Wednesday 30 March 2011


Here in the UK, one of our major cinema chains is Cineworld. They offer a pass, for £13.50 a month (or the one I have, £16.50 a month, which includes Central London cinemas) and in return for paying a monthly fee you get to see as many films as you want. Unlimited. You could go four times a day. Any Cineworld cinema.

Is it worth it? Well, the simple answer is: of course! It's fantastic! Unlimited movies for £16.50 a month! I'm in heaven!

But, it's not heaven. I mean, it's still the best deal in town. Especially in London town, when a trip to see a shit movie costs £15 (Odeon WEST END, peak time price: £15.65).

So, it is the best deal in town, and we should be thankful we have it. But it does have its limitations. Cineworld are a chain who put on the same films everywhere. Of course, they have to cater to everyone's needs -- and, unfortunately, most people want to see films like "Battle: Los Angeles", so it's everywhere. But so are all the others. Right now, "Lincoln Lawyer," "Hall Pass", "A Turtle's Tale" etc are showing in pretty much all of them. And as I look at all the Cineworld cinemas in the London area, and there are a lot of them, there are no surprises. Even with cinemas that are geographically pretty close -- they all mirror each other.

Once you've seen a couple of movies that you want to see and dodged a few that you don't, you have no choice. I admit, by this time, you've already "got your money's worth" as Cineworld Unlimited members like to say. But have you?

Before the passes; we used to go see movies we wanted to see. Maybe we'd go to the Apollo to see an indie flick, then we'd go see a documentary on the Screen On The Green, then we'd see a big blockbuster at an Odeon or a Cineworld. But now, after the slim-Cineworld-pickings are done; you're left wanting more. You're left wanting a good movie. A life altering movie.

But they're never shown at Cineworld.

£16.50 a month. It seems cheap. A great deal. And it is. But that's £198 a year ($318). That's a lot of money to give to a cinema chain, especially when you're essentially only getting access to the studio products and the well-marketed-indiewood flicks.

So you're down £200, and you still want to see good movies.

Of course it's still good value if you love movies and want to go see all the new releases every week. But how many people REALLY have viewing habits like that? Not many. Most people with these passes see two or three films a month just to feel they "got their money back".

You could see eighteen films a month at Cineworld and It'd only cost you £16.50 (or £13.50 outside Central London..). Now that's great. But if you saw eighteen films, it means you had to sit through "Faster" and "Furry Vengeance". But you're missing out on the incredible variety of films in London because you're beholden to your Unlimited card.

In summary; it's a great deal, and in so many ways, totally worth it. But most people buy it on the assumption that you're buying access to everything, but you're not. You're buying access to a part of it. And if you love films, like me, you'll find that you still go to a variety of cinemas, yet Cineworld own a piece of your bank account every single month. 

Care to share?


  1. I got a casual job at a cinema (not a Cineworld), comfy, friendy, and I see films for free. Result! :)

  2. My twin brother has one of these and he has terrible taste in films.

    COINCIDENCE?! I think not!

  3. Undeniably the question as to whether the card is value for money has to be yes, especially when you weigh in the price of a standard ticket, a months cost of the unlimited card is equal to watching two films a month. So as long as you go twice then you're getting your moneys worth.

    But with the question of films I think you might be a tad harsh. The majority of films they show are the current Blockbusters, but lets not forget the times I've gone to see such classics as Back to the Future, The Blues Brothers, Ghostbusters and Scarface in there. And that's not including the amount of Bollywood, concerts and Operas shown (which reminds me I still need to watch Endhiran )

    It is after all a chain and like most chains they go for the popular titles, but as the Bollywood films show they do cater towards the audience and I think that's the key point, there has to be an audience of a certain amount before they show some of the other stuff, perhaps more of us need to turn up at the Blues Brothers screenings to help push for older films to be shown, or more of us need to turn up and watch more well-marketed-indiewood flicks to help push the lesser known ones through?
    At the end of the day as fun as it is sitting in a cinema with a couple of other people with no one spoiling the film, that's the kind of turn out that probably costs the cinema and that's when the Prince Charles loyalty card comes in handy, random films you'd love to see in the cinema but wouldn't normally get the chance, whether it's because it's an old film or a film not known or not cared about by the average person, in a cinema with like minded people with a nice cold glass of beer to help you relax into the film a little more. Sure you gotta get to London, which can be a pain on occasion (even more so if you don't live London XD) but it's more within reach for poeple than my local Cineworld for the majority of people I'd imagine lol.

    Cineworld take a bit of my cash every month, but I knew what I was getting when I signed up for it, I wasn't expecting anything other than the latest films that every other chain cinema is showing, it's a hangout with friends a place to turn off and unwind or a place to moan about the latest film you've seen, at least this way I don't feel so bad if I see some utter shit like Scott Pilgrim or Sky Line, it makes my moaning feel that little better when my brains going, well you didn't pay £9 to see that pile of shit.

    The only real thing that makes me question my Cineworld pass value is the fact that they NEVER have any hotdogs cooked! WTF!! I DEMAND A HOTDOG WITH MY FILM!

  4. oh and the having to pay extra for 3d films sucks as well (even if you have your own 3d specs)... forgot about that

  5. I have the the red £13.50 per month card and I get the opportunity to experience the diverse film genres available from the unlimited. Films that I would not pay full single price for.

    Good or bad I get a chance to see them in the true spectrum of real movie format. Some of the cinemas are older and neglected down trodden. Some areas attract the older generation and the younger generation. (Nice to have both at the same time evens the balance.)

    You have to be selective about when you go to avoid the times when the bad mannered inconsiderate types would go. This is also down to movie selection, certain types of movies attract a particular crowd.

    Its true to say that your lucky if you get some of the more independent films on limited release come your way. Your more lucky if you live near to a 14 + screen cineworld. Its a real bore to just be left with only the mainstream selection. The bigger cinemas further up north, have more screens and will often get the film that you realy wanted to see. The unusual movie that holds your interest. The one that can not afford overpriced marketing bombarding media coverage or down your throat tactics. It also speaks volumes about the area when you see the film selection available.

    Thats the one thing I hate about the cards you do not always have access to the films you want to see without having to travel out. I often do to nice larger cinemas that are well kept and where staff look a bit more happy. The cards are good value we have to get the most out of them. I won't be traveling beyond the london zones 6. I just have to live with it. I just hope cineworld build bigger nearer to me...then I become one of the lucky ones. Yes hate having to fork out for extra 1.50 for 3D on top of the cards. Form the last 2 years I can see most of the 3d has just fleeting moments in the movies exceptions to some...Alice in wonderland!!! I used to work for cineworld, and I have gone to other cinemas but I come to cineworld because of the unlimited card. If the unlimited did not exist I would not bother with the cinema and I would miss out on all of this. Unlimited customers respect the cinema more because we know we are coming back again the week after and we are going to see the same staff. So I hope some big boss from cineworld will read this blog and note that we want more access to the limited released films, send the movie reels down after one cinema has finished even if its is for a one of special showing. Cineworld are becoming more well known everywhere. Other cinema chains are fading out. HOw long before the conveyor belt movie choice becomes the limited choice and we all accept it. What does the movie choice in your local cineworld say about your area? and what does watching only mainstream brainwashing hyped up movies do to our impression of society? Are we all going to eventually miss the point of film when we find it easier to choose price over genuine creative talent.

    I am enjoying the card and trying my best to see the full range of genres available. Film has given me more than escapism and brainwashing entertainment so much more...

  6. Wow I wrote to much my thoughts on this subject are unlimited.

    I forgot to say yes
    Its worth it.

  7. I have to say that the cineworld at Piccadilly does not show all blockbuster films for example it did not show the last Harry Potter film I had to go to the O2 branch to see that so I disagree that all the cineworlds show the same films as they do not.

  8. I've just signed up for a cineworld card last week - I go twice a week but do find the films on show are not exactly to everyone's tastes. There are a lot of kids films and romcoms - which I'll watch but I wouldn't pay to see them otherwise.

  9. I signed up to a cineworld membership last month decided to go see pacific rim today and the cineworld cinema in hammersmith which I selected made me question if it really is worth it I usually always go to Odeon in Uxbridge or Kingston, the difference is that the screens and seating at odeon are better compared to cineworld. On one hand I agree that watching as many movies as I want for a flat membership fee is worth it, the otherside of the argument is that I enjoy watching movies in IMAX 3D or only 3D, if I decide to see a movie in Imax 3D at cineworld, I will have to pay extra and also the only IMAX screen available at Cineworld at the moment is in enfield.

  10. I bought my pass only after checking If I would have wanted to watch the films anyway.

    I did and now I watch films that I wouldn't have watched if I didn't have a pass.

  11. Don't forget Orange Wednesdays or EE. With the unlimited you can get another person in for free! Cheap date night! :)

  12. Ive had a cineworld card for approx 3 yrs or longer now and get 3d films included but the price has shot up to £16.50 per month.( not including London...see no point...don't live anywhere nr there)
    But with current films costing £10 to go and see just 1, i still think it's a good thing to have.

    I only have a small 9 screen cinema near me and the seats are not all that great..whereas my sister in Milton Keynes has a brand new refurbished one with the new 4dx.

    My only issue is that with a small cineworld only nr to me sometimes theres only 1 new release in a that limits how often i can i don't always enjoy seeing the same film 2-3 times....except the odd few ( Star Tek or Bond ) ;)

    But saying that I would be gutted if for some reason cineworld closed the cinema here and someone like Odeon took over as i would begrudge paying £10 + per film.

  13. With my Unlimited card I now CAN go see all the Indie films I want out of the the great saving I'm making I've seen at least 15 films this year A saving off over £170 and if Cine world are not showing the type of movie I like out of the left over money I can pay to see it as a one off cost

  14. I used to have a Cineworld unlimited. Not very close as I live in Canterbury I would have to get an expensive train ride and a bus to get to the one in Ashford. However, to get my moneys worth I would plan to watch 3/4 films all in that day which lunch at one of the restaurants. Now however, I drive so it's more accessible but the prices are about £18 a month. Which when you look at the prices of local cinemas: Vue in Thanet is has now reduced to £5, Carlton is £3 but only has 3 screens. It is far cheaper to just go to one of those. They certainly have more variety so the films that are on are generally the films you want to see. I also have meerkat 2-1 movies so me and my boyfriend only pay £5 per movie and we go once a week. All in all, I personally find it's not worth it.

  15. Of course it's worth it, if you go twice in a month - 2 single tickets at MY CineWorld is MORE than the cost of the monthly subscription. And as I have read in the comments, I now go to films that I would not risk wasting money on, and often I am pleasantly surprised. I don't go twice a month religously - one month I might go 4 times and another not at all, but I do know I am getting value for money. Oh, and throw in the fact that the local eateries give up to 25% discount, how can that not be good value. The CineWorld unlimited card is amazing. Period.