Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from goo.gl/Ta4oAX.
Published December 21st 2012
Watch & buy films at the same place
Yesterday I went to go and see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. I had checked the Odeon times for the 2D screening, and decided to go for 12.20pm. On the day, however, the screen times had changed; all the 2D viewings were now late in the afternoon. I did not want to watch the movie that late because I knew that by the time I came out it would be dark. Instead, I checked for alternative times for the 3D screenings. I tend not to go for 3D films for two reasons: first, I find it distracting, and secondly because of the price. But if it is a choice between 3D or a late viewing, I will go for 3D.
I found another 12.20pm screening of the film, but it was in the IMAX, which meant adding an extra £4.50 onto the ticket price (which was £8.45). There was no way I was paying that much for a cinema ticket.
It then occurred to me that I could go to HMV. The HMV in Wimbledon has its own Curzon cinema on the top floor of the store, and is down the same road as the Odeon. I went online and checked the times; there was a showing at 12.40pm. Although it was in 3D, the tickets were only £8 each as compared to the £11.95 it would have been at the Odeon.
The pricing system is a lot more advantageous at Curzon; they do not charge extra for 3D films, and films seen in the morning and early afternoon are cheaper because they are off peak. Their peak time tickets (early evening onwards) are just as expensive as Odeon tickets (if not more) at £13, but at least you know you are not going to get extra charges on top of that.
The cinema itself looks classy upfront, with an elegant reception area where you can buy drinks (wine, champagne, beer, and cocktails) while you wait for your film to start. It beats having to sit in the screening room. You can buy tea, coffee, and cakes for £2, or cinema snacks for £3.50. The value of this depends on the snack. You could get a big tub of popcorn, or you could be forking out for a small tube of one penny sweets or a packet of crisps.
When I bought the tickets, I was pleased to find that I could use my HMV reward card to build up points. If you are a regular cinema goer, there are also other ways to save money. With four different levels of membership, you can get deals such as free tickets, 15% off drinks and DVDs, a magazine subscription, and more. With membership costing anywhere between £50-£950, it is only really worth it if you are going to the pictures all the time.
The 3D glasses they provide are much more robust than the plastic ones you get at the Odeon (and have to pay a £1 for), but if you are watching a long film (like I was) they do start to chafe your ears.
HMV Curzon is much smaller than the Odeon, and only has three screening rooms, called the Red Room, the Blue Room (for 3D films), and the Green Room (for 2D films). You do not have a designated seat, but just sit where you want. The first come, first serve basis works well because you don't have the problem of late comers disrupting everyone by searching for the correct seat.When I went into the Red Room, it was totally empty. Although not particularly good for them, it is just the way I like it. I think the reason it was so deserted was a) because it was off peak time, and b) the Odeon is right next door, and that is the place most people are going to go to.
If you prefer intimate, quite viewing, at off peak times, the HMV Curzon is a far better place to go. I've never been at peak times, but as it has less seating you might have better luck at the Odeon.