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Playgrounds in Movie Cinemas: Yep This Is a Real Thing

And our writer hates it. Here’s why.

Have a look at the above photo. I know what you are thinking. It’s probably something along the lines of “That looks amazing! What a great idea! Where is this place? We are SO going there!”

Admittedly, that is what I first thought too when I discovered the grand idea Cinepolis has had to combine cinemas with playgrounds, in order to make the cinema-going experience more family-friendly. However, the more I think about it, the more this seems like a complete #fail.

This week, cinema chain Cinepolis announced that they would be opening their new in-theater playground concept, Cinepolis Junior in California. The new theaters will be fitted with a play area in front of the seats with wobble-animals, beanbags and impressive slippery-slides. Kid heaven no doubt. Mummy heaven? Debatable.

Cinepolis Junior Cinema section with the brightly colored beanbags and slides playground at the far end
Photo credit: Variety

According to the Los Angeles Times, CEO Adrian Mijares Elizondo believes “The whole idea is to make it easier for parents to take their kids to the movies and let the kids have more fun.”

So how has the world reacted to this whole new way of movie-going?
Every which way possible of course!

The biggest complaint I’ve seen is along the lines of “Oh great, more disruptive kids during movies!” Hang on people! Surely anyone who is going to see a movie without children is going to avoid Cinepolis Junior sessions at all costs? I mean, without kids, I’d rather stab myself in the eye with a fork than see a movie in this format! Don’t have kids? Don’t go to these sessions. Easy.

Cinepolis Junior Cinema with colorful cinema seats and a long slide at the far endOf course, the other camp is the more-is-more parents who are crazy excited about the idea! But then I say, have you really thought about this mum? Really given it some serious thought?

My objection to this idea is more about how we would actually experience the film. When I currently take my four-year-old to the movies, I already don’t get to watch much yet my son is actually awesome in the cinema. Mr. Four has no problem sitting still and watching however he does hit me with a constant barrage of kid questions. He’s actually a pretty good buddy to see a movie with despite the why, why and why mummy?

I know his ability to generally watch the flick would fly out the window at Cinepolis Junior. There’s a slide in the cinema? Who cares about what is happening on screen?! Watch me run up and down the stairs? Let’s go!

Yep, there’s just going to be way too much going on in the cinema for him to concentrate on the screen. For me and any other semi-responsible adult? I know I would be worried about what my child is doing, whether he is going to hurt himself running up and down the stairs, whether he is playing nicely and generally where he is at all.

So what would be the point in going to Cinepolis Junior if nobody is actually going to watch the film?

The cost of going to one of these sessions is going to be up to $3 more than a regular session, and let’s face it, even regular cinema tickets are not cheap in 2017. If neither the kids nor the adults are going to be able to watch the movie properly, there isn’t much of an incentive, right?

Don’t get me wrong, I want to like this idea. As someone who has a great love of film, I think any idea to get more people into a cinema is welcomed. However, I just don’t believe this is the solution we have been waiting for. Do we really live in a world where we have to combine two of life’s great four-year-old-treats into one? I’m actually thinking no! So, when I say ‘playground or movies’ to my little guy, he’s going to have to choose one – not say both!

What do you think? Would you try Cinepolis Junior? Tell us below!

Avatar of Nicki Newton Plater

When she isn't chasing after or car-dancing with her four year old son and one year old daughter, Nicki is a writer who has written for various websites and runs her own site specialising in film, Movie Critical. She loves Disney more than her children, was probably married to Charlie Chaplin in a past life and probably needs a coffee right now.

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