Tired of the same old mainstream movies? Sometimes it seems like we’re watching the same thing week in and week out. Why not try a cult classic, independent film or even a documentary at one of South Africa’s few surviving independent cinemas. Some of them offer screenings outdoors (how romantic!) and most of them let you bring in, or order, great food and even some booze too. Spend the summer outdoors watching great movies with friends and family. What could be better?
1. The Bioscope Independent Cinema
The Bioscope, in the heart of Jozi’s old town, on the ground floor of Main Street Life in the Maboneng Precint, offers you more than the typical mainstream films. Think small international films or documentaries and even locally made films. A single screen, 62–seater independent indoor cinema theatre, The Bioscope is equipped with a High-Definition video projector and is open seven days a week. Films are screened every night of the week, but seats are not allocated so arrive early to pick your spot.
If you’re a fan of watching your flicks outside, they offer this occasionally in association with Jameson Irish Whiskey. Make sure you watch the website though, once the event is confirmed you’ll find the details online—they’re in different locations every time.
*Take a look online for their latest ticket special with adjoining restaurant Chalkboard. R125 for ticket, pizza & drink. And you can hire the cinema too.
2. The Petit Alhambra
For a luxurious cinematic experience head to The Orient Hotel, here you’ll find one of the most opulent private cinemas in Pretoria and Johannesburg. Seating only 20 people, this venue has rich burgundy carpets; velvet, curtain-draped walls and plush upholstered seating. The Petit Alhambra can play host to a wide range of events, including screenings, product launches, corporate presentations, photo shoots and even weddings.
The venue also has its own regular cinema club, which shows a variety of genres, from cult to classic films from around the world.
3. The Pink Flamingo at the Grand Daddy Hotel
For a funky and stylish movie night, celebrate the silver screen in an outdoor cinema right beneath the African sky, at the Pink Flamingo Rooftop Cinema. What makes this setting so unique is being surrounded by seven vintage Airstream trailers on the rooftop of the Grand Daddy Hotel. Snuggle up, order a picnic basket and some bubbly because this open-air rooftop cinema is open all year round.
There are three seating options for booking movie tickets: General Seating, the Love Seat and the Couch—all these tickets include a welcome drink, bag of sweets and popcorn. Then for an additional cost, add a delicious picnic basket to your ticket.
* Available for private functions, so you can host an event on the roof or arrange your own private screening.
4. Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa
A very popular choice in Cape Town is The Twelve Apostles’ intimate, 16-seater cinema/screening room. Don’t worry, it’s not only for hotel guests—and it’s also available for exclusive private hire. Each month a new schedule of movies is set, running five times a day and may be accompanied with breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Sink into plush leather seats with state-of-the-art flat screen Dolby surround sound, and a yummy assortment of goodies, including popcorn, hot chocolate, milkshakes and candy.
*For another private cinema experience at a hotel, look up the Pepper Club Luxury Hotel and Spa—they offer private monthly themed movie and dinner evenings. And guests dining at Salt & Pepper on Friday or Saturday evenings get in free. www.pepperclub.co.za/odeon-cinema/
5. The Galileo
The Galileo is an outdoor cinema experience like no other. And no matter where you are in Cape Town it seems like there is a venue near you—operating at Kirstenbosch, Hillcrest Quarry, V&A Waterfront, Cape Winelands, The Castle of Good Hope, Central Park, Fedisa Rooftop, Meerendal Wine Estate, Noordhoek Common and Kelvin Grove. All ages are welcome and you can expect old school blockbusters on the screen—from romantic comedies, cult classics, musicals, adventure sports and documentaries.
There is also food available at each venue, you can expect artisanal market food, craft beer, coffee, sweets and wine. (Because we know movies and wine are the perfect pairing!)
Movies run from Tuesdays to Fridays and selected Saturdays and Sundays—but only in the summer season, starting 31 October and ending 29 April 2017. Tickets are available online.
6. Movie Night At Home
In Durban you’ll have to create that outdoor (or indoor) private cinema experienceyourself. And what could be more fun? Movie Night At Home is a brand new, popular package giving you the option to create a full pop-up cinema at your home—in your backyard, field or park—including big screen, projector, sound, popcorn machine and, if you wish, slushies, sweetie bar, and even movie tickets. Packages can be customised to suit your needs, but the movie itself is up to you and needs to be supplied on DVD.
*Also in Johannesburg, Pretoria and the rest of Gauteng.