Kigali ushers in region’s first 5D movie theatre By EDMUND KAGIRE | Tuesday, April 2   2013 at  13:27

An exciting addition to the city's entertainment menu.  PHOTO | FILE

Century Cinema has ushered in a new dawn for movie lovers in Kigali after establishing a state-of-the-art facility.

The facility has entered in the annals of history as the first ultramodern movie theatre in the country that will premiere movies using the latest technology.

Located inside the Kigali City Tower, the ultramodern Century Cinema, that boasts the first ever 5D cinema experience in the region, is an investment many are saying came at the right time for a city that is growing fast.

Initially, one would be lucky to catch a movie screening in a restaurant or even a club.

Night spots such as Planet had abandoned the movie night while the only existing cinema, Cinestar, located in Nyamirambo closed down.
In comes Century Cinema, a whole new experience that most Kigali residents will take time to get used to.

The first of its kind

According to the owners, Doyelcy Group, the cinema is the first of its kind in the East African region, edging out Nairobi and Kampala, which boast of an established movie theatre culture.

Up the stairs past the busy Nakumatt and Mr Price, on the third floor you venture into a world of chandeliers and well-lit walls blocking all sound from downstairs.

You could easily get lost here due to the complicated partitioning, if it weren’t for the numbering of the cinema halls. Pushing past the red metallic door, you will venture into one of the four cinema theatre, all fitted with sound proof and colourful carpets.

The seats alternate between black, blue and red. It is a whole new world that will come with a whole new experience.

Collin Muhoozi Kakiza, the head of business development at Doyelcy, said the cinema of four different theatres — an 18-seater 5D, a 70-seater, 135-seater and 233-seater — all equipped with the latest digital equipment, massive silver screens and comfy chairs, will give movie fanatics an unforgettable movie experience.

“This is the first modern multiplex cinema in Rwanda. 5D, which is a first in the region, a real adventure. You get strapped into your seat and you go through simulations of different types. Basically you enter the movie and become part of the experience.

Latest technology

“5D is the most modern type of technology in the movie industry. We hope this will be a crowd puller. It seats 18 people at a time and most 5D movies don’t last longer than 15 minutes,” Muhoozi said.

Doyelcy Group invested a “substantial amount” of money to bring the cinema experience to Kigali. According to Muhoozi, the group invested over Rwf650m ($1m) in the interior design and décor as well as the ultra-modern seats and screens.

Investing in a huge project like that in a country where the movie culture is not deeply rooted was a risk taken by the group but as business people feel it was worth taking.

“We are optimistic that these halls will fill up. It will not take long before we gain the critical mass, because this is a country with a growing number of expatriates, tourists and a growing middle class,” said Muhoozi.

Century Cinema is rated at global standards and to prove its status, it plans to host a major global movie premiere in future just as they do premieres in Los Angeles, New York, Paris, London or Tokyo.

“We are talking to movie distributors who own rights in the region to ensure that we don’t miss out on big premieres,” says Muhoozi.

The owners first secured the region to compare movie facilities before coming up with their own design “that beats them all.”

Excitement in Kigali

Kigali residents are already excited by the new facility which will open at the end of April.

Currently, the equipment is undergoing testing to ensure that when it opens its doors, there are no technical glitches.

There is not much to criticise in a beautiful facility that is yet to fully start functioning but for starters, the prices may not be pocket friendly for an average Rwandan.

Tickets to a movie at Century Cinema will be priced between Rwf5,000 and Rwf7,000, which may not be affordable to the majority of movie enthusiasts.

It also appears that the colourful leather seats may after all not be very genuine as some already are exhibiting holes into the cushions, as if to say “Made in China.”

Also the lighting in 5D hall is one to be careful about as one would easily fall through the knee-high metallic gorges where the hi-tech seats are mounted.

The owners also say they will be renting out the halls for other activities such as play screening, corporate functions and unique weddings. Hopefully this will not take away the originality of the facility.

That said, it is an experience everyone is looking forward to, yes, everyone that can afford the movie ticket.