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Century Cinemax IMAX in Garden City, Guide & Review

This post is a complete guide and walkthrough to IMAX-certified Century Cinemax movie theatre in Garden City Mall, from prices, schedules, and the general overall experience, to any important information you need to know ahead of your visit.

Century Cinema is the biggest film exhibition company in Kenya and East Africa. It has 3 locations in Tanzania, also 3 in Uganda, and 4 in Kenya.

The 4 branches in Kenya are; Garden City, Two Rivers, Sarit Centre, and Junction Mall.

Century Cinema Garden City

Century Cinemax is the exclusive licensee of the patented IMAX screening format, having the only IMAX screen in the whole of East Africa.

Garden City Mall has the best IMAX theater in Kenya-according to many, although Two Rivers has the biggest screen, Garden City is just better in terms of overall experience.


IMAX Garden City Location

If you are driving then Garden City Mall is on Exit 7 along Thika Super Highway from Nairobi CBD. If you are using a matatu, then get the ones that travel along Thika Road and then instruct them to be dropped at Garden City.

Once inside the mall complex, the movie theatre is on the far end and the corner of the first floor.

Century Cinemax Movie Schedules

The most convenient way to keep up with their current schedules is on their Instagram, where they post updated schedules at least once every two days.

You can also download their ‘Century Cinemax’ app from the Play Store or app store or visit their website for the now showing movies and the times.

Generally, the more popular movies( esp, action and Sci-Fi) show more times a day compared to the less popular ones. Big franchises like Aquaman, John Wick, Spiderman, Avengers, or any Marvel superhero movies will typically show up to 7 times in 24 hours, while less popular movies can be shown to a maximum of twice a day.

Century Cinemax in Garden City has 4 screens so 4 concurrent movies play at the same time on different screens, in different theatres.

Waiting Lounge

Century Cinema Waiting Loungue

The lounge is basic, and minimalist, opposite the counter is a sitting area where you can wait for your movie to start. It is so spacious with high ceilings, so no crowding when people get in and off the theatres

The seating is not the most comfortable tho, no backrest just blocks. It is just designed for a short wait time; ( possibly to prevent idling), so don’t get here extremely too early, you will just get bored. Allow a maximum of 40 minutes of waiting here.

Movie Tickets Pricing

Century Cinemax Garden City Loungue

Tickets start at around KSh 850, this place does not accept cash, pay via debit/credit cards or MPESA only. Select the movie you want and the cashier monitor is flipped to you so that you can select your desired seat(s).

3D glasses are an additional purchase if you do not have one, the good thing is if you buy them you can bring them next time no need to buy another pair, and they will work in any Century Cinemax theatre.

You can watch the movie without the glasses if you desire, but I highly recommend getting a pair; it makes a difference!

IMAX 3D Glasses

The glasses used to cost KSh 300 back in the day but lately, they have a new design and it costs much more around KSh 400; and is an improvement from the previous one in terms of build quality. They still feel cheap, but hey, they get the job done.

The glasses make the viewing experience better. While they’re impressively lightweight, they can get uncomfortable after a while on the back of your ears as cushioning or padding of the frame edge is non-existent. The frame is all hard plastic.

Alongside buying tickets, you can get snacks also, but if the wait time to the start of the movie is more than 30 minutes, I prefer to buy the snacks last minute as I head to the theatre. Because you’ll eat all the snacks in the lounge and have none in the theatre

Snacks & Drinks

Snacks in a movie theater are ridiculously expensive. This is no exception for this very theatre. In case you are wondering why it is so, the movie theaters make very, very little money(in some cases, none) from movie ticket sales.

They make most of their money from selling snacks and drinks. It’s for this reason that you shouldn’t sneak in snacks, even if it is easy to do that, just support the establishment even tho you are getting ripped off.

They create a monopoly by banning food and snacks from outside, and then you will have no option but to cave in and buy from them. That is capitalism for you my friend.

IMAX Garden City

The most iconic snack in any movie theatre is popcorn. And there is a lot of popcorn, the lounge area smells of popcorn. However, if you don’t like popcorn (like me) you have other snack options like potato chips(crisps).

For the longest time, Century Cinemax has been selling exclusively Urban Bites, but lately, they have introduced Kracles alongside, so you have a bigger variety of potato crisp flavors to choose from.

Drink options are probably the widest; from sodas, water, Redbull, Monster, and fresh fruit juice. I noticed many people in the theatre had fruit juice as the drink option, my guess is; that it must be really good, or priced the most reasonable.

There are also ice cream (Dairyland), chocolate bars, and hard candy options. Chocolates sold are from the Mars Food brand including; Snickers, Bounty, Mars Bar, and hard Candies like M&Ms. No Cadbury or Mondelez brands here.

They also have Skittles in stock if you prefer those to M&Ms, I think Skittles is just better.

Movie Theatre Overview

Inside Century Cinemax IMAX Garden City

When it is 5 minutes to the movie time you’ll see a bunch of moviegoers heading to the theatre, there is a security area where you show your ticket, (either the physical receipt or the digital if you booked via the app) and you are pointed to your screen.

Then find the seat you selected, it can be tricky to find the seat since it is almost pitch black except for the illumination by the blue lights on the stairs, wall accents, and the roof. You can use your phone’s flashlight to guide you.

Seats are numbered alphabetically column-wise from A, B, C, D….. going backward into the theatre. After finding your row then you can find your seat number, normally in numerics 1,2,3,4…. Say your ticket is D8, You will walk back into row D, Then find seat number 8 as they are all labeled.

While you can sit anywhere empty, sometimes people come later and will displace you because they had chosen that specific spot. So save yourself the trouble by settling for your selected seat.

Looking around, the theatre is soundproofed as it is carpeted all around including the ceilings and walls. Once you get to your seat ensure your phone is silenced so that it doesn’t become a nuisance to others mid-movie.

Speakers are positioned everywhere from walls to the roof with projectors at the back of the theatre.

The ceiling is probably the nicest touch, with a giant IMAX logo in the middle, while the rest of the roof has night stars like the ones on the roofs of luxury cars, Rolls Royce, and Bentleys that add to the touch

Now let’s talk seats;


Century Cinemax IMAX Seats

Seats are very comfortable, soft material, and well bolstered, they are big enough even for big people, and have an armrest with a cupholder.

If you have a partner then the armrest can be lifted and folded away so that you can cuddle while everyone else feels lonely.

The annoying thing about the seats is that they are all kinda wobbly, they sway back and forth, that may be a design feature to work with the sound for instance vibrations during a movie, that’s just my reasonable theory.

The other thing is, legroom is not the best for tall folks, for normal height people it is sufficient however, whenever someone crosses over you will have to excuse them by folding your legs away.

Also, there is no footrest so you will have to sit at the awkward 90 degrees.

The IMAX Experience (Visuals)

Garden City IMAX Screen

IMAX is so much more than the screen size(which is what most people seem to care about anyway). IMAX involves using specialized cameras to record scenes. These cameras as so bulky and loud, so can’t be used to record interviews, maybe action and documentaries.

IMAX Experience Garden City

The movie is recorded in IMAX format as well, and the copies in theatres are displayed using specialized projectors. Recording can be done in the traditional IMAX film or the newer IMAX digital. The difference is, that IMAX film is taller than IMAX digital (in aspect ratio)

The only drawback about Imax is that we can only see it in theatres.

In this Garden City theatre, two projectors in the back work concurrently to display the image. They are bulky and you can feel them whirling/ fan spinning in a silent scene in the movie especially if you sit in the back.

IMAX Projectors
IMAX 70mm

You get to feel the true experience in this theatre, it feels more immersive than other certified theatre for some reason. IMAX-certified theatres allow you to have a field of view of up to 90 degrees to get that immersion like it is happening in real-time in front of you, especially when paired with 3D glasses

Dolby Atmos (Audio)

Dolby Atmos Signage

There are more than 20 visible speakers of varying sizes on the roof, with each placed strategically. There are two giant bass ones at each corner in the back and they mostly kick in for sound effects like rumbles, or for background music.

Each speaker produces a specific sound so while they all don’t work simultaneously, they work concurrently but purposeful.

Every position in the theatre is designed for optimal viewing. IMAX is not only about visuals but sound, say something roars in the movie., and the whole theatre will be shaking and you’ll feel it to your chest!


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