SM to expand cinema offerings next year

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SM Lifestyle Entertainment Inc. (SMLEI), the recreational arm of SM Prime Holdings Inc., is set to expand its cinema offerings with the renovation of its existing movie houses and the introduction of standalone cinemas in the provinces.

Edgar Tejerero, SMLEI president, told reporters on Thursday they expect to open their first standalone community movie theater, to be called Blink Cinema, in Bataan in June 2017.

He said that the opening of standalone cinemas in the provinces will be on a franchise basis.

“We’ll construct it for them, we’ll arrange everything. All that they need to do is to train from us so that the people can operate it themselves,” Tejerero said.

“We’re anticipating two contract signings in two areas before the end of the year. One will be in Bataan and the other will be in Kalibo, Boracay area. And the rollout will continue as we have about 17 interested franchisees,” he said.

The franchise for a standalone cinema will cost between P25 million to P30 million, Tejerero said. He explained that the standalone cinema project aims to bring the cinema closer to those living in the provinces.

“We’ve noticed that the presence of piracy is quite high in the provinces because understandably, they don’t have access to movie houses, so we decided to put up stand-alone cinemas, at least just to manage the investment and at the same time manage the operations,” Tejerero said.

The Blink Cinemas will use satellite transmission for screening the movies. Movie ticket prices are expected to be at a lower range of from P120 to P150 per movie, and each Blink Cinema will house two 100-seater cinemas per location.

Tejerero also said they will introduce two new cinema concepts to major SM malls next year.

One is a Cafe Cinema where moviegoers can eat meals inside the theater before watching the movie, and the other is a children’s cinema where children can play an hour or half an hour before watching the movie.

These new concepts will be offered in 12 malls where cinema renovations are currently underway, including SM City North EDSA, SM Megamall, Mall of Asia, SM Pampanga, SM Clark, SM Fairview, SM Marikina, SM Sta. Mesa and SM Cebu.

“All these renovated cinemas will become stadium-type theaters where there is only one level of seats instead of the old model which has an orchestra and balcony,” Tejerero added.

He added that SMLEI plans to build a new arena in Cebu by next year, which will be opened by 2018 or 2019.

SM Lifestyle Entertainment, Inc. is the educational, sports, and recreational arm of SM Prime Holdings, Inc.

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