After pioneering the concept of Gold Class cinemas for children and their parents in suburban Melbourne last December, Village Cinemas is rolling out the Vjunior brand.
The format was an instant hit at Village Cinemas Southland, with sessions at two screens showing G and PG-classified films running at 80-90 per cent capacity during weekdays and at weekends during school holidays.
The brand has since been introduced at Fountain Gate and will launch at Knox on September 21. Next year Vjunior screens will open in Sunshine and Plenty Valley.
Targeted at kids aged from three to 10 and their parents, the cinemas charge a premium of $3 on the standard price.
“There are variations of the concept overseas but we are the first and only circuit in Australia to introduce it to the market,” Village Cinemas chief operating officer Gino Munari tells IF.
“This is our spin on the concept, the same way we created Gold Class in the 1990s. It is hugely popular.”
Munari says the cinemas are ideal for screening alternate content featuring properties such as Barbie, Mattel and Thomas the Tank Engine, and animated films that usually are not released theatrically.
Seating ranges from bean bag chairs to lounges and the more traditional seating for parents. There is an intermission and a shorter pre-show to cater for child-sized attention spans. A kids’ menu is available and there is a coffee cart for adults.
Each cinema has an interactive play area, a big slide, building block walls, light projection games, activity tables and Hot Wheels tracks, while kids’ artwork is projected on the big screen through custom-built scan-and-see technology.