Filmgarde Closing 2 of Its 3 Cinemas Partly Due to COVID-19

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If you’re an avid film fan, you’ll be sad to know that Filmgarde is closing two of its three cinemas.

Here’s why.

A Decline In Patrons Since 2013, Made Worse By COVID-19

Mr Sherman Ong, head of cinema operations at Filmgarde, stated that one of the reasons for the closure was a general decline in cinema attendance since 2013.

This was despite an increase in the number of screens and seats.

Then COVID-19 precautions struck in 2020, where social-distancing regulations saw seating capacities cut by almost 50%. This worsened Filmgarde’s already declining number of patrons.

Streaming Platforms Struck Another Blow

The rise of streaming platforms in Singapore have also altered the population’s movie-consumption habits. With many choosing to enjoy films in the comfort of their own homes, Singapore’s cinemas have all been affected negatively.

With 51% of Singaporeans above 16 years old having a Netflix subscription, and the increasing popularity of platforms like Disney+ and Hulu which offers exclusive content, it is no surprise that fewer people are travelling to cinemas for movies.

Filmgarde was hit worse than other cinema operators. Established in 2007, Filmgarde is a small operator compared to larger players like Cathay Cineplexes, Golden Village and Shaw Theatres. They thus could not cushion the fall in patronage, unlike the bigger operators.

When the leases for Filmgarde Bugis+ and Century Square expire in early 2022, they will be closed. Staff would be redeployed across other operations in Hansfort Investment’s family of businesses.

The company, which also owns and manages the Joyden Hall event space, said that the cinema closures are part of the company’s plans to reflect the industry’s changing trends.

Plans will be announced later for the remaining cinema at Leisure Park Kallang.

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Small, But Has Made Their Mark in the Local Film Scene

Filmgarde is known in the local film scene for supporting the screenings of local filmmakers like Daniel Hui. They frequently hosted events held by the Singapore International Film Festival as well.

Filmgarde Bugis+ was also selected for Oscar-winning Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron to attend a cinema screening of his drama Roma, when he visited Singapore in 2018.

Filmgarde intends to release a series of photography journals to commemorate 15 years of operation later on in the year.

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Featured Image: Google Maps (Mike Du Bose)


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