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Blast off in style and comfort to a galaxy far, far away; With ticket sales breaking advance box office records, Graham Young finds seven great places to watch the new Star Wars film.

T'S the seventh film in the Star Wars franchise that was launched in 1977.

IBut if you want to be one of the first people to be in seventh heaven when the film opens on December 17, you'd better be quick.

Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens has already broken UK and international box office records for advance ticket sales.

Directed by JJ Abrams, the film's world premiere will be held in Los Angeles on December 14 and it will open in the UK just after midnight on the morning of Thursday, December 17.

Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels and Peter Mayhew are returning to the franchise with new stars including John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, Adam Driver, Gwendoline Christie, Max von Sydow and Lupita Nyong'o.

So where's best to see the film in the West Midlands? Here are seven ideas.

1. THE ELECTRIC CINEMA The UK's oldest working cinema opened 68 years before the original Star Wars' movie.

It retains some Art Deco features and, although primarily an arts cinema with a nose for tasteful populism, it's not afraid to say that big hitters like The Force Awakens are a key to survival.

Even with six weeks to go, loyal customers have already bought up most of the pre-Christmas sofa seats which are at the front and back of the cinema.

And you can be sure there will be some themed drinks to enjoy during the screenings, even if you are in the 'cheap' seats in the middle.

Currently taking bookings across its two screens up to January 7, prices range from PS8.40 (standard) to PS10.20 (front row sofa) and PS13.90 (rear sofa) for its 40 2D screenings up to the end of the year.

Prices from PS9.30 (standard) to PS11.30 (front row sofa) and PS15 (rear sofa) for the 14 screenings in 3D until the year ends.

The Electric will also show a subtitled version at 11am on Tuesday, December 29 with prices from PS8.40 to PS10.20 and PS13.90.

Where: 47-49 Station St, Birmingham B5 4DY 2. IMAX - AT CINEWORLD AND EMPIRE The technology in these screens helps to create a more immersive experience to really draw you into the picture.

IMAX uses crystal-clear digital projection, cuttingedge laser-aligned sound wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling curved screens to create the best possible viewing experience.

The West Midlands has three IMAX screens.

The oldest is at the 12-screen Cineworld Broad Street, where a PS1 million conversion of the former Screen 6 opened in time for the James Bond film Skyfall three years ago.

The 13-screen Empire Great Park also converted its own Screen 7 in June this year to coincide with the release of Jurassic World.

And last month, Cineworld opened the Midlands' first purpose-built IMAX as part of an 11-screen multiplex at the new Resorts World complex at the NEC.

Empire IMAX 3D prices are PS11.75 for children and PS13.75 for adults.

Cineworld Broad Street IMAX 3D prices are PS12.70 for children and PS15.20 for adults with the first four days of release including 7.30am screenings!

Cineworld Resorts World IMAX 3D prices are PS13 (children) and PS15 for adults.

Where: Empire Great Park is off Bristol Road South, Rubery B45 9JL (sat nav B45 9FP); Cineworld Broad Street is at181 Broad Street, Birmingham B15 1DA; Cineworld NEC is at Resorts World, Pendigo Way, Birmingham B40 1PU.

3. ODEON BROADWAY PLAZA - ISENSE This screen is the Odeon's own immersive alternative to IMAX, featuring a floor-toceiling ultra high definition screen with a Dolby-atmos sound system.

The 4K digital projectors deliver almost nine million pixels - four times the resolution of a standard screen.

isense tickets are PS9.75 for under 12s and PS11.95 for adults.

Where: Odeon Broadway Plaza is at 220 Ladywood Middleway, Birmingham B16 8LP 4. VUE STAR CITY - GOLD CLASS Vue is offering 24-hour screenings of the new film in the early days of release.

The cinema has 25 screens, including three in an upstairs section called Gold Glass which has three screens with large, electronically adjustable and individual sofa seats which are usually reserved for over-18s.

Gold Class 3D screenings are PS17.29 but there are also some family 3D Gold Class screenings (PS14.99 per ticket) where anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Some children might find the seats are too big for them to sit normally.

Vue's fan-shaped Screens 1 and 19 are also tasty with a great sense of proportion. Standard 3D prices are from PS8.29 for children and PS10.79 for adults (PS10.29 and PS12.79 respectively for VIP seating in applicable screens).

Where: Vue Star City is at Star City, Watson Road, Birmingham B7 5SB 5. EVERYMAN MAILBOX After opening in February, the luxury cinema at the Mailbox has the best sofas in town.

Complete with a cafe bar, you could enjoy a freshtasting burger or pizza to take in with you.

Like all of the other cinemas in this list, it is showing The Force Awakens in 2D and 3D.

The 3D prices are PS9.50 for children (under 14) and PS12.50 for adults during the day and PS15 for adults at peak time when child prices stay the same.

Where: Everyman Mailbox is at 116 The Mailbox, Birmingham B1 1RF 6. SHOWCASE DUDLEY If you are not worried about IMAX, sofas or electronically-operated seats, why not try watching Star Wars from... a rocking chair.

Showcase seats enable you to rock backwards and forwards as you adjust your position.

That's not to say we think the new The Force Awakens will be boring, but with a predicted running time of 2hrs 20mins a little bit of rocking might be a good thing for your bum!

Child tickets are PS8.95 and adults PS11 for the 3D screenings. In the XPlus screen with Dolby atmos sound (Showcase's alternative to IMAX), children are PS11.45 and adults PS12.

Where: Castle Gate Way, Dudley, DYi 4TA. Showcase also has cinemas in Walsall and Coventry.

7. SHAKE IT UP - WITH DBOX OR 4DX D-BOX movies have a special frame-by-frame 'motion code' which adds a fourth dimension to watching movies.

The tagline is "Don't just watch the movie, feel it!" Motors in the seat create subtle pitch, roll and heave effects, mimicking anything from a punch to a skydive.

D-BOX seats move and vibrate in sync with the onscreen action and audio, creating a uniquely immersive experience.

The warning note says: "D-BOX seats may be harmful to women who are pregnant, the elderly, or persons with medical conditions (including heart conditions), or injuries. Doctor approval may be needed. Not suitable for babies or children under 3. Children aged three to ten need supervision. No hot drinks allowed."

At the newly-opened Cineworld Telford (just 35 miles from Cineworld Broad Street), tickets for the 3D DBOX screenings are PS12.50 for children and PS14.50 for adults.

At Cineworld Milton Keynes you can try a newer system called 4DX - which is promised for a screen at Cineworld Broad Street in 2016.

Stimulating all five senses, the 4DX includes high-tech motion seats and special effects including wind, fog, lightning, bubbles, water, rain and scents - and it shows films in both 2D and 3D formats.

Not suitable for pregnant women, the elderly, or persons with medical conditions or injuries. It is also not suitable for babies, children under 4, persons under 3ft 4ins tall or people weighing over 265 lbs (120 kg). Children aged four to seven need supervision. No hot drinks allowed.

The 4DX ticket prices at Cineworld Milton Keynes are PS13.40 for children and PS14.25 for adults.

So if you don't mind travelling the 70 miles from Birmingham to Marlborough Gate, Milton Keynes, may the 4DX be with you.


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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 12, 2015
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