Thiking to go to the cinema? Get the “pupcorn”, because your dog is coming with you! Last Sunday we went to the dog-friendly screening of The Big Sick at Picturehouse Central cinema in Piccadilly. This is what we thought of it and all you need to know to plan your next visit!
Dog-friendly Picturehouse Central
When I learnt that Picturehouse Central cinema would have hosted its first dog-friendly screening at the end of July (showing animation film My Life as a Courgette), I was very disappointed I couln’t go. Luckily, thanks to the great success of the screening, Picturehouse Central decided to make it a regular event and planned the second dog-friendly screening of the year on Sunday 20th August, showing The Big Sick. This time we answered the call!
The organisers thought about every detail to make dogs and humans comfortable. They handed out dog blankets to be placed on the seats (so no fur was left around), dog treat sticks for the pleasure of the dogs and they placed plenty of water bowls for refreshment in the corridors just outside the screen!
Our experience at the dog-friendly screening
It was a wonderful sunny day and when we got to the cinema around 11.20 am, there were already many dogs making each other’s acquaintance in the beautiful foyer and bar-restaurant of the cinema. Speaking with Kathryn Smith, General Manager at Picturehouse Central, I later learned that they counted 64 dogs and many more people! An astounding canine and human turnout!
We walked up the red tiles stairs that lead to the box office, the glorious sweets corner and the access point to the screen. Argo was very excited about it and loved meeting new friends (though, as usual, he was a bit worried about me going around taking photos instead of staying with him and my husband at all times, and made sure to show his happiness making a big fuss any time I went back…).
To get to the screen – located on the second floor – you had to take an escalator. Small dogs were picked up and carried, as did Argo, who – despite his over 30 kilos and large size- is used to being carried on tube escalators by my husband (though when he is with me I make sure to pick an escalator-free tube route). Some other large dogs, who couldn’t be carried, struggled a bit before getting on the escalator I must say. A pity to discover only after the screening that there was actually a lift alternative! If you do go, make sure to ask for directions.
Once in the screen there was time to pick a favourite seat (we chose one towards the back, but the most popular were the central and front rows), have a chat and shoot some photos.
When the lights faded, silence came. If you were to enter the screen after the beaming started, you would have not even noticed that part of the audience were dogs!
In fact, they were all so well behaved and no barking could be heard at all… The only clue was, at some point, some endearing snoring of a French Bulldog who sat in the row behind us. Had it been a boring film instead of the entertaining one that was projected, you could have easily mistaken it for the reaction of a very bored spectator!
Before going, my main concern was the audio volume. Dogs have a very sensitive hearing and I was worried that it could have been distressing/scary for Argo, so I decided that if that would have happened we would have left the screen. In the first couple of minutes, when advertisement were projected, he was a bit unconvinced and jumped down the seat when he saw a truck/train coming towards the audience from the screen. But after that he settled down, and by half of the film he was curled up in the seat between me and my husband enjoying cuddles.
I believe that the organisers made a quite sensible choice in picking the right film, which didn’t have loud or sudden noises, explosions or similar, which could have upset the canine audience! The show was great and everyone was very enthusiastic. We can’t wait to go to the next screenings!
Upcoming dog-friendly screenings
Did you enjoy the show, or missed it and look forward to another chance to participate? You are lucky! Picturehouse Central will be hosting a dog-friendly screening every six weeks!
Save the date! The next one is going to be held on Sunday 24th September, at 11.45am, showing God’s Own Country. From the teaser, I saw that there will be many sheep in the film, so it will be interesting to see what dogs think about it! You can book your ticket online or buy it on the day at the cinema’s box office (upstairs). And don’t forget the popcorn!
More about dog-friendly cinema!
The dog-friendly screening received a great media coverage. Online you can find a lovely video clip by the BBC that was filming on the day (where Argo makes his appearance at minute 00:08!).
On the radio, the very entartaining programme The Barking Hour on BBC radio London, talked about the dog-frienldy screening too, on 24th August. I had the pleasure to be invited for an interview from a dog owner’s perspective together with Picturehouse Central’s manager! In case you missed it, you can listen to the podcast here from minute 02:42:00 (up for 27 days more). By the way, obviously Argo was not sitting on the “screen” as I said in the interview, but on the “seat”, although that would have probably been quite funny! What an embarassing gaffe!
More photos of the dog-friendly screening are coming soon on The Londog’s Facebook page!
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