Ster-Kinekor pulls curtain down on loss-making movie house

2009-11-05 00:00

STER-KINEKOR decided to close its Scottsville cinema because it was not commercially viable and had been losing money consistently for the past three years.

That’s the official line from the cinema group, which switched off the Scottsville projectors for the last time at the weekend. The complex had, reportedly, only remained open to allow Michael Jackson fans to see This Is It, the movie documenting his preparations for concerts in the UK.

“We simply had no alternative,” said Shaffie Mohamed-Ali, Ster-Kinekor general manager.

“Because of the general decline in the area and the shopping centre itself, this cinema complex had been losing money consistently for three years.

“Despite our best marketing efforts and joint initiatives with the mall management, we were unable to attract greater numbers of patrons to the venue.”

The Witness has learned that the cinema group first discussed closing the cinema a year ago, but ma­nagement decided to give the complex 12 months to see if things would change for the better.

It didn’t, and a decision was made to close the Scottsville cinema at the end of October — a month before the lease officially expires.

Challenged as to whether or not audiences might have been more inclined to use the venue if its seats and audio-visual equipment had been of a better standard, he poin­ted out that NuMetro spent thousands upgrading its facilities at Cascades and still failed to get “bums on seats”, finally closing its doors in August.

Mohamed-Ali apologised to cinema-goers in the city for the sudden closure of the cinema.

“We’ve been an integral part of the Scottsville community for around 15 years and sincerely hope this closure is not the end of Ster-Kinekor’s relationship with Pietermaritzburg’s movie-going public.”

All staff at Ster-Kinekor Scottsville have been offered redeployment, projection equipment has been salvaged for refurbishment or spare parts and other fixtures have remained with the centre.

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