Aquaman fans Julie and Alister Neal struggled with hot temperatures in a packed screening of the blockbuster.
Movie fans seeking respite from rising temperatures in the chill of a darkened cinema were in for a shock.
It’s supposed to be one of the coolest new cinema releases of the year but movie goers at one screening of Aquaman were left feeling hot under the collar.
And as temperatures rose, anxious movie goers branded the situation “dangerous” as they battled nausea and became light headed.
Grandmother Julie Neal from Blenheim had taken her family, including her seven-year-old grandson to see block buster Aquaman on Tuesday at Event Cinema on the town’s Kinross St.
* Kiwis still flock to the movies, Event Cinemas makes a profit despite online competition
* Aquaman: First look at Temuera Morrison’s return to the big time
* New Zealand’s 10 hottest temperatures ever recorded
But within minutes of the film starting, she began to feel faint and nauseous and her pregnant daughter-in-law was forced to leave.
Neal said the temperature inside the packed theatre, which she put at 26 degrees celsius or more, would have been risky to some customers, especially the old and very young.
She said other people complained too as they struggled to to cope.
After her husband Alister contacted staff, Neal said the air conditioning was turned on for about five minutes but then stopped again.
“Theatre 2 was so stifling hot it was unbearable. Pregnant woman, young children, kids and the elderly were put in a dangerous situation with the heat.
“I’m just your average person and even I was starting to feel nauseous and light headed during the movie.
“The whole thing was just uncomfortable and I couldn’t concentrate on the movie as I was sweating and trying to cool down and I could see other people trying to fan themselves.
“It was horrendous,” she said.
Formerly Top Town, the popular Event Cinema has come under fire in the past for extreme temperatures, with some patrons complaining of cold when the air conditioning was left on for too long.
Duty manager Merran Thomas said staff had received complaints.
She said theatres 2 and 3 shared one air conditioning unit and maintaining a comfortable temperature was a “balancing act.”
Previously one theatre, it was split into two screening rooms.
“It’s really hard to try and keep a balance. We have to constantly go in and check and if we’re slammed with people out the front then we just can’t do that.
“If the cinema is packed, people breathing is enough to make it too hot but if we leave the air conditioner on then people will complain it’s too cold,” she said.
Neal said she had contemplated leaving the movie too but chose to stay to see the end with her grandson.
“I’ve got nothing against the staff, they were absolutely brilliant but one unit trying to facilitate two cinemas is not enough and, honestly, they need one in each.
“A full theatre had to suffer in unbearable, hot temperatures because the theatre next door with only a couple of people would end up a little colder if they changed the temps.
“The moment the credits went up we were gone and even being outside in 27 degree celsius heat felt cooler.”
There are no laws in New Zealand which regulate temperatures within public buildings.
Worksafe New Zealand described the ideal air temperature range for “thermal comfort” was between 19 and 24 degrees celsius.
People were described as thermally comfortable when “they are not conscious of being either too hot or too cold”.