There are three locations in The Fort that people can go and watch movies, each location is in a mall and is operated by the mall owner.
- SM Aura Cinemas. located on the 4th floor of SM Aura Premier
- Bonifacio High Street Cinemas located on the 4th floor of Central Plaza, BHS
- Market!Market! Cinemas located on the 5th floor of Market!Market! Mall
Since movie ticket prices can vary by movies, we compared the ticket price of one specific movie “Guardians of the Galaxy”, a 2-hour movie, played from the last week of July 2014 in the three cinema locations.
|SM Aura Cinemas|
|- Regular digital 2D cinemas||P260|
|- Director’s Club||P400|
|Bonifacio High Street cinemas|
|- Regular 2D ATMOS||P280|
|- Regular 2D||P220|
The differences in ticket price can be attributed mainly to the film format (2D/3D/IMAX), sound system, and comfort level of the seats. ATMOS, for example, is a sound system that includes Dolby Surround sound and overhead speakers.
Viewing Angle and Picture Quality
All three cinemas (2D) gave our movie goers unobstructed view of the movie. Both BHS Cinemas and Aura Cinemas received the top rating of 5 stars from our investigators for picture quality, while Market!Market! Cinemas was given a still respectable 4 stars rating.
We can see that even for regular 2D theaters, the ticket price has a big range.
Let us look at the seats.
|Inside seat width||Leg room|
|SM Aura 2D cinema||18 inches||25 inches|
|Market!Market! cinema 2D||18.5 inches||14 inches|
|BHS Cinemas (the Lounge)||14 inches||1 meter|
If we look at the premier 2D theatres, in SM Aura they are called Director’s Club and in Bonifacio High Street, they are called Lounge. Both charge P400 per seat. The main difference between these premier theatres and the regular theatres is the size of the seat. They feature reclining sofa type chairs with foot rests. The space between rows is therefore much bigger, as much as 1 meter, to allow the reclining chair to open to its full length.
The number of seats in each of these premier theatres is also much smaller than the regular 2D theatres. There are about 25 seats in each of SM Aura’s Director’s Club theatre, while the Lounge (Cinema 1) at Bonifacio High Street Cinemas has 106 seats. The space between seats in the Director’s Club is quite big. Even when two seats are connected, there is a big side table between them for placing of food and drinks. BHS Cinema’s Lounge is less generous in this department.
For most people, watching a movie is just that. But some cinemas are keen to boost revenue by restricting the food that movie goers can bring in to a theatre to those purchased from designated stalls. In this regard, Market!Market! cinemas are the least restrictive. You can bring in any food item. BHS Cinemas does not seem to have any restrictions, but there are snack stalls located on the same floor of the cinemas, so most people get their snacks from these stalls.
If you go to Aura’s Director’s Club, you are only allowed to order from their snack bar. We ordered a premium burger and hotdog, they were heated up by microwave and left to cool down before being served to us. Our advice to movie goers is “do not try these in the cinema”.
Cleanliness and Services
Both BHS Cinemas and Aura Cinemas got 5 stars for cleanliness and services. At the end of the show, there were workers outside waiting to clean the cinemas. BHS Cinemas provided booster chairs for children upon request, and provided food trays for when you bring snacks in.
Market!Market! got 3 stars for both cleanliness and services. The staff were a bit rude and very unhelpful when we made enquiries about the sound systems used in the cinemas.
Nowadays, we expect all information to be available online. All the cinemas’ show schedules and ticket prices can be found in either the companies’ websites, or entertainment websites such as www.clickthecity.com.
Aura cinema’s show schedule: www.smcinema.com/movies
It shows three days of schedule.
For Market! Market! and BHS Cinemas, as both malls belong to the same group of companies, the show schedules can be found in this website: www.sureseats.com/theaters
The website shows seven-day schedule including today's, but complete schedule is provided only for first three days.
How about online ticket purchase? Sureseats.com provides a means to buy ticket online. No such service for SM Aura cinemas yet.
Residents and workers in The Fort are indeed privileged, as we can choose which kind of movie experience we are willing to pay for. You want the experience of a home theatre? Aura’s Cinemas has it. You want to just watch the movie like in the good and cheaper old days? Market!Market! cinemas are there to serve you. You want to stroll around in open area after watching a movie? BHS Cinemas is the place and the price to match the ambience.