Hong Kong gasses up for drive-in

Each theater will have space for 100 cars, with 80 fixed seats

HONG KONG — Hong Kongers will have a new movie option next week: a drive-in theater.

Nestled in this concrete jungle, the theater will have one screen initially, with the second opening by Christmas and tentatively two more by Chinese New Year in February, said Winnie Tsang, managing director of distrib Golden Scene and exec in charge of film programming for the space.

Each theater will have space for 100 cars, along with 80 fixed seats. The total area takes up 200,000 square feet.

First screen will preem with Takashi Shimizu’s horror pic “The Grudge 2” on Dec. 7.

The drive-in is owned by John McLellan, an entertainment lawyer who is director of Sowell Resources.

While the government is reviewing how to use that space as part of the West Kowloon Cultural District Scheme, McLellan thought it was a good idea to try something creative. Elite Management will handle day-to-day logistics.

People “will be excited to have something new,” Tsang said, adding major studios that don’t have their own theaters are excited because it’s a new place to hold premieres and events, in addition to screening films.

In other cinema news, the Pacific Place mall is getting its theater back, this time under AMC.

Cinema operator Suntech Intl., a subsidiary of Edko Films, will open its second AMC cinema in Hong Kong at Pacific Place in the Admiralty district.

The target opening is Dec. 7, contingent on getting a cinema license, said Tessa Lau, exec director of Suntech, which also operates 11 screens at AMC Festival Walk.

AMC Pacific Place will have six screens, two more than the previous UA theater.

More screens but smaller theaters is the trend in Hong Kong. This means theaters fill up a lot quicker, making it difficult to see a film on the spur of the moment.

AMC Pacific Place has around 600 seats, all of which are a roomy stadium style. The UA theater had more than 1,000 seats.

“Nowadays, audiences require a very comfortable movie experience,” Lau said.

Opening pics include “The Nativity Story,” handled by Edko, 20th Century Fox’s “Little Miss Sunshine,” UIP’s “Flushed Away” and, from Golden Scene, “After This Our Exile” and “The Grudge 2.”