CINEMA fans in Butterworth no longer need to go through the hassle of crossing over to the island to catch a good movie.
They can now watch the latest English, Malay, Chinese, Tamil and Hindi movies at the newly reno-vated Cathay Cinema in Jalan Bagan Luar.
It is equipped with sophisticated projectors and full-surround sound systems that support the SRD, DTS and SDDS sound formats.
Lotus Five Star AV (M) Sdn Bhd recently bought over the 41-year-old building and transformed it from a single-screen hall to a four-screen cineplex.
The company’s managing director Datuk R. Doraisingam Pillai said about RM4mil was spent to renovate the double-storey building together with two neighbouring shop lots that would house a Lotus Family Restaurant and a Lotus Five Star audio video store.
New beginning:Guests attending a prayer ceremony yesterday in conjunction with the reopening of Cathay Butterworth.
“Our 3-in-1 concept incorporating a cineplex, restaurant and audio video store has been a runaway success, especially in Petaling Jaya.
“After a hearty meal at our restaurant, movie-goers can catch a movie at the cinema and later visit our audio video store to buy CDs, VCDs or DVDs,” he said.
Penang-born Doraisingam, 48, who started the Lotus Family Restaurant chain in 1987, is the nephew of the late Penang millionaire Arumugam Pillai and son of the late Penang businessman Ren-gasamy Pillai.
Together with his brothers Datuk Ramalingam Pillai and Nagasundaram Pillai, Dorai-singam said, the family-run business had since diversified into various fields including film distribution, property, hotels, Information Tech-nology (IT) as well as food and beverage distribution.
Lotus Five Star is presently one of the major distributors for Tamil and Hindi films in celluloid, audio and video format.
Doraisingam, who ventured into the cinema operation business with partner Garuna Murthee in 2003, said he grew up in Penang and fondly remembers his alma mater, St Xavier’s Institution.
“It is disappointing to find that cinemas no longer exist in Kulim, Nibong Tebal and Sungai Bakap.
“So, with the revival of Cathay Butterworth, I am confident that it will attract the crowds from the mainland.
“It is also our intention to help rejuvenate commercial activities in this part of Butterworth town,” he said, adding that Lotus Five Star currently had 27 cinemas nation-wide under the Kumpulan Pawagam Iswaria umbrella.
He said the company had plans to open new cinemas in Ipoh, Kuantan, Kota Baru, Johor Baru, Sitiawan, Teluk Intan, Rawang, Kuala Trengganu, Klang and Kuala Lum-pur.
Doraisingam said Cathay Butter-worth’s fully carpeted cinema halls had comfortable new seats with drink holders, adding that each hall had a seating capacity of 232.
“There are three computerised ticketing booths as well as facilities to make advanced ticket reserva-tions apart from a snack corner,” he said.
Apart from a bigger waiting hall, he said, the cinema now had ample car and motorcycle parking space, with up to 700 lots available.
Cathay Butterworth reopens its doors today with four movies that opened simultaneously nationwide yesterday.
They are Ghost Rider starring Nicolas Cage, Norbit starring Eddie Murphy, Protege starring Andy Lau and Patchai Kili Muthucharam starring Sarath Kumar.
The audio video store also opens today (while the restaurant will open next month together with an official opening ceremony for all three businesses.
For details, call the cinema at 04-3101081.