September 29, 2023

Immersive Cinema Experiences in Doha

Well over 100 years ago, movies started life as short black and white films, with no sound, just the occasional text dialogue to help explain the scenes - and, if you were lucky, an orchestra providing background music. These motion pictures were generally shown in theatres, with a temporary screen on the stage and a projector at the back of the hall. In those days, seats were all on one level unless you could afford balcony seating, so the backs of the people's heads or the person in front of you were part of the feature! 

However, like all good things, movies quickly grew in popularity, and the race began to improve the entertainment experience - music and sound effects were added to film, then dialogue. Films, as demand grew, became longer and shown with increasing regularity, paving the way for purpose-built cinemas to be constructed - then called movie houses, picture houses and film theatres. The new movie theatres had permanent screens and auditorium-style seating so that all viewers could see the screen without the back of anyone's head in the way. Then came colour movies, surround sound and multi-screen cinemas. Projectors, as technology advanced, made way for digital films and laser projection, improving picture quality and allowing 3D technology to become part of the silver screen experience. Then, more comfortable seating was added, and even luxury seating with built-in tables, cup holders and individual iPads for ordering food, drinks and snacks. 

Today, going to the movies has become more than just watching a film on a big screen, which these days at an IMAX cinema is a giant floor-to-ceiling screen. Today's cinema is a wholly immersive experience. The pictures, building on all of the technological advances over the last century, now incorporate 3D showings combined with motion chairs and simulated physical effects, all synchronised with the film, designed to draw you in and immerse the senses to make you feel part of the feature. For example, 4D, 5D and 6D use motion, vibration, strobe lighting, rain, mist, fog, wind, snow, temperature changes, smoke, bubbles and even scent to simulate the movie's features alongside the plot, characters and music. 7D and 9D go even further. 7D allows viewers to interact with the film's plot, using multiple-choice control pads to affect the course of the movie. 9D uses Virtual Reality to allow interaction and participation.

So, if you want to get involved, which cinemas in Doha have the most up-to-date features:

NOVO Cinemas

Image: Nestor Rizhnaik

NOVO Cinemas offer 3D, IMAX and MX4D options at four picture houses across Doha, at 01 Mall in Ain Khalid, the Mall of Qatar in Al Rayyan, and Souq Waqif on the Corniche and at The Pearl.

NOVO at 01 Mall has nine screens, the cinema at the Mall of Qatar is a megaplex of nineteen screens, Souq Waqif's movie theatre has five screens, and The Pearl's multiplex offers twelve screens, plenty of options for catching an immersive flick. All cinemas offer pictures in multiple languages, including English, Arabic and Tamil. Entrance costs range from QAR 55-65 per seat for 3D screenings, QAR 60-75 per seat for Atmos 3D to IMAX 3D, and QAR 90 for 4D showings.

To check out what's on at Doha's Novo screens and book tickets, click on the NOVO Cinema website, call them at +974 4031 5800, or head to their Instagram (@novocinemas_qtr) or Facebook (@novocinemasQTR) pages.

VOX Cinemas

Image: AboutLife

VOX Cinemas has two venues in Doha offering MAX mega screens and 4DX theatres. At Doha Festival City in Umm Salal (one of Qatar's biggest entertainment and shopping destinations) and Doha Oasis in Msheireb (Qatar's exclusive downtown high-end complex for living, working, entertainment and leisure).

The cinema at Festival City has a total of eighteen screens, while at the Oasis, there are nineteen - the MAX screens are a whopping 18-20 m wide. While both cinemas show the majority of films in English, some movies are offered in alternative languages. Tickets to the 4DX theatres cost QAR 130 per seat. Entrance to MAX screens costs QAR 72 for standard seating and QAR 102 for VIP options.

To book films at either Doha Festival City or the Doha Oasis, check out the VOX Cinema website or head to their Instagram (@voxcinemasqatar) or Facebook (@voxcinemasqatar) pages.

Cineco Cinema

Image: Cineco

The Cineco Cinema in Villaggio Mall, Al Waab, was the first movie theatre in Qatar to install a modern mega screen. The IMAX 3D screen offers films in multiple languages, including English, Arabic, Hindi and Tamil. Entrance to the cinema for an IMAX 3D showing costs QAR 60 per person.

To book films at the Villaggio movie theatre, check out the Cineco Cinema website.

Main image: Stokkete

Published: September 29, 2023
Last updated: September 29, 2023
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