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Singapore cinemas expanding

Admissions expected to top 15 million in 2004

SINGAPORE — Singapore movie auds are on the rise, and market-leader Golden Village (GV) is building the nation’s biggest multiplex and the first movie theater dedicated to Asian pics only.

Despite a population of only about 4 million, Singapore’s admissions are expected to top 15 million in 2004 — a steady rise from 12 million in 2001. But at Golden Village, the joint venture between Hong Kong’s Golden Harvest Entertainment and Australia’s Village Roadshow, managing director Kenneth Tan believes there’s still room for growth.

“The Singapore cinema market is underscreened, and our motives for expansion are twofold: consumer demand, and the number and range of movies available,” says Tan, former CEO of MediaCorp TV, and then MediaCorp Radio.

GV Harbourfront, a 15-screen entertainment complex in VivoCity, is to open during the fourth quarter of 2006. Singapore’s largest multiplex will incorporate several firsts for the local industry — the widest 35mm indoor cinema screen in Asia, digital projection capabilities and Cinema Europa — described by Tan as “a Business Class cinema with a year-round Film Festival.”

Tan says the proliferation of Film Festivals in Singapore, averaging one a month, is another factor in GV’s expansion plans. “These are averaging 80% attendance for an entire week, double the average attendance for movies on general release. The attendees aren’t just upscale professionals and expatriates, but students and young working adults,” he says.

The Asian Cinema Showcase @ GV Tiong Bahru opens next week specializing in pan-Asian fare. Programming kicks off with a Thai focus, including “Shutter,” and a Chinese series in December.

“Singapore’s cinema market, like many others around the world, has traditionally had mostly Hollywood movies. As a result, many terrific Asian films either get only a limited release or do not get released at all. So, to provide a year-round platform for them, Golden Village has decided to create this specialized location,” Tan says.

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