian nachos are the same price as chicken and beef. I opted for the chicken nachos which I didnt like as it was quite a heavy meal to eat before lying down on a beanbag. The portion is quite large and I felt the food upsetting. Unfortunately all the food options on offer are junk.
I think it would be nice if you could eat in the food area with some tables and picnic style benches or beanbags. This area was an empty space with no vibe as people buy their food and leave. Sitting on the beanbags and eating in the cinema area is not ideal as it is quite dark and cramped. My advice is eat somewhere else beforehand. Eating the food there doesn’t contribute or form an integral part of the experience so rather give it a skip! I would have loved different types of sweet options sold like a mix of candies and chocolate or candy floss. Drinks were quite expensive. A lime and soda water as well as passion fruit, lemonade and vodka came to R70. Unlimited popcorn served in the cutest containers on the rooftop is complimentary and included in the ticket price.
A really gross aspect for me were the bathrooms. The toilets had no seat and no water meant no flushing either. Neither was there any soap or water to wash hands. Totally utterly disgusting. We were at the venue early and secured our spot. Most people arrived late in big groups and then struggled to get seats together. If you are going in a big group I would advise getting there before 8. Tickets are sold to accommodate 350 people. While this sounds quite cramped for a small rooftop once everyone is seated you don’t feel that space is an issue. The big annoying problem was that people got up every 15min to buy more beer or go to the bathroom. You wouldn’t do this in a normal movie so why now?! I wish people did all their business before hand. Unfortunately people with only a few brain cells lined the open spaces against the wall with beanbags which are meant for space and walking. This meant there was no walking space whatsoever. People doing a very dodge balancing act trying not to spill their beer or step on you was a disturbance that really detracted from the experience. This is obviously not the organizers fault but more a function of the people attending.
The cinema crowd was split into the arty peeps who actually came to watch a movie and the loud offensive drunks who came for a drinking beer and smoking weed opportunity. With the chosen movie being a horror and the event held on a Friday night it certainly attracted plenty of the latter. I think the more arty films screened on a Thursday draws a better crowd.
We packed blankets as it did get chilly with it being out in the open and off the ground. The floor is quite dirty as drinks and food get spilt so I would recommend leaving the pretty handbag at home ladies.
The idea behind air cinema is a great one. It is a different and innovative take of a movie experience in a new and fun way. This is just one of many new events taking place to get people back into the city. I really loved that we were on a rooftop, underneath the stars watching a movie. The group of people present on the night made it difficult to concentrate and watch the actual movie. If you are there with the intention to watch a movie you will get annoyed by the people that view it as a drinking opportunity not a movie viewing one. I think that this is not ideal for a romantic date but as a large group of friends you are bound to enjoy it. It is definitely more fun and social than a visit to an ordinary cinema. The movies screened are not the latest blockbusters but it’s always good to watch a cult favourite that you might not have seen before. I will definitely be going again with a group of friends!
Popcorn & Movies,