What to expect from the new Cineworld at Dalton Park, from the style of seats to the price of popcorn
The most anticipated feature has finally arrived at the box office - and it looks great.
The new Cineworld at Dalton Park, Murton, has been in production for the best part of a decade and has finally began to welcome its first visitors.
After a gala audience enjoyed a preview night, its debut paying customers will be ushered in today when Ben Hur screens at noon.
It will open its doors at 11am so people can have a look around, with an auditorium to show trailers of what films will come soon.
The seven-screen picture house will once again give people in East Durham and its neighbouring areas the chance to take a trip to the cinema on their doorstep.
So, what’s it like on first impression?
It might be out of town, but the free parking is a bonus and it’s also right next to a host of restaurants.
Its large reception is set up with a series of machines for people to quickly book or collect their tickets before an escalator or lift whisks you up to the first floor foyer.
It’s easy access for anyone with a pram or wheelchair.
Flashes of red neon against black on the ceiling set the atmosphere as you enter a sparkling entrance hall, which delivers on the promise of plenty choice when it comes to snacks.
A Candy King display takes up a large section while a Baskin Robbins ice cream counter services up cones, sundaes, cups and milkshakes.
Cineworld says the North East comes top for its sales of cold drinks, with an alcohol licence also adding plenty of choice, even cans of G&T or Pimms.
During the preview evening, the counters were filled but not open, and instead we got bags of popcorn left on our seats.
But thanks to the lovely PR people (sorry everyone else) I was sneaked a Tango Ice Blast slush, “ever popular” with customers according to general manager Nick Bashford.
Clearly, the venue is stacks ahead of everywhere else because it’s just been fitted out.
Public toilets can be grim, but those off the main hall are new, bright and white.
The eye-catching light fittings in the main corridor to the screens can change colour, while the finish of the place gives it the edge over others nearby, some which have seen better days.
As for the main event, the cinemas themselves, the screens are huge and reach from wall to wall, even in the smallest room, which has less than 50 seats and can be hired out for gaming events and parties.
The chairs are comfortable and there is tonnes of leg room, unrivalled by anywhere I’ve been before.
They also have a high head rest and are well spaced out, so no one will ever block your view and the sound quality was spot on - you could hear the roar of the battle field and cries of the crowd during our showing of the new Ben Hur remake.
There were lots of staff on hand to help in the lead up to and aftermath of the gala night - they look all ready for their first busy weekend.
Let the screenings begin!
Adults £9.40 or £11.60 for a 3D viewing, £6.90 for a child or £8.50 for 3D, students and seniors get in for £7.40 and £9 for 3D shows.
The Movies for Juniors screenings are just £2 or £3 for a 3D feature.
A big box is £5.10, medium is £4.60 and small is £3.99, gourmet bags are £3.60 and toffee popcorn is £3.80.
Hotdogs and nachos
Large £5.30, regular £4.50.
Tango Ice Blast
Can come as mixed flavours at £5.10, £3.80 or £3.40, with blue raspberry, cherry and lemon on offer.
A large soft drink is £3.70, regular £3.30 or a small £2.90.
Cappacino, latte, Americano, hot chocolate £2.95, regular £2.45; teas £2.45 for large or £2.05 for regular.
Peroni £3.50, San Migel £3.20, Old Speckled Hen and Reckorderlig cider £4.10, Magners £4.35, glasses of wine £3.95, Gordons G&T, Pimms and lemonade and WKD Blue £3.60.