Doha Festival City to offer country’s first 4D cinema

Vox Cinema

Bartosch Salmanski/Flickr

Doha’s largest mall project to date will also house the city’s largest cinema, and for the first time introduce a 4D film experience, the team behind Doha Festival City (DFC) has announced.

When completed in late 2016, the mall will house a 15-screen VOX cinema complex, whose screens will come with 4DX.

The technology allows viewers to experience sensations as well as visuals – such as rain, fog, wind, bubbles, scents and vibrations – depending on what’s happening on-screen. VOX owns the rights to 4DX in the Middle East.

Customers with cash to splash would also be able to order snacks and drinks from their seats, if they opt for the premium “VOX Gold” service.

Delayed project

Movie-goers will have to wait a while before buying their tickets, however. The completion of the $1.6 billion (QR6 billion) DFC project, which will also include hotels and a convention center, is not expected until the third quarter of 2016, some two years after its original target.

In a statement issued last year, Kareem Shamma, CEO of Bawabat Al-Shamal Real Estate Co. WLL (BASREC), the joint venture representing DFC’s Qatari and Emirati shareholders, said the new opening date was a “realistic target designed to meet the expectations of tenants.”

DFC announced last month that it had begun construction of the mall’s foundations.

Currently, the only tenant operating from the site is furniture giant IKEA. However, two major retail groups, the Kuwait-based M H Alshaya Company and Lebanon-based Azadea Group, have promised a host of other stores, including Qatar’s first Pottery Barn, as well as H&M, Debenhams, Mothercare, Shake Shack and Pinkberry.

Upmarket British department store Harvey Nichols is also expected to open its first ever Qatar outlet in DFC.

Eventually, DFC will host 550 outlets, including 85 cafes and restaurants.

Movie scene

Elsewhere in Qatar, West End Park has been doing brisk business with its new movie theater in the Industrial Area. The complex contains four 500-seat screens, but has only opened two so far.

Seats are only QR15 each, compared to the QR35 usually charged at many cinemas in Qatar, drawing many lower-income residents who can no longer access Gulf Cinema. That complex was suddenly closed last year and is thought to be undergoing renovation work. West End Park cinemas also contain seating for families.

Meanwhile, the Pearl Qatar is expected to open the country’s second IMAX theater sometime this year.

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