Articles

How I Went From Cine-Casual to Cinephile With Cineworld Unlimited

Written by Sasha Hornby

Cineworld Unlimited changed me.

Prior to signing up, I was a cine-casual. I would go see the latest Star War or superhero outing with my closest friend or the newest LEGO movie with my son. But 99% of the time I would feed my passion for film with a healthy blend of home releases, Film4 recordings, and Netflix streaming.

Then along came Logan.

Choosing normally to visit the most mutually convenient picture house for me and my cinema buddy, on this spur-of-the-moment occasion I chose my nearest – a Cineworld. I booked my (first ever) single ticket for the last IMAX showing 15 minutes before the start time and excitedly rushed out to get there, getting seated just as the Unlimited advert began; you know the one, with Ben and his mother-in-law and his plumber. After umm-ing and ahh-ing for a month, I took the plunge. 16 months and 61 films later, it is safe to say this was a Very Good Decision™.

There are two leading cinema subscriptions in the UK – Cineworld’s Unlimited and Odeon’s Limitless. A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet, right? £17.90 per month and £17.99 per month respectively (outside Central London), they both offer similar benefits, such as truly unlimited 2D film viewings, local discounts, 10% off cinema snacks and drinks (and in-house Starbucks for Cineworld), plus exclusive screenings and previews. Cineworld upgrade memberships after 1 year to Premium, which includes unlimited 3D films and 25% off cinema snacks and drinks.

Note: for the remainder of this article, I will be talking exclusively about Unlimited, as I have limited knowledge on Limitless.

 

Film was always the religion. Cinema is now the place of worship.

 

If you ask the question “what’s the best way to watch a movie?” my answer would be on the biggest, highest-definition screen, complete with the loudest, crispest audio, in the darkest room I can find. I am, of course, describing the cinema. In the 16 months since signing up for Unlimited, I have seen more films at the cinema than in the preceding decade. A lethal combination of affordability (or lack of) and availability of cinema-going friends (or lack of) kept me from frequenting the multiplex as much as I would have liked. P.L, which I define as the period of time that began “Post-Logan”, has seen my metamorphosis into dedicated cinephile, with over 60% of my trips to the picture house being solo. Cineworld Unlimited is my affordable enabler.

For those looking for some tangible figures ripe for analysis, I’ve put together a table.  For each month I have been an Unlimited member, I have noted the number of films I saw using my membership, the cost to me, the “real cost” had I not been an Unlimited member, the saving, and, for added measure, the average rating (out of 5) I gave the films I saw.

Month  No. of films Cost Real Cost Saving Avg. rating
May-17 1 £17.90 £10.90 -£7.00 5.0
Jun-17 3 £17.90 £32.70 £14.80 4.7
Jul-17 3 £22.60 £37.40 £14.80 3.8
Aug-17 1 £17.90 £10.90 -£7.00 2.5
Sep-17 2 £17.90 £21.80 £3.90 4.3
Oct-17 3 £17.90 £32.70 £14.80 4.2
Nov-17 5 £17.90 £54.50 £36.60 3.4
Dec-17 5 £23.90 £53.40 £29.50 4.6
Jan-18 8 £17.90 £87.20 £69.30 3.5
Feb-18 5 £23.90 £60.50 £36.60 4.6
Mar-18 5 £20.90 £46.60 £25.70 4.0
Apr-18 3 £23.90 £38.70 £14.80 4.2
May-18 3 £17.90 £32.70 £14.80 3.5
Jun-18 4 £17.90 £43.60 £25.70 3.8
Jul-18 5 £17.90 £54.50 £36.60 4.0
Aug-18 (thus far) 5 £17.90 £54.50 £36.60 4.2
TOTAL 61 £312.10 £672.60 £360.50 4.0

I repeat, Cineworld Unlimited is my affordable enabler.

One of the criticisms I’ve seen regarding cinema subscription cards is that the viewer will end up seeing “a load of dross”. And it’s true, some months I’ve seen what I consider real stinkers – looking at you Valerian & the City of a Thousand Planets! That said, I’ve been pleasantly surprised, and in some cases pleasantly bowled over, by the films I wouldn’t typically have watched before at the movie theatre. Cineworld Unlimited has made me more adventurous, often picking movies outside of my usual sphere of interest.

Easily one of the best days of my new-found cinephile life has been watching The Shape of Water, Phantom Thread and Black Panther all in one day. I was desperate to see the new Guillermo Del Toro and Paul Thomas Anderson movies, however, without my membership I would have prioritised the latest MCU entry for fear of online spoilers. Cineworld Unlimited has means I no longer have to pick between franchise favourites and adored auteurs.

Seguing nicely into a pastime I am now very fond of: cinema days. Speaking as a single parent who works full time, my free time is limited to late evenings and alternate weekends. I didn’t start my blogging days as Binge Watch Bash for nothing – I can sit for hours engrossed in stories on screen. In a single day, I have laughed until my stomach is sore, sobbed until my face is raw, and gripped the arm rest so tight my knuckles were white. Cineworld Unlimited has empowered me to spend full days lost in other worlds and other eras.

In the past, only one film had compelled me to revisit on the big screen, The Dark Knight. Now I won’t hesitate to return to films that I feel deserve to be truly appreciated at the cinema. Easter-egg-filled chapters in major franchises (The Last Jedi, Black Panther, for e.g.) have gotten the ‘two views’ treatment, though I can’t deny this is in-part influenced by my first watches being at midnight screenings. The fully immersive experience of seeing Dunkirk on IMAX with Dolby surround sound was so jaw-dropping, that I couldn’t resist seeing it again as Christopher Nolan intended. Cineworld Unlimited makes it easy to see instant favourites again and again in all their glory, as the movie gods envisioned.

Since becoming a member of a cinema subscription service, I’ve grown in personal confidence with multiple solo visits, reignited my passion for film, found a community of film lovers I respect and admire to be a part of, got a spot writing about film, and generally broadened my cinematic horizons.

Cineworld Unlimited changed me. For the better.

We’d love to hear about your experience with either your Unlimited or Limitless cards! Feel free to share your comments below or over on Twitter! 

 

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