Singapore

Cinema operators welcome relaxed seating capacity rules

The Jackie Chan action blockbuster Vanguard, held back from release at Chinese New Year earlier this year, will be among the films to benefit under the relaxed seating capacity rules announced on Wednesday.

The highly anticipated movie opens next Wednesday. Other films, such as the Chinese animated featured Jiang Zi Ya: Legend Of Deification (opens next Thursday) and the James Bond spy thriller No Time To Die (opens Nov 12), are among the titles better able to avoid the "sold out" notice on popular days such as weekends.

From next Thursday, large cinema halls with more than 300 seats will be allowed to admit up to 150 patrons in three zones of 50 patrons each.

Smaller cinema halls will be allowed to fill up to 50 per cent of their original capacity or maintain the current limit of up to 50 patrons a hall, as long as safe management measures are maintained.

Cinemas were previously allowed to open on July 13 with the 50-patron limit and a 1m social distancing seating configuration, after having been closed since March 27.

This limited seating to about 25 per cent of capacity.

In response, cinema operators have taken measures such as launching streaming portals, among them Cathay Cineplexes' Cathay CineHome, Shaw Organisation's KinoLounge and indie cinema The Projector's Projector Plus.

Responding to the new measures, a spokesman for Cathay Cineplexes said: "We look forward to welcoming more guests to our cinemas in October, especially with the opening of Jackie Chan's new film Vanguard."

The increased capacities are a relief, but business will still be challenging because of remaining capacity restrictions and the postponement of highly anticipated movies, she said.

A spokesman for Singapore's largest cinema chain, Golden Village Multiplex, said it is pleased with the easing of curbs.

"With a strong line-up of movies waiting to be released in the months ahead, we certainly look forward to operating at maximum capacity in due course," she said.

Among the films to benefit from the increased seating capacity is the Chinese sports biopic Leap (opens next Thursday), starring Gong Li, the spokesman added.

Movies