Following the ongoing success of The IMAX Experience® at five popular Ster-Kinekor sites – Gateway in Durban, The Grove Mall in Pretoria, Cape Gate in Cape Town, Baywest Mall in Port Elizabeth and Cradlestone Mall in Krugersdorp – the country’s leading cinema chain officially launched its sixth IMAX® theatre on 15 December.
Joburg movie audiences can now enjoy the world’s most immersive cinematic experience in the 375-seat IMAX® theatre, which forms part of the new Ster-Kinekor state-of-the-art, ten cinema complex on the rooftop of Eastgate Shopping Centre. Built as a bespoke IMAX theatre, this cinema boasts the biggest screen of all six IMAX theatres across South Africa.
The IMAX theatre played host to the Official South African Special Event Screening of the highly anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens: An IMAX 3D Experience. The more than 300 attendees – VIP guests, celebrities, media and Star Wars ‘super fans’ (suitably dressed for the occasion) – settled into the brand new IMAX seats and marveled at the impressive, ceiling to floor and wall to wall screen. Following speeches by the film’s distributor, The Walt Disney Company Africa, Ster-Kinekor and IMAX Corporation representatives, the audience was treated to a movie experience of inter-galactic proportions, as the audience travelled back to a galaxy far, far away…
“With all the action, drama and adventure that this film brings to the big screen, watching it in our new IMAX theatre takes the cinema experience to a whole new level. Directors produce films to be experienced on the big screen, I don’t think you can get much better than watching the most anticipated film of the year in the world’s most immersive cinema format – IMAX,” says Wanda Matandela, CEO of Ster-Kinekor Theatres.
“Having achieved the most pre-ticket sales for any IMAX film that has been released at Ster-Kinekor to date (27 700 as at morning of 16 December), the excitement among Star Wars™ fans has been palpable with the film’s official South African release yesterday, two days before its US release.
“At the end of business on Tuesday (15 December), pre-ticket sales for the film across all Ster-Kinekor cinema experiences – IMAX, Cine Prestige 3D and Ster-Kinekor 3D and 2D cinemas – had amassed to 63 200. This figure makes Star Wars: The Force Awakens the film with the second most advance bookings for Ster-Kinekor in recorded history,” comments Matandela.
The IMAX Experience
The new IMAX theatre at Eastgate Shopping Centre is fitted with a floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall IMAX screen, superior acoustical treatment and IMAX’s unique double-projection and sound technology. In this immersive cinema environment, audiences become part of the movie, as they battle the dark forces and get caught up in all the non-stop action!
IMAX’s cutting-edge dual-projection system delivers crystal-clear images which, coupled with its customised theatre design and powerful digital sound system, creates a unique cinema environment.
Giovanni Dolci, VP Theatre Development, EMEA at IMAX Corporation, says: “It is wonderful to expand our IMAX network in South Africa once again with our partner Ster-Kinekor, so soon after the launches of Baywest Mall and Cradlestone Mall in the middle of this year. We are impressed with the performance of the initial five sites, and look forward to this new theatre achieving equally positive results.
“We entered into our partnership with Ster-Kinekor at the end of 2013 to raise our visibility in South Africa and set the stage for mutual growth opportunities in the region. It is encouraging to see that this is proving fruitful, with the Ster-Kinekor Eastgate site opening just six months after the Baywest and Cradlestone IMAX openings.
“South Africa was one of a number of new markets that we entered in 2013, and it is clear there is a growing appetite for IMAX in the country. We look forward to working with our valued partner to further entrench the IMAX brand locally, with the upcoming launch of the next Ster-Kinekor IMAX theatre that is slated to open in mid-2016 at the new Mall of Africa development in Midrand,” comments Dolci.
In addition to the exciting new IMAX theatre, Ster-Kinekor has a number of other special treats and innovations in store for movie lovers at Eastgate.
“All ten of our cinemas are fitted with the latest in digital technology and projection for crystal clear images and surround sound. This, combined with luxury seating in the cinemas, two ultra-luxury Cine Prestige 3D cinemas, a further two cinemas with 3D capability, an exclusive SK Club lounge, delicious new catering options and self-service terminals to purchase and pay for tickets and catering, all live up to our promise to deliver the best entertainment experience for our audience.
“Going to watch a movie is as much about the cinema experience as it is about the story unfolding on the big screen. It’s all about creating ‘great moments’ at every touch point with every visit, and I am confident that our new site here at Eastgate is poised and ready to deliver on exactly that. Everything about this complex has been devised with only one end goal in mind: a great experience for our customers,” concludes Matandela.
Fans of The IMAX Experience® at Ster-Kinekor Eastgate are in for a treat over the next few months with the release of a variety of movies for the whole family to enjoy: The Finest Hour; Deadpool; Divergent Series: Allegiant Part 1; Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice and The Jungle Book.