New player opening Singapore cineplex

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SINGAPORE -- Competition among Singapore cinema operators is set to heat up with the opening Thursday of a six-hall, 830-seat cineplex by a new operator, Filmgarde.

This first cineplex at Leisure Park Kallang will be followed by a second, nine-hall, 1,400-seat cineplex in the fourth quarter of 2008 in a mall, Iluma, now under construction, said Han Minli, Jack Investment's business development manager.

Jack Investment also is behind the construction of the mall, which will cost US$110 million and will have at least 60% of its floor area reserved to entertainment outlet.

Filmgarde Bugis will take up 30,000 square feet on the fifth level of Iluma and will compete head-to-head with Shaw Organization's seven nearby halls, in two different locations.

Singapore has four established cinema operators: Cathay, Eng Wah Organization, Golden Village Pictures and Shaw Organization.

Golden Village, which last added a 15-screen cineplex in 2006, is the largest operator in town with 73 screens and a seating capacity of 14,510. Shaw follows with 37 screens with a seat capacity of 10,180 and then Cathay with 35 screens and 7,106 seats, and Eng Wah Organization with 26 screens and 5,300 seats.

Cathay also is growing fast. The company opened this year a six-screen complex and is planning to add another six screens with 1,200 seats with a new multiplex in February, a company official said.
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