Tue, 23 Aug 1994

Low-class movie house on the brink of collapse

JAKARTA (JP): Around 50 low-cost movie-houses in West Jakarta are on the brink of collapse because more and more people have shifted to television or laser discs for entertainment.

"The programs on private television networks and the great selection of movies available on laser disc have put our business down," said Abadi Gunawan, one of the movie theater owners in the area told The Jakarta Post yesterday.

Abadi said that the sharp decrease in the number of movie- goers has forced him to close eight of the 10 cinemas he owned. "On Saturday nights those movie-houses are visited by only about 100 visitors," Abadi said.

He said that in that situation he has to cover a deficit of Rp 3 million every month for electricity bills and staff for his two movie-houses.

Abadi said the expansion of cineplex business under the monopoly of the 21 Group is not the main cause of his collapse of his business because the group has a different market share than his own. The group is owned by noted tycoon Sudwikatmono.

"The movie shown at the 21's cinemas are for middle and upper class people and the ticket prices are much higher than mine," he said, adding that the ticket price sold at the 21 cinemas are between Rp 5,000 (US$2.3) and Rp 9,000 while at his cinemas only Rp 1,000 and Rp 3,000.

He said that this year he will convert one of his movie-houses into a cineplex as an effort to keep his head above water.

"I think it would be better to have one cineplex rather than ten single cinemas," he said.

He said he needs around Rp 300 million to Rp 400 million for the project. Abadi added that Subentra Bank, a bank also owned by Sudwikatmono, has already promised to provide a loan.

Abadi said that as soon as the conversion was completed the theater would keep showing movies for the less-privileged members of society. He will sell a fixed price ticket of Rp 3,000.

Currently, out of 50 movie-houses in West Jakarta, there are only 30 in operation.

Bisnis Indonesia daily reported yesterday that a single cinema at the Grogol market place had also experienced a similar crisis.

Parlindungan Hutabarat, the chief of West Jakarta Tourism Sub- Office, said recently that the existence of those movie-houses should be protected since they a part of the mayoralty's tourism trade.

The chief said that his office will make a special approach to the movie-house businessmen to solve their problem.(03)