Stellar International Cineplex: Not much to look at from the outside, but a cornucopia of movie snacks lie within
ISB student Elise Jiang is a die-hard movie fan who goes to the cinema almost every weekend and is a veteran of over 60 film-going experiences in the capital. Over the next 3 weeks Elise will take us on a tour of Beijing’s best movie theaters. Stay tuned Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 4pm for her comprehensive cinema reviews.
Stellar International Cineplex (Wangjing)
The go-to place for a pig-out during the movies (though you’ll want to skip the popcorn), but don’t expect to navigate in English.
Address: 4th Floor, Section A, Wangjing International Commercial Center 朝阳区望京街9号望京国际商业中心A座4楼(大山子桥路口)
Telephone: 5920 3788
Bus: Lines 538 & 445 to WangJing International Commercial Centre (望京国际商业中心)
Taxi stops: many taxis roaming around, easy to stop by the roadsides
Subway: No nearby subway stations/stops; closest station is Wangjing Station on Line 15, more than 2km to the northeast
Ease of finding the cinema: Commercial Centre easily found; Cinema a bit difficult to locate within the commercial center: there are A/B/C/D sections of the mall and the huge number of shops and restaurants surrounding the mall makes it more difficult to find the entrance.
Staff: Difficulty interacting in English
Box office Movie titles in Chinese only Website: Chinese only
The snack bar is a definite highlight
Oscars go to …
The huge variety of snacks. This cinema will definitely please filmgoers with a appetite. Aside from trying the Lays chips, Hershey kisses, popcorn, beef jerky, raisins, sweets and drinks like milk tea, coke, and juice, you can also consider a Korean snack combo of Nonxin brand BBQ onion rings with a bottle of aloe juice. The biggest highlight of the snack bar is the ice cream stand, which offers a variety of flavors by the scoop as well as boxes of Haagen Dazs. And the piece de resistance is the jellybean stand, shining with dazzling colors. There’s also a coffee shop on the premises, so exhausted parents can refuel with caffeine before the show.
Cleanliness. This is a place where you will never find gum stuck on your shoes, slip over spilled soda, or need to wipe the seat before sitting down. With staff constantly scrubbing and wiping and washing, the floor sparkles, making the theater look brand new even though it’s inside a fairly old building.
Cheap price & special discounts. Who can say no to a bargain? Because of its location in a less prestigious mall, Stellar uses bargain pricing and discount promotions to attract the audience. All tickets are half price on Tuesdays, ladies are half price on Mondays, and cinema members are half price on Thursdays.
The seats look comfy but can swallow smaller patrons up
Golden Raspberries to …
The Washroom location. The cinema’s bathrooms are located past the ticket-taker, so if you happen to arrive early before your screening, you’ll have to trek to an additional washroom on the floor below. That having been said, the bathrooms in both locations are clean and feature on-site attendants responsible for tidying up.
Lack of English skills. If you can’t navigate in Chinese, this may not be the cinema for you. The staff has evident troubles in communicating in even the most basic English and the cinema lists movies by their Chinese titles only.
The seats. The spring-loaded seat of the chair requires a stiff push to move it into the sitting position, and all but the largest of moviegoers might find that the seats have a tendency to bend back upwards. This can make seating a little precarious, especially for children.
The mall where the theatre is located leaves much to be desired and thus would not be the ideal place for a day’s hangout.
What’s a cinema without good popcorn? Stellar fails in this regard — offering only one variety (caramel corn) that is unevenly coated, occasionally burnt and didn’t seem freshly made.