A shopping mall in the New Territories is preparing to open a large multi-screen cinema in the summer, giving a major boost to Hong Kong’s movie entertainment infrastructure.
New Town Plaza, a shopping mall owned by Sun Hung Kai properties in Sha Tin, will open a theater facility called Movie Town that will provide more than 1,700 seats in seven houses.
Apple Daily notes that it will be the largest cinema facility in the New Territories.
Henry Lam Ka-keung, general manager of leasing at Sun Hung Kai Real Estate Agency, said on Monday that total investment in the project, which began 10 years ago, was HK$400 million, including money spent on renovation, hardware installation and the latest screen technologies.
The new facility, to be operated by Multiplex Cinema Ltd. (MCL), is expected to help boost the mall’s daily foot traffic and revenue by 10 percent and 12 percent, respectively, after it opens, Lam told Apple Daily.
Currently, the mall has foot traffic of about 300,000 people per day on average on weekdays and 400,000 people during weekends.
MCL’s general manager June Wong said Movie Town will feature Samsung’s 455-inch Onyx Cinema LED screens, which have never been seen in Hong Kong cinemas before.
Also, in the house equipped with MX4D technology, all the seats will come with unique designs that will allow users to enjoy special physical experiences while watching a movie.
Asked whether moviegoers will have to pay more for the new technologies, Wong said a final decision on the ticket price is yet to be made.
But she stressed that the tickets will be priced at an acceptable level as MCL will take reference from that set by other cinemas nearby.
MCL’s rival UA Cinemas announced recently that it would be closing the operations of its cinema in New Town Plaza from June 6 when a lease expires.
The cinema is currently operating two houses in the mall, down from 10 at one time in the past.
Although UA will retreat from Sha Tin soon and has no plan to restart business in another location in the district, the company will have four new cinemas elsewhere in Hong Kong this year.
Besides the one already open in Tsing Yi, the other three new cinemas are located in Sham Shui Po, Tai Po and Kowloon Bay, providing a combined 16 houses with more than 1,860 seats in total.
Despite the new openings, the cinema market in Hong Kong has been shrinking overall in the past two decades.
Data show that the number of cinemas was down to 48 in September 2016 from 119 in 1993, and that the number of seats fell to about 37,000 from 122,000.
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