The good, the bad and the smelly

[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:

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.

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.


All six screens at Century cineplex have seats that measure a
whooping 46cm by 50cm.

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.


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.


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
there gladly.

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.