The cinematic competition in Canberra is set to become more intense than the Academy Awards ceremony this Australia Day long weekend.
Gone are the days of the Candy Bar teaming with mountains of buttery popcorn and syrupy soft drinks, from Thursday local movie lovers will be able to watch the latest blockbusters, international films or cheesy rom-coms with Australian cheese platters, French Champagne and triple chocolate sundaes topped with Chantilly cream.
The long awaited Palace Cinema in New Acton has opened for business and for Civic’s long standing Dendy Cinema, it means ticketing war – John Wayne style.
Upon first glance at both entertainment venues websites, the two state-of-the-art complexes offer similar screenings and showing times.
Dendy, the home of the Canberra International Film Festival, boasts seven screens, two Premium Class cinemas and over 1100 seats meanwhile Palace Electric’s brand new $5 million fit out includes eight licensed theatres and a Prosecco bar which serves olive oil popcorn, gourmet choc tops and barista made coffee.
While Dendy’s Reel Mums program will see mothers with small children flocking back to the cinema in February, Palace Electric will on offer a similar program titled “Babes in Arms”.
Coinciding with its competitor's opening, Dendy in Canberra is also offering "mates rates this long weekend", and is discounting ticket prices from the normal $18 to $13 each for a 2D movie.
The first major event on Palace’s calendar will be hosting the Lavazza Italian Film Festival in early February and will, like Dendy, screen performances from international ballet and opera companies including the Royal Opera.
The Canberra Times has compared the basic costs involved for a couple wishing to see the Oscar nominated Silver Linings Playbook this Australia Day long weekend:
2 x adult tickets to Silver Linings Playbook (January 26, 6.30pm, 122 minutes) - $26 (normally $36)
Online booking fee - $1
Parking - $2
Cinema goers are encouraged to park at the Canberra Centre which is $2 flat fee until midnight.
Total - $29
2 x adult tickets to Silver Linings Playbook (January 26, 7.10pm, 122 minutes) - $37 ($27 for Palace Electric Movie Club members)
Online booking fee - $1
Parking - $3
Palace patrons will receive a 50 per cent discount on parking fees at the Nishi New Acton car park. According to the Palace Electric website Acton Park and London Circuit car parks are a five minute walk from the cinema and 30 designated bicycle spots are also available.
Total - $41
Both Dendy and Palace Electric have movie club memberships available offering discounts and special offers.