[Published on Apr 18, 1998]
In 1998, a newspaper did a ranking of all 160 cinema screens in Singapore. Over a period of three months, each cinema was tested in seven areas: screen size, seat comfort, leg-room, gradient of theatre, cleanliness, temperature and toilet hygiene. Even popcorn and service levels were not spared. Here are the findings:
BEST OVERALL SCREEN
It is tie! Orchard 3 and Picturehouse both clocked 20 points, each of them
falling short of perfection by only one point.
Orchard 3 garnered perfect scores in all categories except for toilets.
Although its lavatories are clean, there are only two of them. So that means
a long line forms outside them and when the doors are not really thick,
movie-goers, especially the males, have to take great care not to make too
loud a splashing sound when they do their business.
Toilets also proved to be Picturehouse's Archilles Heel. A little damp and
not entirely fragrant, the cinema's loos took home only two points.
WORST OVERALL SCREEN
CHINATOWN 2 has the dubious honour of being the cinema with the lowest
score -- eight out of 21. Except for a good gradient (three points), everything
else about this 183-seater are atrocious.
The screen is tiny, the seats creak, the leg-room is miserly, the floors are
sticky and the air-conditioning is non-existent.
Roomiest: All six screens at Century cineplex have seats that measure a
whooping 46cm by 50cm.
Plushest: The six screens at Orchard Cineplex feature soft and comfortable
seats upholstered in a smooth material that resembles terry-cloth.
Tightest squeeze: Mandarin 1's seats are obviously designed to keep
movie-goers glued to them. They measure 43cm by 37cm.
Hardest: Republic 1's seats are merciless when it comes to discomfort.
Sagging and creaky, they have cushions that are so old they look like pancakes.
Plug these killer-seats into a power outlet and you get an electric chair.
Widest: Marina 2. With 50cm of space between the edge of your seat and the
back of the seat in front, you have room for a giant tub of popcorn.
Narrowest: Chinatown 2. Already ranked as the worst screen in Singapore, it
also features seats which are leg-crushers with a ghastly leg-room of 16cm.
Dearest: You pay $3.60 for popcorn at Empress cineplex but it does not
taste that great.
Cheapest: Queensway's popcorn cost only $1.00 but it is quite inedible.
Best Tasting: Bugis Junction takes the top honour hands down. The popcorn
($2.50) is buttery and fragrant. So crunchy it is sure to annoy your
neighbour in the cinema.
Worst Tasting: Choa Chu Kang cineplex sure has a way of taking the taste
out of the cinema staple. Bland, soft and unfragrant, the popcorn there is
not worth $2.50.
Most Polite: United Artists at Beach Road has wonderfully polite staff that
never break down no matter how long the box-office queues are. If you happen
to be lost on your way to a screen, ask any staff member and he will lead you
Rudest: Singapura cinema is manned by a very fierce woman who will hang up
on you should you call her and ask for the cinema's address.