SINGAPORE: Filmgarde Cineplexes announced on Tuesday (January 11) that it is closing two of its theaters, as part of a plan to transform the company to cope with “changing trends” in the industry.
In a press release, the local movie theater operator said it would cease operations at its Bugis + and Century Square outlets by March after its leases expire at both malls.
“Filmgarde will gradually close these outlets for refurbishment work from the first quarter of 2022,” he said.
Its director Han Minli told the CNA that the company was still finalizing the schedule for this reinstatement work, which depends on several factors such as the availability of workers. For the moment, he expects the Century Square cinema to close “towards the end of March”, while Bugis + could be closed “a little earlier”.
“But that said, we would definitely give our customers sufficient notice,” Ms. Han said.
“A little less than 20 employees” stationed in the two cinemas will be affected by the closures. The company said it will retain all of its employees and redeploy them to other divisions, such as its real estate and hotel businesses.
Plans for its remaining cinema at Kallang Leisure Park, as well as new business initiatives, will be announced “in due course,” he noted.
The company has been reviewing key industry trends for some time now, according to Sherman Ong, Head of Cinema Operations at Filmgarde.
“Since 2013, overall attendance at Singapore cinemas has been declining overall. This despite an increase in the number of screens and the number of seats during the same period, ”he added in the press release.
“In fact, from 2017 to 2019, attendance at national cinemas had already fallen to pre-2010 levels. The outbreak of COVID-19 has only accelerated and exacerbated these existing trends. “
Mr. Ong noted that the film industry, like many others, has undergone tremendous changes amid the wave of digitization.
The rise of online streaming platforms, he added, has “fundamentally changed global models of content production and distribution as well as audience behavior and media consumption patterns.”
This has impacted cinemas around the world, including those in Singapore, which traditionally rely on Hollywood and other foreign content, he said.
“As such, we believe that with the expiration of our leases, it is time for us to reorient our investments to focus on developing new areas of growth within the media industry and expanding our presence in other sectors, in order to keep pace with market demands, ”said Mr. Ong.