People are seen queuing for the tickets at Eldorado Cinema in Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Standalone theatres are gradually shutting down and the existing ones are losing their lustre as audience are more attracted to multiplexes in malls.

There are two standalone movie theatres in the capital and have been a favourite hangout destination for decades for expatriate community in Abu Dhabi. Eldorado [stand-alone], on Elektra and National on Fatima Bint Mubarak streets in the capital.

Nowadays, the business for standalones is only during weekends as multiplexes in malls have severely hampered their business. But still they are trying to survive by upgrading technologies.

Speaking to Gulf News, Suresh K.C, Manager of Eldorado Cinema in Abu Dhabi, said, “Of course, multiplexes have impacted our business a lot and gradually, these standalone theatres are being replaced by hypermarkets and malls.”

“Nowadays, our only business is during the weekend whereas 10 years back, every day, the evening shows from 7pm onwards used to be full. Even other shows during the day had done well.”

Financial fluctuations, many families returning to home countries and the rise of the multiplexes has further impacted our earnings, Suresh said who has been with the cinema hall since 1997.

“We have upgraded our entire screening and sound system and are going to renovate the theatre to provide promotions and credit cards points similar to multiplexes,” Suresh said.

Currently, they don’t have any offers such as the credit cards points system to encash movie tickets or buy one ticket by credit card and get another free. Whereas, all multiplexes have such promotions that bring in the crowds.

Eldorado opened in 1994 with one screen and plays movies from Bollywood, Kollywood (Tamil) and Mollywood (Malayalam) productions, and popular Hollywood movies. Now it has two screens with a capacity of 250 and 130 seats.

However, when it to ticket prices, watching movies in standalone theatres is cheaper. Ticket prices at standalone screens in Abu Dhabi are only Dh30 with the option of selecting from available seats, while the same privilege can cost Dh140 at multiplexes.

Suresh admitted that the multiplexes cinemas are getting popular nowadays because they provide plenty of facilities under one roof, plus their high-end technology and sound system is a big draw.