Top 5 Canberra Cinemas
Generally, living in Canberra does not give one a lot of options and choices. Its either one or the other and sometimes that might even be stretching it. Now though, going to the movies is full of choice with the latest edition to the Canberra market, Palace Electric Cinema in New Acton. This is a quick guide to the Canberra cinema scene and where you might want to be seen.
5: Greater Union Cinema Manuka is housed in the Capitol Theatre building, which was originally built in 1927 but was bulldozed and turned into a ‘modern’ cinema in 1980. The interior and style of the cinema remains as was in that decade with its flat floor seating, of the time carpet as well as the traditional single letter insert signboard showing movie screening times. While relatively inexpensive and showing current blockbuster movies, Event Cinemas, owners of Greater Union could attempt to update the complex to somewhat compete with others such as Dendy and Palace as well as to fit in with the vibrant and modern urban feel of that area of Canberra. Basic ticket prices are $15 for adults.
4: Hoyts has been around in Canberra since the mid 90’s when Westfield Belconnen opened their new extension making it the first cinema to be in a shopping centre in the ACT. Subsequently in the 90’s other Hoyts cinemas popped up in Woden as well as Tuggeranong. As far as experiences go, Hoyts is pretty standard and has been basic in its presentation, which has been popular especially with high school students in these town centres. The prices of some movie tickets are questionable especially considering that for a few dollars more you could be sitting in a smaller, more boutique style cinema. But the convenience in location wins overall. Basic Ticket prices are $17 for adults and $7.50 on Tuesdays.
3: Limelight Cinema is the evolution of former Hoyts Tuggeranong. In 2010 after Hoyts chose not to renew their lease with the Hyperdome, Limelight Cinema was born. It is the only one of its kind in Australia, and while it still uses the same setup as the previous tenant, they have added their own style and design which makes the cinema more welcoming and relaxed compared to the dark design of Hoyts which carried over from the 90’s. Also the ticket prices are ridiculously good and the seats are ridiculously comfy. The only downside is that it is a bit of a drive for those in the north of Canberra. Basic ticket prices are $11 for adults and $7 on Tuesdays.
2: Dendy came to the Canberra market with the promise of being upmarket, boutique with international films and a premium cinema with Champaign (which Canberra had been deprived of) and it delivered. Hiding high up in the Canberra Centre’s newly built North Quarter, Dendy brought a bit of class back to going to see a film. While its ticket prices reflect its high end market position, it is well worth it with allocated seating (another first for Canberra) as well as several smaller sized cinema rooms too. Hoyts has now introduced allocated seating but nobody seems to abide by the rules. There is even the ability to lift the centre armrest in the seats to create one large seat for a couple to snuggle in while watching a film. Although it is a bit awkard to figure out which side to snuggle on as the seat does rise in the centre. Overall Dendy has been the place to take a date to impress especially in its great central location to the city’s dining areas. Basic Tickets are $18 for adults and $11 on Tuesday.
1: Palace Electric Cinema is Canberra’s newest cinema complex but you really wouldn’t know if you hadn’t heard about it. Located in New Acton in the new Nishi building, Palace fits perfectly in the new modern style that New Acton has created for itself. When you first walk in, the impression created isn’t spectacular. The foyer and ticketing counter is very small and certainly does not give away the style of the cinema until you buy your ticket and walk down to the cinemas themselves. Once the ushers rips your ticket, you are let in into a large round room with a bar right in the centre. Every cinema room at Palace is like Dendy’s Premium as you are allowed to take in a bubbly beverage with you. The cinemas themselves are small capacity similar to Dendy but there is not as much legroom. Like Dendy there are many international film screenings to compliment the current crop of popular films. Palace is Canberra’s newest hidden secret so if you can find it and a car space hidden in New Acton, then it is certainly worth the trouble. Basic Tickets are $18.50 for adults.
For value, Limelight is the clear winner.
For location, Hoyts Belconnen and Woden.
For ‘class’, Dendy and Palace.
For nostalgia of the 1980s, Greater Union Manuka.