UA Cinemas Shuts Down Hong Kong Theater Chain After 36 Years

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UA Cinemas, one of Hong Kong’s biggest movie-theater chains, abruptly shut down operations in the city, citing the pressure that the pandemic had on its business.

It will cease operations in Hong Kong with immediate effect on March 8 and court proceedings to wind up the business have begun, the company said on its website on Monday.

The demise turns Hong Kong’s third-largest cinema chain into one of the city’s most high-profile casualties of the coronavirus pandemic, which has ravaged businesses worldwide. Movie theaters have been among the hardest-hit industries, with even global industry leader AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. narrowly avoiding bankruptcy earlier this year.

“Hong Kong’s movie industry is stepping into winter,” said Crucindo Hung, chairman of the Hong Kong Motion Picture Industry Association Ltd., in an interview.

Hong Kong’s box office tumbled about 75% to HK$500 million ($64 million) in 2020, with government subsidies falling far short of covering the average HK$5 million cost to operate a movie screen in the city, Hung said.

Broadway Circuit operates the biggest chain of movie theaters in Hong Kong with 13, followed by MCL Cinema’s 12, while UA Cinemas and Cine City were tied at six, according to the Hong Kong Theatres Association Ltd.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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