I'm a Melbourne girl, born and bred, and new resident of Geelong. Fantabulous adventures await as I explore my gorgeous new city and the stunning Surf Coast. But don’t worry—I’ll be crossing the bridge regularly to get my Melbourne fix.
Published August 17th 2015
Movie magic in Boronia
Metro Cinemas Boronia is a rarity among the movie theatre world. Of course they show all the new releases, and there's popcorn and choc tops at the candy bar, but there's one main difference between this little theatre and the big-name cinemas: it is one hundred percent independently owned and operated. The cinemas are owned by the Schouten family, and they also manage the day-to-day operations, making it very much a family affair.
Tom and Cynthia Schouten have owned Metro Cinemas Boronia for ten years, and their daughter Ellie is Cinema Manager. Either Ellie, Tom or Cynthia are at the cinema six days out of seven, and they will always make you feel welcome (almost like going to a mates place to watch a movie—except with much bigger screens. And way better sound. AND a fully decked-out candy bar).
The Schoutens want everyone to be able to enjoy the movie-going experience, and as there's no big corporation greedily taking your money and sucking you dry just to see a movie, the ticket prices at Metro Cinemas Boronia are very reasonable. Actually, they're more than reasonable—they're cheap. Dirt cheap. Tickets are $12.50 for adults, $9 for children and concession, and $8 for seniors. On Tuesday all tickets are $8 each, and for the regular movie buffs, $20 buys you an annual membership, giving you the privilege to see any movie, at any time, at a measly $8 per ticket, for the entire year. Kind of makes paying a whopping $20 per adult ticket at the big-name multiplex theatre just a short drive away seem kind of obscene, doesn't it?
The prices at Metro Cinemas Boronia are very, very reasonable.
Metro Cinemas Boronia are located slap-bang in the middle of Boronia, with ample parking right out the front, and the railway station just a short stroll away. The cinemas are perched high above the shops in the Boronia Mall, and the flashing lights and carpeted stairs welcome you as you push open the big double glass doors on the street level. The unmistakable movie theatre aroma hits you as the smell of hot, buttered popcorn wafts down the stairs, and you can hear it pop-pop-popping in the machine as you get closer to the top level. Once you're there, plush blue seating and matching blue strip lighting give a modern and luxurious feel while you lounge around and wait for your movie to start. Upcoming movie posters in brightly lit 'Coming Soon' silver frames hang on the mirror-covered wall, enticing you to come back again and again.
Tickets can either be purchased online, or at the cinema box office, which is conveniently located right next to the wonders of the Candy Bar—it's basically the same counter, which is just perfect really (does anyone else look forward to buying treats from the Candy Bar—almost more than the actual movie—as much as me?!). The entire complex is small enough to feel cosy and welcoming and homey and relaxing, but not too small that you feel cramped and boxed in. Once you've got your tickets, it's easy to fill up on popcorn and chocolate and choc tops as the prices are again, cheap, cheap, cheap. $10 will get you a medium popcorn, medium drink AND a bag of M&Ms or Maltesers, while a $22 Family Combo (large popcorn, four small drinks and a jumbo bag of chocolate or Starburst lollies) will keep the whole family quiet and happily chomping away throughout the movie.
Once you're all popcorned- and choc topped-up, you can make your way into one of the four theatres. They're all just a couple of steps away from the ticket counter and candy bar, which makes it easy to slip out for a mid-movie treat top-up. Cinemas Three and Four are a little further down the hallway, and as you make your way past the deep burgundy walls and exposed brickwork, you again feel almost like you're heading down to friend's rumpus room to chill out. The cinemas are clean and well-maintained, albeit with a few marks on the carpet from years of Pepsi spills, squashed popcorn and lost bubblegum. But along with the creak of the floorboards underfoot, they add a certain character and charm that you just don't find elsewhere.
The cinemas themselves are small and intimate, but big enough to enjoy the experience of seeing a movie on the wide screen, without feeling like you're in a massive, draughty auditorium. There's plenty of leg room, cup holders for your popcorn and drinks, and mini red lights dotted along the floor to show you to your seats. The advertisements that light up the screen before the movies begin spruik local businesses and organisations, adding to the community feel of the cinemas.
In this technological age of Netflix, Foxtel and television programs being 'fast tracked' from the USA, it's sometimes easy to just stay at home on the couch with the remote control and the dog sleeping at your feet. But nothing beats kicking back and watching a new blockbuster on the big screen with a choc top and some freshly popped popcorn (and you have to agree, the do-it-yourself stuff in the microwave bag just can't compete with the real thing). And after seeing a movie at Metro Cinemas Boronia, I am really struggling to see why I would ever go to the big-name cinemas to see a movie again. The place is brimming with character and warmth, it has such a happy, relaxed atmosphere, the owners and staff are just so friendly, and the ticket prices are such good value for money. And most importantly, so is the Candy Bar….