Rosy picture fills the big screen


BY ELAINE ANG

THE big screen has always been an attraction for local movie goers and this augurs well for the cinema industry. With a good line-up in store , 2003 looks pretty optimistic for the industry.  

Golden Screen Cinemas Sdn Bhd (GSC) expects performance to show a slight improvement due to increased box-office revenues and admissions, according to general manager Irving Chee. 

“The cinema business is still very much movie driven. With this we expect box-office revenues and admissions to grow slightly this year as we have a good line-up of blockbusters and strong movies,” Chee told StarBiz in an interview.  

The impressive Tanjong Golden Village foyer at Suria KLCC.

He said last year’s business had improved as the company had a good slate of movies consisting of quality blockbusters as well as a solid mix of movies from all genres. 

“The latter keeps the cinemas going during the off-peak period . Local films and Indian movies also contributed to the improved business,” Chee said, adding that daily admissions varied greatly from 5,000 to 70,000. 

He said March was a bad month due to the line-up of films while April was better and May good with summer blockbusters like the X-Men 2 and Matrix Reloaded

Chee said there was a slight decrease in admission due to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak this year but this had since improved with the spate of summer blockbusters released recently. 

On expansion plans, Chee said, GSC would be opening its next cinema at the Gurney Plaza in Penang by year-end. The RM15mil, 12-screen multiplex seats 1,900. 

GSC is a subsidiary of PPB Leisure Holdings Sdn Bhd and has a total of 74 screens in 15 locations throughout the country, including Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh, Penang, Seremban and Kota Kinabalu. 

Tanjong Golden Village Sdn Bhd (TGV) general manager Chung Shyh Kwong said 2003 was shaping up to be another exciting year for the company.  

“With sequels like Charlie’s Angels 2, Terminator 3 and The Lord of the Rings : The Return of the King lined up, 2003 has the potential to match that of last year,” he said.  

Chung said 2002 was a good year with releases such as Spider Man, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and The Lord of the Rings : The Two Towers. He added that local productions also did very well at the box office last year. 

TGV recorded a 15% increase in admissions from 5.3 million patrons to 6.1 million last year due to a higher number of blockbusters and the better-than-expected performance of the Malay titles. 

Gross box-office receipts increased in tandem by 22% from RM41mil to RM50mil. Last year's overall patronage also improved, averaging about 31% compared with 28% previously. 

Chung said cinema patronage was highly product-driven and low admission was due more to the poor quality of titles . 

“Even SARS did not have much of an impact on cinema admissions and shows like Johnny English and X-Men 2 released during the period enjoyed strong attendance,” he noted.  

On the economic stimulus package, Chung said that the initiative, targeted to boost consumer confidence and demand, was expected to be positive for the industry. 

To date TGV, a joint venture be- tween Tanjong Plc, Global En- ertainment Management Sy- stems and Golden Harvest of Hong Kong, has invested over RM40mil in its multiplexes in six locations, including 1 Utama in Petaling Jaya and the Suria KLCC in Kuala Lumpur.  

Mega Pavilion Sdn Bhd sees its business growth surpassing that of last year . 

Its assistant general manager Brian Ng said this was mainly due to the good line-up of blockbuster movies this year.  

“The line-up is even better than last year's and most of the new movies would be scheduled for release at the same time as in the US, thus reducing piracy,” Ng said. 

He said business had been good so far and the cinema industry in the country was looking bright.  

According to Ng, the company has plans to expand its business and is currently looking at two locations in Kuala Lumpur with 10 screens each.  

“We believe that with the on-going support from the related government bodies, we stand a better chance of surviving than before. We are looking positively for better growth in the coming years,” he said.  

Penang-based Mega Pavilion currently has four outlets in Penang and Johor Baru, with total seating capacity of 4,189. 

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