Eng Wah exits Suntec and West Mall

Cathay Cineplex (above) in West Mall. The last row of each hall comprises bigger Elite Club seats, which can be reclined.

SINGAPORE - Cinema chain WE Cinemas, owned by Eng Wah Global, is giving up two locations - in West Mall and Suntec City Mall - to rival operators Cathay Cineplexes and Golden Village respectively.

This comes two years after reports of Eng Wah's plans to upgrade its six halls in West Mall, in Bukit Batok. The renovations were slated for 2011, then postponed to last year. The 1,380-seat cineplex, on the mall's fifth floor, ceased operation in October and Cathay took over on Nov 30.

WE Cinemas sales and marketing director Vivien Ong said the move out of West Mall was a business decision. The chain is looking "at various opportunities and new locations", she added.

In its vacated premises, Cathay Cineplex West Mall opened on Thursday. The six-screen, 1,100-seat multiplex cost $6.5 million and is Cathay's sixth here.

It boasts Elite Club seats. Located in the last row of each cinema hall, these plush, bigger seats can be reclined and small tables can be attached to hold food and drinks.

The cineplex will hold daily midnight screenings. It will also screen the same title twice, back-to-back, from midnight on weekends. For instance, a movie may be screened at 11.50pm on Saturday night and again at 2.20am on Sunday morning.

One Bukit Batok resident, at least, is unfussed by the change in operators.

Student Clifford Chua, 23, says: "I don't find any difference between Eng Wah and Cathay, and I didn't think that the previous cinema was particularly old.

"If there are daily midnight screenings at West Mall, I might go because I can just walk home after the movie."

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