It has been among Hongkongers’ go-to cinemas for the latest blockbusters and independent films ever since it opened its doors in 2007, but after more than 10 years, the Grand Cinema, the city’s largest multiplex, is closing its doors for good.
A notice on the movie house’s website confirmed that the cinema will operate until February 28, when their lease expires, and thanked patrons for their continued support over the past 11 years.
According to HK01, staff at the cinema said they were informed of the news earlier this month, and assured the website that the closure would not affect planned screenings taking place during Chinese New Year.
The Grand is located at the high-end Elements shopping mall at the Kowloon MTR Station. It has 12 screens, more than 1,600 seats, and cost more than HK$100 million (about US$12.7 million) to build.
The cinema is jointly operated by the Shaw Group and Multiplex Cinema Limited (MCL) via a subsidiary called Crystal Shine Limited. HK01 reports that the Shaw Group has a 70 percent stake in the subsidiary, while MCL owns 30 percent.
According to the cinema’s website, The Grand is the only cinema in the city with all seats installed with an infrasonic-vibration system, which means that the seats sync with the soundtrack and sound effects in an effort to make movie-goers feel like they’re part of the action.
The Grand was also the cinema that first introduced the Dolby Atmos system, a surround-sound technology, to Hong Kong, and has consistently been one of the top five local cinemas since its opening in 2007 in box office takings.
It’s not clear at the moment if another cinema operator will take over management of the movie house, but news of the closure has upset some of the city’s cinephiles, who took to social media to reminisce about going to the Grand to catch a film after school, or seeing films there with friends and family.
While some lamented the loss of “the best cinema in Hong Kong,” others were quick to blame the closure on increasing rents.
Grand representatives had not responded to a request for comment from Coconuts Hong Kong as of press time.