22 February 2019
Roxy Theater (inset) in its heyday. The space is now occupied by CEO Neway, a karaoke bar. Photos: HKEJ,
Roxy Theater (inset) in its heyday. The space is now occupied by CEO Neway, a karaoke bar. Photos: HKEJ,

Roxy Theater is back after 40 years

Before Causeway Bay became a world shopping paradise, it was a Broadway or a West End.

Nearly a dozen theaters showed movies or Cantonese operas at Lee Theater or Palace Theater in the golden days before the area was taken over by Japanese department stores such as Sogo.

I can only imagine that because it was before my time, but I do remember that I used to live in an area where a cinema could be found every five minutes of walking.

That included Roxy Theater near the place where I used to live just beside Victoria Park. The theater was torn down in 1974.

Old Causeway Bay residents still call the place Roxy Theater (it opened in 1949) as if nothing has changed. It’s more well known to the younger generation as Neway CEO where big karaoke parties are held.

It’s a pleasant surprise to learn that Roxy Theater will be back after more than 40 years.

Local papers reported that Pegasus Entertainment is paying HK$2 million monthly rental for a new cinema just above the karaoke bar which, as we reported earlier, was giving up space amid falling business.

The new cinema is close to Windsor Place and JP Cinema and is in addition to Times Square, making Causeway Bay a place for movie lovers.

Thanks to the decreasing number of tourists to Hong Kong, we are beginning to see a situation in which low-yielding or even loss-making outlets like cinemas or snack shops are reentering the market.

At the peak of mainland tourists flooding into Hong Kong, there were more Sa Sa Cosmetics stores than McDonald’s restaurants in Causeway Bay.

Likewise, there were more Chow Tai Fook jewelry shops than fish ball stores.

Luckily, the peak did not last long and now we are getting back Causeway Bay as we knew it.

That was when Causeway Bay was the place for movie lovers. It had New York Theater, Capitol, Hoover, President, Isis and Tokyo.

All these were sacrificed to trendy small shops that have driven up the rent sky-high in the past two decades.

But now with Roxy back, perhaps it is not too much to hope that landlord Hysan would consider bringing back Lee Theater and the herbal tea shop next door

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EJ Insight writer

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