Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Is having a Cineworld Unlimited card worth it?

When I met Phil, I wasn't really a big film watcher.
I don't like watching films on my own, and my family aren't big film watchers, so while I enjoyed films, they definitely weren't a big part of my life.
Now, after living with Phil for two years (who loves films so much he has his own film blog), I watch a lot more films than I used to (in fact, Phil talked about that in the post he wrote for this blog). And I've been the proud owner of a Cineworld Unlimited card for over two years now.
Going to the cinema is part of the usual dating trajectonomy, and we did it even more back when Orange Wednesdays was still around and Phil could effectively take me for free on Wednesdays, but when that ended, it started to get quite expensive for me to keep up with Phil's voracious cinema-going appetite.
Not being a big film-watcher, I wasn't sure about getting an Unlimited card. £18 a month isn't too bad until you realise that's £216 a year. Was I really going to go the cinema enough times to make that worth it?

Thankfully, Phil convinced me (after a few sulks from me when he went to an Unlimited screening of a film I wanted to see!) to get my card in November 2014 and I haven't looked back since!

Thinking of taking the plunge? Here's what you need to know...

1. You only have to go twice a month for it to be worth it
At my local cinema, it's about £10 these days for a standard ticket, so at £17.90 a month you only have to go twice a month before it's more than paid for itself. 
However, some months you will naturally see more films than others! In January/February when the Oscars are looming you can easily find yourself wanting to seee 5 or 6 films in a month (we've seen 5 already this month and have two more we plan to see this week - 7 films in one month is a record for me!), but you might find you slow down in April/May time and over the summer.
You need to see 21 films per year to make your card worth it. I actually just missed this by one film last year (due to seeing films at other cinemas when the times weren't right at Cineworld), but two per month is pretty do-able if you like to go to the cinema. 

2. It has to be convenient for you to go to the cinema
We are lucky enough to live within a 20 minute drive of two Cineworld cinemas, and only a 30 minute drive away from a third, but we had to adjust our schedule when Phil changed jobs last year. Phil used to work just around the corner from one of our local cinemas, so it was easy to me to get the train and for us to go after work. Now he works in the city centre, we've had to create a new routine, and now we come home, have dinner and aim for a 7.30-8pm showing if we are going midweek. But convenience is key to going a lot, especially midweek, as we rarely go at the weekends because we usually have so much else on!

3. Duh, but you have to like going to the cinema
I know this seems daft, but it's worth mentioning - you have to like going to the cinema, and you have to like the kinds of films that play at your average Cineworld. If you're not a big cinema-goer now, a Unlimited card probably won't make you Mark Kermode.

4. You don't have to be "really into films"
I, admittedly, am not "really into films." I like films a lot, and I know my tracking shots and what makes a great film and I know good acting, but I'm not an expert, and I'm more likely to go see a blockbuster than an arthouse film. I love to see great films, and love to watch a film that might be a little more hard work than your average slapstick comedy, but I'm definitely not well-watched enough to be a film snob. But even if you're not going to enjoy something like Silence , there's still plenty of options, and enough variety on at Cineword to suit most tastes.

5. You have to be prepared to make time to go to the cinema
In an average, non-pre-Oscars month, we do try to make time to go twice a month, and we try to have a regular cinema night. It's when we get out of schedule with this that I find myself not going for 6 weeks at a time! So you need to be prepared to work around going to the cinema often.

6. It definitely helps if you have a friend or partner who also has a card
I think this is one of the biggest factors in getting a card. Phil and I both having cards means we always have someone to go to the cinema with and it's just a big part of our lives, so we always schedule time for it. Of course, you can go on your own, but it's definitly nice to have someone to go with!

7. The Unlimited Screenings alone are worth it
This month has been exceptional, and I really don't think Cineworld shout about their preview screenings enough! This month alone we've see La La Land 5 days ahead of its release, Manchester by the Sea 4 days ahead of its release and Hacksaw Ridge 5 days ahead of its release, and we have Moonlight, Hidden Figures and The Founder all as early screenings before the films are released nationwide!
Admittedly, in the two years I've had my card they've never been this good, but I'm hoping the trend continues, as it's great to see a film ahead of everyone else!

8. You will see a lot of rubbish...
I've never walked out of the cinema, but I've been close during Black Sea, The Secret Life of Pets and Riot Club, but been grateful that at least I didn't pay to see them!

9. But you'll also see a lot of unexpectedly great things
The Drop was an unexpected treat, Hell or High Water was brilliant and something we might have missed, and neither of us expected to enjoy The Shallows as much as we did.

10. You will still miss films
One thing I do hate about Cineworld is as soon as big film comes out (think, The Force Awakens), they have 10 screenings of it at the detriment of everything else, which means if you don't catch a film quickly you can easily miss it. Cineworld, annoyingly, drop early evenings shows first, but if you work shifts you might be lucky to catch a film before it closes during the day!

11. You get discounts off food and drink in the cinema, as well as at local restaurants, and they get better after your first year
Another thing they don't hype as much as they should is all the discounts you get with your card! These include discounts at Nandos, Chiquitos and Frankie and Benny's to name a few (and whose local Cineworld doesn't have a Nandos next door?!). You also get 10% off food and drink at the cinema, which increases to 25% off after your first year.

12. You get a month off if a friend refers you, and so does your friend
Finally, they have a really great referral scheme, so if you recommend a friend you both get a free month. So if you fancy giving it a try, use my code RAF-65QS-90NK-16DS-55MP to get your 13th month free! Here's where you can redeem it.

I love my Unlimited card, especially at this time of the year where there are literally dozens of films I want to see. I admit, it can take work sometimes to make it to the cinema, and you do watch the occasional terrible film (although we actually chose to see Suicide Squad just so we could join in the conversation!), but I love the Unlimited screenings because it feels like an exclusive club, and I love that it makes me go to see films I wouldn't normally see.

We're already planning our route for when we move house to ensure we never miss a film!

Charlotte x

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