The Projector coming to The Cathay as pop-up as Cathay Cineplexes exits

The Cathay at Handy Road. (PHOTO: Cathay Organisation Holdings)
The Cathay at Handy Road. (PHOTO: Cathay Organisation Holdings)

SINGAPORE — The Cathay Cineplex at The Cathay will cease operations from 26 June, with independent cinema The Projector taking over the space in August to operate a pop-up.

From 23 August, The Projector X: Picturehouse pop-up outlet at the Handy Road venue will showcase films, live performances, and a cocktail and craft beer bar, said the Cathay Organisation on Friday (17 June) in a press release.

The building owner did not mention when the temporary outlet would cease operations. "The Cathay is unable to share details of their leases due to confidentiality," said a spokesperson in response to Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore's queries, adding that shops there will continue to operate as usual.

Located near Dhoby Ghaut MRT station, The Cathay, one of Singapore's oldest cinemas, has been in operation since 1939.

Media company mm2 Asia, which runs the Cathay Cineplexes chain in Singapore, said in a separate statement earlier on Friday that the closure is "part of the cost rationalisation for its cinema operations".

Retail traffic demographics have changed over the years, said mm2 Asia group chief executive Chang Long Jong.

"We have had to evaluate the commercial viability of operating two cinemas in the Orchard shopping belt within 1.5km of each other and within 300m of another multiplex," he added.

It will be "business as usual" at the chain's other outlets, Chang said, noting that business for cinemas has picked up significantly since authorities relaxed COVID-19 restrictions on 26 April.

The pandemic has had a substantial impact on Singapore's cinema industry, as cinemas were closed for months in 2020, then required to operate at reduced capacities.

"However, as society transitions to an endemic COVID-19 strategy, the cinema business has rebounded, almost to pre-COVID levels. In December 2021, Spider-Man: No Way Home broke box office records by becoming the 3rd highest-grossing film ever to be released in Singapore", said Chang.

He added that mm2 Asia is exploring new innovations that incorporate live music and e-sports, and hopes to be able to share more details soon.

mm2 Asia acquired Cathay Cineplexes in Singapore in November 2017, where it currently operates eight locations. It operates twelve locations in Malaysia under the mmCineplexes brand.

The Projector founder Karen Tan called the pop-up outlet "a unique opportunity" to experiment at the iconic grand dame, which "has a storied past and is synonymous with an illustrious chapter in local cinematic history".

The Projector currently operates at Golden Mile Tower and has a live music pop-up called Projector X: Riverside at Riverside Point on Merchant Road.

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