So what makes a great cinema experience? Good movie, quality sound, lighting, sugar high, perfect company? Alright if you agree then hang around for a bit let’s hook you up with all of that. Er, minus the company part, that’s up to you, this is not an escort service, no vex.
Going to the movies in Abuja, you’ve got three choices. There’s the Silverbird Mall with the accompanying Silverbird Cinema, there’s Genesis Cinemas and finally, you’ve got the spanking new Jabi Lake Mall with it’s (surprise!) SIlverbird Cinema.
Yeah I know that’s two Silverbird Cinemas, but in two different locations and each with very different feels so chill.
Now, most cinemas in Nigeria are in a mall, which means besides the cinema there’s usually a whole lot more. Pharmacies, banks, grocery stores, clothing chains, cafes, gyms, restaurants, arcades, pizzerias, tech stores, creameries, car shops (no joke), etc, are typical.
We’ll stay on point and talk about the Cinema but the ambiance is important too so while we won’t touch on specific stores, we’ll let you know what kind of environment you can expect. Alright, here we go!
The standout thing about Silverbird is the variety they offer in their movies. They had fourteen movies showing every day when we scoped the place and with 12 screens they were showing them at least twice a day (Fast 8 was on at seven distinct times!).
Titles and times on their website are always accurate, which is not always the case in cinemas as you know. Tickets are affordable, usually N1000 except on Fridays, weekends and public holidays. Twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) you get free popcorn, a good deal since you’d otherwise have to fork out another N1000 for it.
As with all freebies, however, there is a caveat. The deal does not apply to the “Movie of the Week” (usually relatively new titles). Reasonable, not really, the moniker is deceiving, they should say Movies of the Week. You see they frequently have more than one, in fact, they had four when we checked out the place.
Inside the theatre, the screen is pretty standard, sound system as well. There was no need to resort to flashlights to find a seat because of the cute safety lamps on the stairs. It would seem they were having an off day, the air conditioning was almost non-existent. The seats though, they were far and away the theatre’s best feature.
Plush and comfy, the default setting is reclined at a fifteen-degree angle (best guess) although you can sit upright if you want. There’s enough leg room but we rest our case on the armrests, you see they are retractable! We’ll leave you to figure out why that’s of any import.
Outside the theatre, because of the size of the complex it’s always pretty busy, with so many shops there’s almost always a fair amount of people milling about but it never feels claustrophobic. As a plus, there’s an arts and culture center adjacent the mall with some amazing African knick-knacks where you can pick up a few mementos on the cheap.
All in all, this is probably your best choice for a movie in the capital.
The only non-Silverbird offering on the list, Genesis Deluxe Cinemas is also the cutest. Tucked inside Ceddi Plaza smack in the centre of the city, it’s quite cosy with just three screens. What it lacks in size it makes up for with charm, you’re unlikely to be faced with a crowd here.
Their website is up to scratch and gives an accurate depiction of the titles available and when they’ll be showing. The pricing is –on average- the same as the competition just a bit lower on weekdays (Monday through Thursday) and higher at other times.
Inside the theatre, Genesis probably shades the others. The screen, lighting, and sound are all top-notch. Air conditioning set to just the right temperature and the seats are to die for. They’re pretty much what we assume the seats in a high-end sports car feel like although the armrests are pretty stationary.
Jabi Lake Mall
The Silverbird Cinema on the Lakefront is the new kid on the block in every sense. Pretty much a scaled down version of the older just with fewer screens (five) and a more laid back atmosphere probably due to the fact that the newly built mall currently has less than half the spaces occupied.
Everything we’ve said about the older Silverbird with regard to price, the variety of movies, the flexibility of schedules (to some extent, five screens remember), theater including the seats (wink), sound, screen size, even down to the shabby air conditioning applies here. Come to think of it maybe the temperature thing is on purpose, it can’t be a coincidence, right? Maybe they’re skimping on their utility bills.
This cinema’s selling point is definitely the ambiance. Sat right on the bank of the serene picturesque Jabi Lake, the view is breathtaking.
There’s a food court (more like a chain of food outlets) right along the length of the pier-like walkway where you can get pretty much everything from palm-wine to seafood. At night and under lights, few places will offer the unique ambiance of sitting waterfront in the capital city.
So that’s it. All the possible places you can go to view a movie covered! So check ‘em out. If you’ve been to some, let us know which one’s your favourite.