Now showing: upgraded downtown digital theaters

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

HOMEGROWN firm Colon Heritage Realty Corp. (Colon Heritage) invested P12 million to convert their two cinemas from film to digital.

The company, which operates the Colonnade Mall, opened last Saturday the upgraded Oriente 2 with the second installment of The Hobbit Trilogy, while the second digital cinema or Oriente 1 is scheduled to open on Dec. 25 in time for the nationwide screening of the entries of the Metro Manila Film Festival.

Renato S. Avila, president of Colon Heritage, said the conversion from film to digital cinemas was meant to upgrade the movie experience in downtown Cebu as well as to stay competitive in the industry.

He said cinema interiors were physically upgraded with new theater seats and better audio were installed to offer “similar comfort and movie experience with that of the movie houses in malls.”

“Cinemas must invest. Embrace new technology, downsize or they die,” said Valeriano S. Avila, the company’s vice president.

Colonnade Mall closed the cinemas for six months for renovations.

Oriente 1 which used to have 1,100 seats has downsized to 250 seats while Oriente 2 slightly increased the number of seats from 180 to 188.

Colonnade Mall, which is one of the longest running establishments in Cebu, had four theaters in the past. But factors like power, amusement taxes and the growing piracy of movies has affected the operations of the cinema, according to Valeriano.

He said their cinemas were losing for the past 10 years but they continued to operate to offer the class C market a whole new movie experience.

“We are probably the longest continuously running cinema in the country since the 50’s,” said Valeriano.

He said they upgraded the cinemas because they want to continue the legacy left by their forebears.

The Colonnade Mall is owned by the Avila, Cañizares and De Veyra families, who also have respective real estate businesses in Metro Cebu.

Valeriano believes there is still a market for cinemas despite the popularity of movie downloads, live streaming services and coffee shops with theater rooms.

“There is a huge population in the downtown area with the universities around. Plus, we are catering to the class C market,” said Renato.

Tickets for blockbuster movies are priced at P150 while regular screenings are priced
between P120 to P130.

Movie hours are from 12 noon to 7p.m.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 19, 2013.


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