FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Filmgarde announces new roadmap for its cinema operations
Bugis+ and Century Square cinemas to cease operations with plans for Leisure Park cinema and new business initiatives to be announced later
Move is in keeping with business transformation to meet changing trends in media consumption, global content production and film distribution
Singapore, Tuesday, 11 January 2022 – Home-grown independent cinema chain, Filmgarde Cineplexes (“Filmgarde” or “the Company”), today announced its new transformative roadmap for its cinema operations in keeping with changing trends in the film industry.
As part of its transformation initiatives, Filmgarde will be streamlining the cinema exhibition business with the cessation of Bugis+ and Century Square cinemas following the expiry of its current leases at the two malls. Filmgarde will progressively close these outlets for reinstatement works starting in the first quarter of 2022. The Company will retain all staff in the two cinemas who will be redeployed across other divisions such as its property and hospitality businesses. Plans for its Leisure Park Kallang cinema and new business initiatives will be announced in due course.
Mr Sherman Ong, Head of Cinema Operations, Filmgarde, said, “We have been reviewing key industry trends in Singapore for some time now. Since 2013, Singapore’s overall cinema attendance has been on a general decline. This is in spite of an increase in the number of screens and seating capacity during the same period. In fact, from 2017 to 2019, national cinema attendance had already fallen to pre-2010 levels1. The onset of Covid-19 only served to accelerate and exacerbate these existing trends.
“The film industry, like many others, has undergone tremendous changes in this era of digitalisation. The surge in online streaming platforms has fundamentally altered global content production and distribution models as well as audience behaviour and media consumption patterns2. This has had an impact on cinemas all over the world, including Singapore cinemas which have traditionally been reliant on Hollywood and other overseas contents. As such, we feel that with the expiry of our leases, it is timely for us to shift our investments to focus on developing new areas of growth within the media industry and to expand our presence in other sectors, so as to keep pace with market demands.”
1 Appendix - Cinema, Seating Capacity And Attendances, Annual, Singapore Film Commission, 15 June 2021 https://tablebuilder.singstat.gov.sg/table/TS/M891221
2 The movie-theater industry's looming threat: fewer releases could be the new normal, Business Insider, 6 January 2022 https://www.businessinsider.com/movie-theater-industry-threat-fewer-movie-releases-2022-1
Filmgarde was set up in 2007 to offer audiences a new movie-going experience in Singapore. Over the span of its 15 years of operations, it broke new grounds in the industry in various areas despite having no prior experience in the film industry. Filmgarde was the first cineplex in Southeast Asia to be fully fitted with the Immersive AuroMax 3D cinema sound technology by Barco. Its industry reputation in cinematic technological experience was also recognised and cemented when Filmgarde (Bugis+) became the only cinema in Singapore to be chosen by Netflix to host the sole Singapore screening of the critically acclaimed and Oscar winning film, ROMA, in 2018, with famed film director, Alfonso Cuaron, in attendance – his only stop in Asia-Pacific. In addition, it was the first local cinema to launch a bilingual cinema website and mobile app for wider audience reach and accessibility.
Filmgarde has championed the local film industry and community over the years, and it is a cause that the Company and its founders remain deeply committed to. Believing in the importance of Singapore films and stories, it has sought to support screening platforms to showcase and bring awareness to the works of independent filmmakers in Singapore. Local independent films that were released exclusively at Filmgarde include critically acclaimed features such as NOT MY MOTHER’S BAKING by Remi M. Sali, DEMONS by Daniel Hui, and IN TIME TO COME by Tan Pin Pin, amongst others. Filmgarde has also been a supporter of the Silver Screen Awards at the Singapore International Film Festival since 2017 and an advocate of other local film festivals and initiatives aimed at promoting film culture and audience outreach.
“There are so many talented filmmakers and film professionals in Singapore, and it has been a privilege for us to have had the opportunity to work with and learn from them over the years. While cinema operations will no longer be central to our business activities, we believe that cinemas, films and moviemaking are still integral for us and for the development of a rich cultural landscape.
“Going forward, we remain committed to supporting Singapore films, local film community projects and outreach programmes through new models and initiatives in keeping with our plan for transformative actions for our legacy cinema operations.” Mr Ong added.
To commemorate Filmgarde’s 15 year of operations in the industry, a series of photo journals, will be released in March 2022.
Founded in Singapore in 2007, Filmgarde has established itself as a keen supporter of the local film industry and an advocate of film literacy. Filmgarde believes that films are an integral part of our cultural fabric as much as they are a popular form of entertainment. Bucking labels or conventions to identify ourselves as a commercial cinema or an arthouse theatre, it simply believes that good films should be shared with an audience.
Known for its standards in Cinematic Technology, Filmgarde became the first cineplex in Asia to be fully-fitted with the next generation format of Immersive 3D Sound in cinema: AuroMax® 24.1 by Auro Technologies and Barco, and the first in Singapore to launch a cinema website, mobile app and self-ticketing Kiosk all on a bilingual platform (English and Chinese) for wider accessibility and reach.
Issued by 29 Communications LLP for and on behalf of Filmgarde.
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