Megabox: Excellent location, dynamite service
ISB student Elise Jiang is a die-hard movie fan and a veteran of over 60 cinema experiences in the capital. Throughout July Elise is taking us on a tour of Beijing’s best movie theaters. Stay tuned Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 4pm for her comprehensive cinema reviews and check out an archive of the ones she’s reviewed so far here.
Watching movies at Mega Box is a pleasure due to its premiere location and the highly trained service instincts of its staff, who will go out of their way to help you (even in English).
Address: B1, The Village, Sanlitun 朝阳区三里屯Village B1
Telephone: 6417 6118
Bus: Lines 115, 113, 406, 416, 431, 758, 701 to Sanlitun; Lines 110, 120, 117, 118, 208, 403, 673, 823 to Gongti
Subway: Closest stations are Line 10’s Changhongqiao (about 10 minutes’ walk east) and Line 2’s Dongsishitiao (about 15 minutes’ walk west)
Taxis: It is fairly easy to grab a cab leaving from the south entrance of the Village mall. However it becomes increasingly harder to find an empty cab as the evening progresses.
Ease of finding cinema: Both the Village Mall and the Mega Box cinema are easily located.
Website: Chinese with small but insufficient amount of English to easily navigate the website
Staff: No problem communicating in English
Box office movie display board: Movie titles in Chinese only, but the cardboard movie schedule stand in the line-up near the entrance does feature English titles
Oscars go to…
Great service. Employees here treat customers like family. No matter how many questions you ask, they’ll always slowly explain the answers with a smile. Communicating in English is relatively easy as most staff patiently listen to your requests even if their English skills are lacking. Of all the cinemas I’ve been to in Beijing, Mega Box has the most gentle and understanding staff.
Extended staffing at the box office means lines move quicker, despite the crowds
Extended box office. Unlike most cinemas where there are only 2 or 3 slots at the box office to buy tickets, Mega Box extends the box office counter, adding 2-3 additional slots, meaning they do their best to keep lines at a minimum.
Appealing location. There’s no doubt that Sanlitun Village is one of the most appealing and popular hangouts for Westerners in Beijing. Famous brand stores are all nearby – the Apple Store, Nike, Zara, Starbucks, McDonald’s are all located in the Village – and nearby there’s dozens of sit-down formal restaurants. All in all, there will never be a dull moment while waiting for your movie.
Golden Raspberries go to…
The crowds. Not surprisingly given its locating in a popular mall, Mega Box is typically filled with people, especially in the late afternoon. Lining up for tickets may take a while — so be patient!
Tiny waiting area. A not-so-clever design is the tiny waiting area in Mega Box. Given the traffic this cinema generates, that means a lot of standing around if you arrive early for your movie.
Area traffic. Sanlitun’s traffic is nasty and the approach to the cinema from Gongti Nanlu is terrible pretty much all day long. A word to the wise: try approaching from the north (Dongzhimenwai Dajie) and getting out of your cab at the north end of Sanlitun and walk from there.
The screening rooms are comfortable and have excellent sound
The Screening Rooms
Mega Box screening rooms have comfy seats with hand rests that can be lifted up but the round cup holders cannot hold the box-shaped popcorn containers. Screens are of suitable size and the sound quality proves to be quite outstanding when watching action movies with a great stereo effect.
Mega Box definitely understands the importance of popcorn during movies and thus has put in special attention in making the popcorn. The sweet toffee popcorn is fresh and warm; each bite of the caramel glazed popcorn fills the mouth with crunchiness. Despite its general delicious taste, once in a while one may still come across an uncoated kernel.
Photos by Ron Wu