One more Cinema Relic saved from the wrecking ball…

August 16th, 2006 by Barry Caplan | Tags: , ,

… but to what purpose?

Exhibition is one of the keystones of any Entertainment Ecosystem.
By “Exhibition” I mean the place of actual consumption of the entertainment itself. Usually we think of places like cinemas as exhibition halls, but in the context of DigimediaFinance, we have a more general view: Exhibition takes place at the mp3 player, at the set top box, at the TV, at the game console, at the browser, at the phone, sometimes at an ad-hoc combination of some of the above.
Today we have the report of a cinema saved from closing. Such closings are a familiar story in t the US, but today’s example comes from Malaysia’s capital city of Kuala Lumpur. Surely with so many other entertainment options, this cinema is struggling to attract customers and revenues.

DigimediaFinance.com is interested in hearing from companies that see an opportunity to remake the distribution channel for certain types of entertainment, to use the world’s cinemas in a new way to re-invigorate them. Contact us via savethecinemas (at) digimediafinance.com with info on your digital entertainment company for possible profile on this blog.

Full story on the Kuala Lumpur cinema inside.

From Malaysian govt drops plan to close historic cinema

Wed Aug 16, 6:47 AM ET

The Malaysian government has dropped a controversial plan to close down the country’s oldest cinema after a public outcry, its owner has said.

The Coliseum Cinema in the heart of the capital Kuala Lumpur, one of the few heritage buildings in the city to retain their former glory, was to have been acquired by the government and turned into a heritage centre.

Chua Seong Siew, whose family has owned the building for 86 years, was ordered to vacate within one month and offered compensation of just 500,000 ringgit (142,857 dollars).

However, the government made a rare climbdown when its plan was loudly opposed by historians and the public, many of whom have fond memories of the Coliseum over past decades.

“It is really very good news… they just decided not to take over the place after our meeting,” Chua told AFP after talks with Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Rais Yatim on Tuesday.

After newspapers were flooded with letters from people who hailed the building as “an icon from the past which exists in the present”, Rais told local press there was now “no question” of the government taking over the cinema.

Chua, 68, said the Coliseum will continue to screen movies, and work with the government to spruce up the building and turn an adjacent space into an arts and culture centre.

The 888-seat cinema was built in 1921 by Chua’s ancestor Chua Cheng Bok, and is also well known for its Coliseum Cafe which is featured prominently in tourist guides for its vintage feel.

“The place is 84 years old, and so is the staff (seriously, some have worked here their whole lives),” says the Frommer’s Guide. “The place is legendary, and someday it will be gone and there will never be anything else like it.”

The Coliseum began screening Western movies in 1946 and has operated continuously ever since except for a break during the World War II Japanese occupation.

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