Cinema City Ostrava
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In May 2009 the company Palace Cinemas Central Europe announced that it will start to expand into smaller Czech towns, after being present only in the two largest cities – Prague and Brno. New theaters should be built in Usti nad Labem, Liberec and Ostrava as parts of Forum shopping centers of the Dutch company Multi Development. All three theaters had to been open during 2010. In Ostrava the eight-screen-multiplex had to be open in December 2010.
While the shopping centers in Usti nad Labem and Liberec had only some short delays, Ostrava – a huge project of a whole new district – began to have problems with funding. Multi Development was forced to sell the project to a European real estate investment firm (Meyer Bergman) and a Canadian pension fund (Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan/HOOPP) for 300 million Euro (together with the mall Forum Usti nad Labem). Multi Development has retained only the function of the center manager.
But not only had the shopping center changed its owner. In January 2011 Palace Cinemas was sold to the Israeli company Cinema City International. All theaters were gradually rebranded to Cinema City and also the Ostrava project turned into Cinema City Ostrava. The operator began to furnish the rent space in November 2011.
With a delay of a year and a half Forum Nova Karolina opened on 22nd March 2012. Some Ostrava residents called the mall, considering its unconventional architecture, familiarly Fukushima. As can be seen, a prominent architect (Rem Koolhass) does not guarantee a universal applause of the audience.
Cinema City Ostrava was the chains 14th multiplex in the Czech Republic and the 96th in its seven territories. The number of company’s theaters and screens in Czech Republic dropped to thirteen again only some days later (on 31st March 2012), because Cinema City closed one of its Prague multiplexes – Park Hostivar with eight screens.
The first screened movie was a Czech comedy, which was a prequel to a new TV series. An attraction was also a game called human joystick that is similar to the control of X-Box – Kinect.
Ostrava is the second largest urban agglomeration after the capital city Prague and the third largest city in Czech Republic. Also therefore it was only a matter of time when the second multiplex will open its doors. The first one – CineStar Ostrava, which was open in 2001 – made an impressive run to the best visited multiplex in the Czech Republic in 2010 and 2011. In 2012 the competitive environment of CineStar Ostrava changed not only because Cinema City Ostrava opened. Also CineStar Opava, an internal competitor opened in the nearby town Opava.
Cinema City Ostrava has eight screens and a total capacity of 1,195 seats. From the beginning of its operation it is fully digitized. It is obvious that the theater has opened up in the digital era, because unlike other multiplexes it uses uniform devices. These include eight Barco DP2K-23B projectors with 2K resolution, eight Doremi 2K4 DCP 2000 servers and MasterImage 3D-systems in five halls. The largest auditorium (#6) has a capacity of 311 seats, the other halls from 70 to 171 seats.
Competition in Ostrava, however, did not bring the expected reduction in ticket prices. Cinema City adapted to its competitor and requires the same prices. Basic admission is about $ 8, 3-D screenings cost about $ 10.25.
Managers of the two competing firms, and also analysts expect that the two multiplexes will not have any problems to survive in Ostrava. It can be predicted, however, that CineStar Ostrava will soon lose its status as most visited theaters in the Czech Republic. Cinema City will have the busier traffic, because of the more prominent tenants and a better position of the mall.
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