Great opening on December 13, 2018 in Thessaloniki: Cineplexx hosted the VIP opening of the first IMAX cinema in Greece. The film venue is situated inside ONE Salonica, a former shopping-center that has since been converted into an outlet mall. Christof Papousek, CEO and Co-Shareholder of the Austrian Cineplexx Cinema Group and Member of the ACROSS Advisory Board, attended the event. Together with the invited guests, including Yiannis Boutaris, Mayor of Thessaloniki, he donned a pair of IMAX 3D glasses inside the auditorium, which features a huge screen, a multi-dimensional sound system, and IMAX technology. “The premiere audience was thrilled. The feedback following the first regular operating weekend was equally positive. We expect around 400,000 visitors in 2019,” predicts Papousek. This figure has doubled compared to 2016, when the cinema – at that time, without the IMAX auditorium – had its first regular year of operation.
Seating Comfort Is a Priority
Such an increase in the number of visitors these days is only possible if, in addition to the previously mentioned technology, the comfort level is optimal. Accordingly, the entire IMAX auditorium has been fitted with leather armchairs that feature double armrests. In addition, Cineplexx has planned numerous target group events, such as Ladies’ or Men’s Night, Family Days, Horror Evenings, etc.
ONE Salonica benefits from the dynamics of the Cineplexx location. Papousek explains: “The high-quality outlet mall is uniquely positioned. The population of Thessaloniki now sees it as more of an entertainment destination. Finally, as a result of the cinema, we have been able to increase the number of visitors to the food court, which, in turn, has improved the quality of the local gastronomy offer. This is a classic win-win situation that will be strengthened by the new IMAX auditorium.”
Reason to Celebrate in Tirana As Well
Immediately following the event in Thessaloniki, Cineplexx celebrated an opening in Tirana, Albania. The opening took place at QTU Shopping Center, where, since December 19, 2018, a cinema featuring four auditoriums, covering an area of 1,500 sq m, has been open to film enthusiasts. In 2019, the Austrian company plans to open three to four locations in Romania in cooperation with shopping center developer NEPI Rockcastle. A new cinema will also be opened in Kosovo – specifically, at Galeria Prizren in Prizren.
This confirms Papousek’s belief in the future of its business model, in which retail properties are essential locations. He reasons: “When all quality features are met, the cinema experience prevails over home entertainment. This is in spite of the fact that the highly attractive streaming offers of Netflix and Amazon Prime have changed the way people spend their leisure time. However, anyone planning to binge-watch a series at home, for example, ‘House of Cards’, will not leave home to go to the theater, a sports event, or a restaurant. Entertainment competition is diverse, and cinema experiences continue to stand out.”