We were super pumped to watch a movie in a Thai cinema, after all the amazing stories we heard from our friends (thanks Jenn and Brian!). Thailand took the cinema experience to a whole new level. We went to the Major Cineplex movie theatre at the CentralFestival Mall, one of the most famous chain of theatres throughout the country, and tried two different types of theatres they offered.
We were in Chiang Mai when The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I was released. No better excuse to head to the movies! As for the Ultra Screen theatres, it was the best of the best, there was nothing else more luxurious. Tickets were only sold in pairs and cost a mere THB 1100 (~USD 35 for 2 people), not much more than how much we would pay for movies back home. Except this was arguably the best cinema experience that we will ever have. To start off, there was a VIP lounge where we chilled out before the movie started.
About 20 minutes before the movie started, staff escorted us to our seats. The entire Ultra Screen theatre was the size of a regular theatre room, but only had 50 seats in total. So as you can imagine, the seats were not common seats – they were the epitome of movie theatre seats. Each pair of seats were sectioned off from other pairs with half-walls in a small booth, giving us more privacy. Fully reclinable gold leather chairs, the seats also came with gold silk pillows as well as a blanket.
As soon as we sat down, a waiter came to serve us. There were three types of popcorn and drinks available, all free of charge and with unlimited refills. The popcorn came in a glass bowl while the drink came in a glass. Whenever we needed anything, all we had to do was wave and a waiter would come in the dark to serve us. We were treated like royalty.
We snuggled into the seats that were as comfortable as a bed, adjusting the back and legrest as we pleased. Along with unlimited popcorn and drinks, we really felt like kings. Combined with Katniss kicking butt, we really savoured every second of it. Ultra Screen is how movies were meant to be enjoyed.
Besides The Hunger Games, Interstellar was also in theatres at the same time. Since it was meant to be watched on IMAX screens, we thought we might as well give that a try. Of course, we didn’t go for any regular IMAX seat, we went for the best!
Instead of the regular rows of seats that filled most of the Thai cinema IMAX, we paid a little bit more for a pair of VIP seats at the top. Again, these can only be bought in pairs for 600 baht (USD 18 for 2 people!), which we thought was a steal. The VIP seats were more roomy, with a pillow and blanket, as well as more privacy. While this was no Ultra Screen, it was still really, really nice. We also nerded over Interstellar, which made us think for days.
Besides Ultra Screen and IMAX, Major Cineplex and Thai cinemas also offered 4DX theatres. Technology developed in South Korea, 4DX is no longer just watching the movie, it’s physically experiencing the movie. The room interacts with you – the seat moves, the room rains, blows wind, releases scents into the air. It certainly makes for a more immersive experience. Looking forward to giving that a try sometime in the future for the right movie.
We will never forget the absolutely amazing Thai cinema, especially Ultra Screen. How will we ever go back to a regular movie theatre ever again?