Final curtain for cinema complex at Times Square
Thomas Chan and Martin Cheung
Causeway Bay said farewell yesterday to UA Cinemas' complex in Times Square after 18 years - and also the 48-year-old President Shopping Centre in Jaffe Road.
With four films on show yesterday, about 3,000 movie-goers who had bought tickets at a special price of HK$18 on Sunday, a pre-sale day, enjoyed their last moments at the cinema complex.
One man, who watched The Viral Factor with his family, said: 'My wife and I asked for a day off because the tickets were cheap and we wanted to bid farewell to this cinema.'
A spokeswoman for the cinema said that tickets sold out quickly in the morning on the pre-sale day. The ticket price of HK$18 symbolised the 18-year history of the complex.
A few film lovers had queued up early to get the cheap tickets, rather than buy them online.
'I queued up at the cinema at 8am on Sunday. I waited for an hour before I bought the tickets,' said one young man who watched three films with his girlfriend yesterday.
About 50 people joined cinema-goers later to say goodbye to the cinema by holding a candle-light vigil at Times Square.
Roy Tam Hoi-pong, president of the local environmental group Green Sense, said that it was obvious that the existing premises were for retailers selling luxury goods.
A Times Square spokesman said that the top two floors - levels 12 and 13 - of the mall had been designated for a new cinema, but whether UA Cinemas would move in or not was still under discussion. Negotiations on a new lease for the existing cinema premises on the ground floor were under way.
A spokeswoman for UA Cinemas said that the company could not provide any comment on the issue.
With the demise of the Times Square cinema complex, the remaining cinemas in the district are MCL JP Cinema, UA Windsor and the President Theatre.
Meanwhile, tenants of the President Shopping Centre had mixed feelings about the closure of their mall. Poon Chi-ting, a shop assistant in an amber jewellery store, recounted the day when she caught a thief red-handed and said: 'This place is full of memories and I'll miss it.'
Another tenant, Ip Yuk-fai, whose pharmacy has been operating there for more than three decades, said he would really miss the place.
But he felt helpless about the situation. 'Business tycoons have all the say in this matter. There is really nothing that we can do,' he said.
A notice issued in September said that all the tenants had to be out by yesterday.