Five-storey screen in IMAX cinema for HK

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 February, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 01 February, 2007, 12:00am

A HK$16 million cinema featuring a giant five-storey-tall screen, booming sound system, and almost vertically tiered seating will open in time for the summer's Hollywood blockbusters.

The IMAX cinema will open at the MegaBox complex in Kowloon Bay on June 1. Spider-Man 3 will be the first movie to screen, with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix to follow on July 13.

The cinema is being introduced to the city by UA Cinemas owner Lark International Multimedia. The Space Museum has been showing IMAX films for more than a decade, but the new screen will be the first of its kind in Hong Kong - larger and showing movies, rather than just documentaries.

The IMAX will feature a curved, 40-metre-tall screen - 10 times larger than a conventional cinema screen - and a digital sound system the company says will be among the best on the planet.

Cinema-goers will have to pay between 35 and 90 per cent extra for one of the 274 seats - which will average about HK$90 - depending on the time of the show.

Bob Vallone, general manager of Lark International Multimedia, said he believed the new cinema would provide a boost to the Hong Kong movie market.

'We hope this will play a role in getting more people back to the cinema,' he said.

Mr Vallone said he was optimistic of a 12 per cent jump in local box office earnings due to an increase in local productions and the release of several Hollywood blockbusters. He also said the new IMAX theatre would attract movie-goers to cinemas more frequently.

Larry O'Reilly, executive vice-president of IMAX Corporation, said box office takings at an IMAX theatre in Seoul hit US$2 million in its first year. 'This would be a reference for the first Hong Kong IMAX,' he said.

A second IMAX theatre will open in Hong Kong before 2009.

There are already eight such cinemas on the mainland, but IMAX and Lark have plans for another five in southern China before 2009. Mr Vallone said cinemas would be opened in Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Wuhan and Hangzhou .