You thought you did everything right. Everything is prepared for a family movie day out with your kids. You have picked a showtime at exactly that time of day when your kids have taken their naps, so they won’t get cranky. You have packed up their favourite snacks so they’ll be docile and well-fed. You have even brought along their favourite toys, so in case – just in case – they still get bored, you’ll have a way to keep them occupied in the dark theatre.

Cinemaxx Junior - Seats

More importantly, you have chosen a kid-friendly film for the whole family to enjoy, so the young ones won’t get bored. Because you don’t want to be one of those ridiculously ignorant and insensitive parents, who take their kids in for two hours of torture by a movie they don’t understand – or worse, one with a subject matter that will ruin their childhood and possibly scar them for life. Yes, you thought you did everything right. But then, suddenly, 30 minutes into the movie, your kids start squirming in their seats. They start asking questions and engaging you in conversations (and kids being kids, they don’t bother to lower their voices). You try to ignore them. But instead of getting their attention back to the screen, they start running up and down the aisle, creating their own little game while laughing and shouting. And when you try to be firm telling your kids to get back to their seats and watch the movie, they start bawling. All the other people in the theatre start ‘shushing’ you, giving you the evil eye, pointing at you, or worse, telling you to leave. In a blink of an eye, you realise that you have turned into one of those parents you hate in movie theatres. And the family movie day out you have so carefully planned has just turned into a living nightmare. But you see, this living nightmare is actually weekend as usual for some Indonesian parents. Perhaps the issue has something to do with the loose admission policies applied by the cinemas, where basically any paying customer can enter a cinema, regardless of their age.  But even when you take your kids to see a children’s film, problems like this can still occur. It is because, in general, regular movie theatres are created for adult audiences.

Cinemaxx Junior - Ball Pit

Realising there’s an increasing demand among modern moviegoers, Cinemaxx – one of Indonesia’s three big cinema chains – launched Cinemaxx Junior, the first ever cinema for kids in Indonesia. The theatre is located in Cinemaxx’s flagship location in Maxx Box Lippo Village, Karawaci; a district of Tangerang City, about a 30-minute drive from Jakarta on a good traffic day. For Indonesia, it is certainly a brand new concept: a movie theatre aimed  at audiences aged between 3 to 10 years old, which combines two things that kids love,  but very rarely go together outside of their own home environment – movies and playing. “Kids need the freedom to move around, socialize, and interact with the films. Cinemaxx Junior provides a fun and safe environment, where kids can play and have fun, but also be entertained and educated by the films on screen,” Cinemaxx’s CEO Brian Riady explained the idea behind the concept. This freedom to move around is a perceptive insight that inspired Cinemaxx to come up with its most attractive feature: a mini playground inside the cinema hall. The playground is divided into two levels, the ground level and the mezzanine, featuring all sorts of playing activities typically found in a jungle gym, such as a ball pit, a giant trampoline, climbing trees, a play bridge, a flying fox, and many more.  There is even an area for toddlers, with extra safe soft play elements.

Cinemaxx Junior - Play Area

Not only that, nursing rooms are also available, saving parents the hassle of going outside the cinema compound to look for one should the need arises in the middle of play time or movie time. So far, it sounds super fun, but some might wonder: after all, this is a cinema; wouldn’t all these fun features be a distraction from the movie experience itself? Not really, because Cinemaxx seems to have thought this through. The door will open an hour prior to the movie show time, giving the kids plenty of time to play before the film starts. After they are done with playing, they can go on to the main cinema hall, and they have the option to do it the fun way: using a tube slide that will “transport” them right into the cinema, landing in a multicolored ball pit. I’d say, what an entrance! Now, on to the main attraction: the movie. Cinemaxx Junior screens children films every day, curated by Cinemaxx’s programming team to consist of a selection of international and Indonesian movies. It could be current release, or a classic favorite. Another of Cinemaxx Junior’s unique experience for your kids is the cinema seats. They must understand how tedious it can be for kids to sit through a whole film in a boring seat made for adults, so they decided to crank the fun and cozy point up a notch. Seating options are available to choose from: bean bags, loungers, cinema seats, and sofa beds for two. Seated comfortably, the kids can enjoy the movie with snacks and beverages catered specially to their likings from the concession counter.

Cinemaxx Junior - Play Area

However, if this strategy still fails to keep the kids glued to their seats, worry not. During the movie, the theater will not be in complete darkness. Ambient lightings are emanating from the decorative elements in the cinema hall. So, should the little ones decide to run around or return to the playground to play during the movie, the environment remains safe and comfortable. In creating a pleasant movie-watching experience for your kids, you can’t just rely on the movie itself. The colorful world of children requires so much more than that. Some parents have to learn it the hard way, but with a movie theater like Cinemaxx Junior, fortunately now we don’t have to. And our Family Movie Day Out doesn’t have to turn into a nightmare. With a movie theater created specifically for kids, we can now come into the theater and leave our worries at the door. And, walking out of it – with no movie theater drama, no kids feeling bored, and no adults feeling irritated – we can finally say to yourself: yes, I actually did everything right.

Since opening in March, Cinemaxx Junior offers a promotional ticket price of IDR 100,000 for all seat types. All children above 3 years old will need a ticket to enter, and all children under 8 years old must be accompanied by an adult.

For the latest info on Cinemaxx Junior, visit Photos courtesy of Cinemaxx.

Rizal Iwan

Rizal Iwan

Rizal Iwan is a freelance writer, who spent over a decade in advertising as a copywriter. He is now trying his luck writing fiction. He has also been writing about film for as long as he can remember. But no matter what kind of writing he’s doing, or what kind of pesky deadline is chasing him, he always tries his best to make time to watch films, believing that no matter how bad things get, you can always turn to a good movie.