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Oman to soon have IMAX cinema

Hollywood takes lion’s share in increased footfall to cinema houses

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Muscat: Increased footfall to cinema houses in Oman has prompted Oman Arab Cinema Company LLC to expand further and plan for the first IMAX theatre in the country.

“We are in a middle of serious negotiations for the location of IMAX therefore it wouldn’t be appropriate to disclose any further information,” said P. Chandrasekhar, Group General Manager at the parent company Jawad Sultan Group.

He added that plans are afoot to have eight screen facilities in Muscat with a VIP cinema and an IMAX with next generation sound and projection systems.

According to him, by next year the company, under the brand name of City Cinema, will have 27 screens. The other theatre owners have six screens and an open air theatre in Salalah. Markaz Al Baja has two screens and Star Cinema four, which are temporarily out of operation.

The company last year added two new City Cinema locations at the Muscat Grand Mall and LuLu Hypermarket at Buraimi.

“The latest and seventh location will be in the south at the Salalah Gardens Mall and should be operational by May this year,” he revealed.

Two more locations, one in Baushar and another in Azaiba, will be ready by next year. City Cinema’s other existing locations include Shatti Qurum, Ruwi, Sur and Sohar.

In reply to a question he said that Hollywood films had more footfall than Bollywood cinema. “For Hollywood we have wider audiences in Omani citizens, Western expats as well as Indians but for Bollywood films the audience is limited, mostly to the Indian expat community,” he explained.

Chandrasekhar agreed that the 3D cinema had limited scope but at the same time they are now toying with an idea of bringing Oman’s first 4D cinema hall.

“Serious efforts are under way to dedicate one screen for a motion sensor experience ie of introducing a 4D effect to an auditorium whereby movies will really come alive,” he said.