Prague multiplex closes

By Irena Zemanova
    Prague faced its first multiplex closure: Cinema City at Novodvorska Plaza shopping center was closed on December 3 because of low ticket sales.

    With 5 movie theaters and 850 seats, Multiplex Cinema City at Novodvorska Plaza was the smallest multiplex in Prague and recorded low admissions since its opening in 2006.

    The Czech Union of Film Distributors announced the closing on December 9.

    The multiplex at Novodvorska Plaza never performed well. "This region of Prague is well saturated by multiplexes and customers didn't find the way to Cinema City Novodvorska, however the shopping centre itself grew well," French company Klepierre, which owns the shopping centre, said in a statement.

    In Prague alone there is 10 multiplexes now, while 24 multiplexes operate in the Czech Republic in total. Six of them were opened in 2008. Cinema City Czech (www.cinemacity.cz) owns three more multiplexes in Prague and one in Pilsen and also plans to open another in Pardubice at the end of December.

    While the film industry confronts the global economic crisis in Europe, closing the multiplex seemed to be the first sign of a financial crisis in the Czech entertainment industry. However, experts refute that analysis.

    Last year with sales of CZK 942 millions (37 million euros) was a record of the decade for the multiplexes. In total, including small village cinemas or summer theatres, Czech cinemas earned 47 million euros in 2007.

    Admissions of multiplexes, which claimed 64% of the Czech market, increased from 6.95 million to 8.2 million in 2007. "We are also satisfied with the sales of first ten months of 2008," said Jan Bradac, head of distribution company Falcon.