After an absence of several years, Ster-Kinekor is set to reintroduce Imax threatres in South Africa, the cinema chain operator’s CEO Fiaz Mahomed revealed on Wednesday.
The company has already begun construction of an IMAX theatre at the Gateway Theatre of Shopping north of Durban and also has plans to build a theatre at an unnamed cinema complex in Gauteng.
Though Mahomed was not giving away much detail — more information will be communicated next week — he said Ster-Kinekor had been approached several times to introduce Imax in South Africa but had felt the timing was not right.
IMAX theatres in South Africa were previously operated by rival Nu Metro, which is owned by Times Media Group, and later by Old Mutual.
“It’s time to bring it back,” Mahomed said. “In the past, we weren’t happy with how it was presented in South Africa but we think the opportunity now has become a sustainable one.”
He said the move from 70mm IMAX film to digital projectors played a big role in Ster-Kinekor’s decision. “Unless it was offered at a ridiculous ticket price, the 70mm format was not sustainable,” he said. “Also, the quality and quantity of content is now in place and, I stand to be corrected, but roughly 30 films have been green-lit for next 12 months as IMAX content.”
At the Gateway centre, Ster-Kinekor is removing its largest screen and replacing it with a specially designed IMAX screen. This process was expected to take several months, with the theatre set to open in early November.
Mahomed said Ster-Kinekor hadn’t yet finalised its plans for the Gauteng region, but the company “definitely” had plans to introduce at least one IMAX threatre in the province. — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media