Lebanon Businessnews News

CinemaCity in Beirut Souks
$15 million invested in joint venture with Solidere
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CinemaCity, one of the biggest movie theater complexes, will be opening its second local outlet in the Beirut Souks by May 2013.

The new venue has an area of over 4,000 square meters, spread across three floors. It will have 14 theaters, with a VIP cinema and lounge section.

Mohamad Mrouwé, general manager of CinemaCity, said the new venue is designed to give moviegoers a better viewing experience. “Seats in the new venue are enhanced for comfort, and we used highly advanced sound and screen technologies.” CinemaCity is owned by Prime Empire, a joint venture between Hammad Atassi – a Lebanese-American businessman – and Mario Haddad, owner of Empire.

CinemaCity in the Beirut Souks will have four floors of parking spaces, of which three will be underground. Several restaurants will also be available, in addition to fast-food eateries and popcorn kiosks.

The new cineplex is a joint venture between CinemaCity and Solidere. “The investment size exceeded $15 million,” Mrouwé said.

CinemaCity will also expand its first outlet in City Mall, Dora, adding three theatres to its existing ten-theatre multiplex. “The trend now is towards more spacious movie theatres, small venues are gradually breaking down,” said Mrouwé.

According to Mrouwé, CinemaCity owns around 24 percent of the market share, recording up to 800,000 visitors in 2012. “The number of viewers posted a slight decrease compared to 2011.” Economic slowdown and rising competition affected the turnover at box offices. “Cinemas are becoming a basic mall component, with a new Cineplex included in every new mall opening,” said Mrouwé.

The drop in visiting Arab tourists was also a major reason behind the decline in ticket sales. Visitors from the Gulf are known to watch more than one movie per day on occasions, while locals watch only one movie per week, he said.

CinemaCity launched its operations in 2006.
Reported by Rana Freifer
Date Posted: Jan 04, 2013
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