Leung Chun-ying

That’s a wrap! Hong Kong cinema branch on Lantau Island closes as mall expands

UA Citygate in Tung Chung makes way for retail-and-hotel project despite residents’ opposition

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 18 September, 2016, 6:51pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 18 September, 2016, 6:51pm

It was finally curtains for the only cinema in Tung Chung on Sunday night after the owner of Citygate Outlets closed its movie theatre and cleared the way for the shopping centre’s expansion.

As a gesture to thank residents for their support since UA Citygate opened in 2000, movie tickets for the cinema’s last day were offered at a discounted price of HK$18 each. The cinema on Sunday had a full house for its films, including Sully from director Clint Eastwood and featuring actor Tom Hanks, and Bridget Jones’s Baby starring Renée Zellweger.

A filmgoer who only gave his surname Leung told RTHK he was glad to be able to buy a ticket on Sunday morning.

“I came all the way from Sai Wan on Hong Kong Island ... because I am unhappy about the cinema closing down,” he said.

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After UA Citygate’s closure, the nearest cinema options for residents of the Lantau Island community are UA IMAX at Hong Kong International Airport, about a 10-minute bus ride, and Tsing Yi, which is at least 16 minutes away by MTR.

The Tung Chung closure was announced in February. At the time, a Citygate spokesman said the cinema was to close in April because the joint venture that owns the mall decided to build a retail-and-hotel complex nearby to include a new cinema. He said the project would be completed next year or in 2018.

However, the closure was postponed five months to Sunday after community group Tung Chung Future collected nearly 2,000 signatures from area residents who opposed the plan.

According to the Hong Kong Theatres Association, the number of cinemas in the city has fallen from about 120 in the 1990s to 47 last year. In January last year, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying promised in his policy address that the government would “consider reserving space for cinemas in major cultural and entertainment development areas” as well as exploring ways to facilitate cinema development through land sales and planning.