More cinema, please


Many Bruneians feel that another cinema should be built to cater to local movie buffs as it has become one of the most favourite pastimes for Bruneians who crave for that one sole entertainment in the Sultanate.

Currently, moviegoers have the choice to flock to three cinemas - The Mall Cineplex, The Seri Qlap Mall Cineplex and the Empire Theatre - which get busier during the weekends, school holidays and when new movies are introduced.

A representative of popular The Mall Cineplex in Gadong said revenue is high thanks to the constant high traffic of customers.

Ahmad Naqiuddin Mohammad, marketing executive at The Mall Cineplex, said the cineplex receives about 3,000 visitors on a weekday with an additional 30 per cent increase during weekends and when new blockbuster movies come in for the week.

"We normally get full house when we premiere new hollywood blockbuster movies on top of weekends, and we could receive up to 5,000 people daily during that particular week. We also see a high number of customers during pay day and school holidays," Ahmad Naqiuddin told The Brunei Times.

Most residents, including those living along Berakas and Muara area have been yearning for a cinema in the less congested suburban area.

When asked, most of them had hoped that a cinema would be made available in the Berakas commercial area, particularly at the Times Square or the Airport Mall area.

In a recent interview with The Brunei Times, James Pui, the Times Square shopping centre's property consultant, said that there would not be a cineplex at Times Square, as the management believed a cinema would not provide much interaction for consumers, compared to other services and attractions to be offered.

Instead, there will be a 16,000 square feet indoor playground to entertain patrons of all age groups at the shopping centre.

The Brunei Times had the opportunity to speak to those who have had high hopes for another cinema to be opened in the country, particularly at the Berakas commercial area.

"Often times the cinemas in Gadong and Kiulap can get too packed that I usually end up not watching at all," Said Hanisah Masri, a resident from Serasa. She also suggested a cinema to be opened up in the Berakas area. "That should cater to the residents living in the suburban area of Berakas and also a convenience for the rest of us living in as far as Muara and Serasa," she added.

"The Times Square area would've been a perfect spot for another cinema for Brunei moviegoers. At least we have another place to go besides the jam-packed Gadong and Kiulap," said Diwi Ahmad from the I-Centre.

"It's also good to hear that the 3D cinema will finally be available in Brunei and will be the first in the country, but I was surprised to know that it's being constructed in Belait, that's like an hour's drive from here," she added.

"There is definitely strong demand for cinemas in Brunei, seeing that going to the movies is a favourite pastime for Bruneians in the evening or at the weekends. I don't see why we can't have at least one more," said Nurul Hasibah, a civil servant. "We have cinemas inside shopping complexes, and then Empire is quite far away from the capital. What we can have next is a cineplex that stands on its own, with a couple of eateries inside the building and with ample parking space," she added.

Nurul Hasibah said that the issue has always been parking. "In Gadong, its just difficult to find parking when you want to catch a movie because its always jammed there at night. In Kiulap, it used to be easy to park at the Seri Qlap Mall, but with the Giant supermarket recently opened and with more shops opening in the complex, it's going to be more difficult to park our cars there," she added.

Mohd Alif from Kg Subok, said a cinema in the Berakas commercial area would be a sound idea.

"It's too bad that the new Times Square do not have a cineplex. I personally think that place would be more exciting if they do have one, because I don't really enjoy driving through the congested Gadong and Kiulap," said the father of two.

He added, "There was one time when rumors were spreading around that there would be a Cinema at the Hua Ho Manggis Mall, and that had a lot of people's hopes up for quite a while."

He also said there are still areas that needs to be improved for Brunei cinemas, and suggested that online ticket sales should be introduced.

"Whenever I want to buy or book cinema tickets, I need to make a phone call or go to the counter. There are three cinemas in Brunei and all of them are providing the same service. I hope the next cinema, or the current cinema owners in Brunei could consider such an online service," he said.

The Brunei Times
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