Confirming the trend of mega-size multiplexes in the Middle East, the Bahrain Cinema Company (BCC) will spend BD6m ($2.65m) to build a 8,000 sq. m., 20 screen, 4,200 seat Cineco Cineplex in Bahrain City. The press release spares nothing when it comes to grand claims about the future facility:
The Cineplex screens will be equipped with the latest technology, in the process greatly enhancing screening and viewing pleasure. It will be the only Cineplex in the region that will also include a special exquisite cinema screen for VIP cinema-goers who wish to enjoy consummate service and in-cinema hospitality which will all be available in the three-level shopping and leisure destination Bahrain City Centre, which is sure to be a landmark development for Bahrain when it opens in the second half of next year, as it will have almost 330 retail units, spread out over a total Lease able area of 150,000-square-metres. A total of 317 units have been taken up since marketing efforts began two years ago, with tenants ranging from the world’s most recognizable brands to popular local retailers, catering to all tastes and budgets.
So just as in India and elsewhere the cinema business is closely tied to the retail-real estate industrial complex. BCCalready operates four other cinemas in the city state, including a 16-screen multiplex in Seef Mall. And while the new 20-screen cinema promises that it ‘will have a reputable coffee shop franchise [is Starbucks ‘reputable’? -Ed.?], candy stores and a variety of snacks and munches like crepe, Fresh fruit juices, cookies etc. ,’ don’t expect there to be a bar. There are limits to the number of Western concessions that even a liberal Gulf State like Bahrain will tolerate.