Malaysia's largest cinema operator GSC acquires MBO


Golden Screen Cinemas signs a deal to acquire the majority of cinema assets from operators of the former MBO cinema circuit. Photo: Low Lay Phon/The Star

In a statement released by Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC) today (March 2), the cinema arm of PPB Group announced the assets acquisition from MCAT Box Office and Reel Entertainment Holdings (both in Creditors’ Voluntary Winding Up), which previously operated the MBO theatre halls.

GSC signed an agreement to acquire the majority of cinema assets from the company on Feb 23, and the deal is expected to be completed end of June 2021.

While the cinema industry has taken a hit in lieu of closure due to nationwide movement control order (MCO), GSC calls the acquisition as a strategic one which “will help accelerate the brand’s growth and strengthen its market leadership position".

The statement quotes Koh Mei Lee, CEO of Golden Screen Cinemas, saying: “The cinema business is one of the core operations at PPB Group and we remain committed to the growth of the vibrant cinema sector.

“We view the Covid-19 pandemic as a temporary setback and are confident that once the pandemic has passed, audiences deprived of out-of-home-entertainment will return to the cinemas with a vengeance, consistent with what we have seen happen in other regions.

MBO Starling Mall Cinema boasts of Big Screen feature. Photo: HandoutMBO Starling Mall Cinema boasts of Big Screen feature. Photo: Handout

Before this, the major cinema operators in Malaysia were GSC Cinemas, TGV Cinemas, mmCineplexes, MBO Cinemas and Lotus Five Star. GSC Cinemas is ranked the biggest cinema chain here.

Nonetheless, GSC did shut down its theatres at Berjaya Times Square and Cheras Leisure Mall in January this year because of MCO. Both the outlets have operated for more than a decade.

More recently too, the Malaysian Association of Film Exhibitors (MAFE) called on the government to allow them to resume operations stating that closure of cinemas due to the MCO had crippled the industry as they had lost 90% of year-on-year revenue, with more than RM500mil in losses in 2020 alone.

In that statement, MAFE chairman Tan Sri Mohd Ghazali Mohd Seth said the cinema industry could not sustain closure much longer and it would undoubtedly collapse.

Koh is taking a positive outlook stating that the cinema industry will prevail despite the current challenges with audiences preferring to stay at home to watch movies on their television and various devices.

She added: “In China, the local movie Detective Chinatown 3 recorded US$424mil in box office collections over its holiday weekend, breaking the record by Avengers: Endgame of US$357mil set in North America in 2019 for the largest weekend opening in a single market.

“Ticket sales for the first six days of the Lunar New Year holiday touched 7.8bil yuan, 32% higher than the same period in 2019. These box office records were achieved despite capacity restrictions of 75% in most of the country or 50% in areas more at risk of Covid-19.

“We are confident that the acquisition of MBO cinema assets, together with the impending rollout of the vaccine, will help accelerate our recovery from this pandemic.”

She continued in the statement: “We are counting on the cinema to continue to uplift, inspire, and entertain communities from all walks of life.

“The acquisition of MBO cinema assets will further enhance GSC’s diverse, innovative, and cutting-edge offerings; and audiences can look forward to a more wholesome, personalised, and delightful time at the movies with us.”

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cinema , GSC , MBO

   

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