July 11, 2011

Legend is Cambodian multiplex first


Exhibition News

The first multiplex cinema in Cambodia opened this week with screenings of Transformers: Dark of the Moon – and a few surprising teething problems.

The Legend Cinema is a three screen multiplex, built in capital city Phnom Penh's City Mall, and owned by the Westec Media Group.

The complex, which was reportedly built at a cost of $1.5 million, includes 800 seats and has one theatre equipped with Dolby 3-D systems. Tickets are priced at $4 as standard rising to $6 for VIP seats in the regular hall, and $6 rising to $8 in the 3-D theatre.

Westec Media is a joint venture between Cambodian firm Westec Corporation, which has interests in schools, universities and security services, and Malaysia's Beep Media, which provides security services in the movie industry, event management in the games industry, and training and technology services.

The firm says it is the only company licensed and endorsed by the Ministry of Culture in Cambodia for the distribution of foreign content. In May it signed a deal with 20th Century Fox, providing it with X-Men: First Class and Rise of the Planet of the Apes. It followed that with a 12-film deal with United International Pictures, spanning upcoming 2011 titles and some catch-up movies including Thor and The Last Airbender.
Commercial operations got underway a week later than previously announced on Thursday 7 July after delays blamed on equipment supplies from overseas.

The lack of a cinema-going habit means that the Legend's management has to spell out basic etiquette including getting to cinema ahead of the advertised screening time, not taking off shoes and not eating food in a noisy fashion.

One problem they did not anticipate was the high level of breakages of the 3-D glasses. Damages were so high on the first day that on Friday it was announced that the $30 Dolby glasses would be ditched in favour of a cheaper Chinese-made model, though they soon relented and are persevering with the Dolby glasses.

Though Legend is not Cambodia's only cinema showing imported films, the smaller Flicks Community Movie House, owned by Hong Kong's Ramon Stoppelenburg Enterprises, operates with a menu of independent and studio fare. Currently showing are titles including Arthur, Insidious, Limitless, My Big Fat Greek Wedding and The Stoning of Soraya M.

The Legend Cinema's upcoming release schedule:
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon — 7 July 2011
  • X-Men: First Class — 14 July 2011
  • Kung Fu Panda 2 — 21 July 2011
  • Thor — 28 July 2011
  • Captain America: The First Avenger — 4 August 2011
  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes — 11 August 2011
  • Cowboys and Aliens — 18 August 2011


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