THE largest movie theatre on the continent, Ster-Kinekor Theatres yesterday shutdown their Westgate cinemas in Harare after the termination of the contract by the complex owners, Old Mutual Property Investments over rentals, NewsDay has learnt.
BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
Sources privy to the developments said the closure have been caused by low revenues, as the movie cinema business is feeling the effects of a declining economy.
In a statement, posted on their Facebook page yesterday, Ster-Kinekor chief executive officer, Wanda Matandela described the closure of the Westgate cinemas as unfortunate.
“While it is unfortunate that the Ster-Kinekor complex at Westgate centre will close at the end of April, cinema-goers in Harare can still catch all the latest blockbusters that are released on the big screen at our other two popular venues in the city,” he said.
Ster-Kinekor also have movie houses in Borrowdale and at Eastgate.
The closure of one of the country’s upmarket cinemas was met with bewilderment and anger from some movie buffs and filmmakers.
Filmmaker, Collen Magobeya said the closure of the cinemas was the saddest development on the local art scene.
“It is a sad that we have such places shutting down, where are we going to go to relax and enjoy a good movie on a big screen,” he said.
“With all the stress people have, the need for recreational facilities is very important, but unfortunately it also shows the signs of the economy. The movies were places where one could take their loved ones and it was affordable.”
Some movie-lovers accused Old Mutual of failing to understand that the economy was not performing well and felt they should have been lenient with the cinema.
Off late, the country has witnessed the closure of some popular cinemas, such as Rainbow due to lack of business as a result of the failing economy.