Sixteen years after its launching at an investment of Tk2.5 crore, the country's first multiplex – Star Cineplex – is going to close its first branch at the Bashundhara City Shopping Complex in Dhaka.
Mahbubur Rahman Ruhel, chairman of the Star Cineplex, confirmed it to The Business Standard yesterday.
"We have a tenancy validity until September. Last month, the Bashundhara authorities issued a notice that they do not want to continue [the contract]. We tried to keep it but that is no longer possible," said Ruhel.
He also said dismantling the internal decor of the movie theatre has already started. The Bashundhara authorities notified that it must be completed within this month and the floor must be vacated by October 1.
Star Cineplex could not pay the rents for five months owing to a business slump caused by the novel coronavirus. They met with the Bashundhara authorities several times, seeking a discount on arrears. But the authorities did not respond to the appeal.
Instead, the multiplex received a notice last month asking them to leave the floor. The notice dealt sorrows for avid movie lovers. Already, countless well-wishers of the Star Cineplex have begun posting on Facebook in this respect.
Mahbubur Rahman Ruhel took the initiative to build a multiplex in Bashundhara City Shopping Complex and started work in 2002. In 2004, the cinema opened to the public.
At the beginning, Star Cineplex set for the voyage with three cinemas. It counted losses for the first two years. But the situation changed afterwards.
Considering the demand of the audience, three more movie theatres were added to the multiplex. More than 1,600 viewers could watch movies together in six halls.
Chairman Ruhel said an initiative to show local and foreign movies was taken from the very beginning. Star Cineplex started with Hollywood blockbuster super-hero film – Spider-Man – two years after its release.
Gradually, Hollywood movies were shown at the cineplex on the very first day of their release. For this reason, the multiplex premises had always been full to the brim with the audience.
Although Ruhel did not disclose the amount of income from the cinema complex, he said 70-80 percent of the seats had been full most of the time.
However, Star Cineplex has begun to work on opening its branches in different parts of the city recently, considering Dhaka's viewers.
Ruhel took the initiative to set up at least 20 screens in Dhaka. As part of its first step, Star Cineplex launched a second branch at Dhanmondi Shimanto Shambhar last year, followed by another in Mohakhali. A new branch is going to be opened in Mirpur very soon.
In the future, Star Cineplex will launch 100 screens across the country, said Ruhel.
Besides, they took an initiative to open branches in Dhaka's Uttara, Chattogram and Cox's Bazar very soon. However, many think the closure of the first branch before implementing this initiative has dealt a heavy jolt to their passions for entertainment.