Kota Kinabalu lost its last two traditional stand alone cinema halls when Golden Screens move from its Kampung Air site formerly known as the BFO Kilan and Poring to the Suria Shopping Mall Cineplex last year.
The building was sold to the Hap Seng Group to be converted into a premier car show room and office.
The future seems to belong to the Cineplex in shopping malls. Golden Screens also operates another Cineplex in the 1Borneo mall in Kuala Inanam, Kota Kinabalu.
A Taiwanese business operates eight Cineplex entertainment halls in Centre Point Sabah, which supplements its group income with pool tables and amusement machines including karaoke with eateries.
Formerly there were several big high ceiling stand alone cinema halls in Kota Kinabalu and Tanjung Aru.
They were the Cathay that was burned down after conversion as a food court, the Capitol that was converted into a supermarket and then reconverted into three Cineplex by the Cathay Group, the Victory that was demolished to make way for the Wisma Tun Fuad Stephens, the Boon Pang Kinabalu that was converted into a church, the Lido that became a supermarket with a church on top of it, the Merdeka that also became a supermarket, the Berjaya hall that became a furniture showroom and now vacant again.
These cinema halls were victims of the technological revolution of the television, disco, VCR player, VCD, MTV outlets.
All the smaller cinemas from Beaufort, Papar, Menggatal, Tuaran, to Kota Belud were also victims of the home entertainment video era.
Cinemas in Kota Kinabalu also suffered from the video rental business and the MTV era but bounced back to face the bootleg VCD and now the DVD and Blu Ray onslaught and seem to be holding on to the big time well thus far transformed as Cineplex.
Dating couples, students and die-hard fans especially civil servants during early lunch hours on Friday will ensure their survival.
Local films also attract predominantly Muslim crowd and in any year, they comprise less than twenty productions that last less than 30 days of screening, most within two weeks.
Cinemas bring in the crowd and benefit surrounding shops. They add value to commercial areas surrounding them. They also contribute to parking congestion. They provide escapism to the public from the routine and mundane of life.
Many people live a vicarious life through their screen idols. Cinemas make the money from their dreams of heroics and fame. So do the government from tax.