During the 1980s until early 90s, the residents of Davao City would frequent Claveria Street (now CM Recto) to watch movies at the popular theatres in the vicinity, such as Odeon, Galaxy and Golden.
Queens Theatre along Bonifacio Street was also one of the premier movie destinations.
Tickets back then averaged 20 to 30 pesos only, with children getting 50% discount.
The old movie houses featured both Hollywood and local films.
The introduction of movie theatres in malls happened upon the completion of Victoria Plaza Mall along J.P. Laurel Street, Bajada.
It was the first time that movie houses were installed in a one-stop area, making it more convenient for people to purchase their needs at the same time finding sources of entertainment for the entire family.
Victoria Plaza featured six cinemas. JS Gaisano in Ilustre Street (now Gaisano South) featured four cinemas while Gaisano Mall in Bajada featured six (now eight).
SM City in Ecoland featured six movie houses, as well. This quickly became the trend and put the older movie houses in the background until they closed down.
Modern Cinemas of Davao City
Today, there are several movie houses around the city. Victoria Plaza cinemas are considered as one of the older places. The erection of Abreeza Mall in Bajada, as well as recent improvements made in Gaisano Mall made these two the premier movie destinations in the central district. Those situated in the south can go to SM City while people in the northern part of Davao City can go to SM Premier in Lanang, which was completed in 2012.
For the Cost-Conscious
Individuals can go to Victoria Plaza Mall if they wish to get cheap tickets. These are priced only at 80 pesos; although the film selections are not as updated as the other venues. In Gaisano Mall, tickets are priced depending on the particular cinema. These can range from 130 to 300 pesos. JS Gaisano offers tickets at 135 pesos. SM cinemas and Abreeza mall sell these at 135 to 250 pesos, depending on the type of cinema.
People usually go to more expensive cinemas because of the better seats, newer malls and better food choices.
For Those Who Aim for the Best Seats in the City
Currently, the newer malls offer the best seats in Davao City. Movie fanatics can enjoy 3D movies, reclining seats and bigger seats at Gaisano Mall because of its wide array of movie houses, particularly the Extreme Cinema and VIP cinemas. Gaisano Mall particularly has the Red Carpet theatre, which offers the special couch-style leather seats. SM Premier in Lanang offers the Imax theatre which boasts of the largest screen in the city. If you want to watch a movie in a more intimate setting, Abreeza mall cinemas have a 201 seating capacity. People also enjoy better food choices, better services and convenient online ticket reservations.
Indeed, the Davao city movie experience has evolved since the olden days’ ‘balcony’ and ‘orchestra’ classifications. While the prices have also gone up along with the improvements, there is no doubt that Davaoenos are willing to pay a premium for comfort and convenience.