Curtain falls on Numetro movie house today

2009-08-13 00:00

DECLINING attendances made the NuMetro cinema at Cascades no longer profitable or viable for the cinema company to operate. A decision was therefore taken last month not to renew the cinema’s lease at the centre.

That’s the official line from NuMetro when asked about its decision to close the cinema, which is screening films for the final time today, although Bharathi Kawal, centre manager for Cascades, says the lease only expires at the end of the year.

Heather Vorster, publicist for NuMetro, wouldn’t say whether the opening of CineCentre at the Liberty Midlands Mall has reduced attendances at the NuMetro cinema, but did admit that it is a challenge to offer a “different or more special experience to customers” than they would get at a larger mall.

Vorster also defended the cinema group’s decision to show new releases some weeks after their debut at Durban cinemas and locally at CineCentre, something that might have discouraged more people attending.

“Since the cinema only had five screens, it wasn’t always viable to get every opening film each week. Distributors also evaluate where their prints will play and make decisions accordingly,” she said.

The Witness understands that staff at the cinema have been offered the chance to take up posts at a new cinema in Amanzimtoti, but Mark Harris, content and marketing head for Nu Metro Cinemas, wouldn’t confirm this.

“We had a very small full-time complement of staff at this cinema as most were casual staff from an outsourcing labour company,” he explained. “We are still in discussions with the full-time staff regarding this process [relocation] so it would be premature to comment at this point.”

As for the cinema seating and other equipment, Harris said some of it would be reused at the company’s other cinemas, other items would be scrapped and, if other businesses have a use for some of the equipment, NuMetro will consider selling it to them.

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