One of the things that we Indonesians can boast about is having great movie theaters. Progressive, open-minded leaders who prioritize our most pressing problems? Mmm, not so much…
One reason Indonesian cinemas are so great are the different premium theater options. Some offer plush recliners and the ability to order food to your seat. Then there are the Velvet Class theaters, which you can find at outlets of the CGV cinema chain. Tickets to Velvet Class are purchased by the bed, which are really more like long reclined seats but come with pillows and blankets.
Velvet Class theaters have been operating in Jakarta for a long time (back when the current CGV theaters were owned by Blitzmegaplex, before the Korean cinema company bought them out) but they recently stirred up a controversy in the South Sumatran capital of Palembang when they earned the disapproval of the city’s deputy mayor, Fitrianti Agustinda.
Fitrianti made an unannounced visit to the CGV theater in Palembang’s Sosial Market shopping center on Wednesday to investigate reports from the public, along with the chairman of Palembang’s branch of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) and security forces.
She was apparently scandalized upon seeing the beds in the Velvet Class theater and said they could promote adultery and sexual misconduct.
“I want an explanation. If it’s like this, those that don’t want to watch the movie can still use it for something else,” Fitrianti said as quoted by the Sriwijaya Post.
The theater manager said that the cinemas were not meant just for couples but also for families who wanted to watch the movie together comfortably.
But Fitrianti apparently did not accept that explanation. She ordered that the Velvet Class theater be shut down until the bed seats were changed and told the management that if they continued to operate as it was the government would revoke their business license.
According to the manager of the cinema, they had already obtained permission from the government for the theater and also had CCTV cameras to monitor the activities of the studio audience. He said the Velvet Class theaters operated in other cities without any problems, but said they would close theirs while repairs were made.