New cinema to open in financial district

The single-hall outlet Salt Media@Capital Tower is an independent operation and is not part of the major chains.
The single-hall outlet Salt Media@Capital Tower is an independent operation and is not part of the major chains.ST PHOTO: JASMINE CHOONG

SINGAPORE - A new cinema will open this week in the heart of the financial district.

Located on the ninth level of Capital Tower in Robinson Road, the single-hall outlet Salt Media @ Capital Tower seats 228.

It is an independent operation and is not part of the major chains, which include Golden Village Multiplex, Shaw Organisation and Cathay Cineplexes.

The cinema, which opens to the public on Thursday (Jan 17), is the result of a partnership between media production and distribution house Salt Media & Entertainment and property firm CapitaLand.

In an interview with The Straits Times, Salt Media & Entertainment founder and chief executive Sherman Ng, 40, says that the operation is the only full-fledged cinema in the central business district.

"It's a fresh take in the use of space in a building like Capital Tower. We are not competing with the likes of Golden Village, but we want to offer a curated set of films for people in the area," he says.

One factor that will set the space apart will be its choice of films. There will be an emphasis on what the firm calls "inspirational" films, according to its press statement.

Ng clarifies this to mean films that offer "a valuable message, about family, courage, honour and human rights".

The space is designed to be multi-purpose, so when it is not screening films, it can be hired for corporate events.

But Ng considers it to be a proper cinema, because it holds ticketed screenings that are open to the public and the hall features a 9m-wide screen, a 4K laser projector of the sort used in cinemas, and a Dolby 7.1 sound system.

The cinema will operate a cashless system. Snacks and drink transactions are carried out with Nets, credit cards or GrabPay. Ticket sales are online only, at www.SaltTheatres.com, with no sales at the door.

Ticket prices will be higher, at $12 on weekdays and $16 on weekends. Chain cinemas in the downtown area charge around $9 on weekdays and $12 on weekends.

Ng says that the higher ticket price is justified by factors such as the cost of space in the business district and the convenience it offers those working in the area, who would not mind paying extra to save travel time to a cinema farther away.

The cinema's opening movie is Storm Boy (PG, 100 minutes), an Australian film based on the classic 1964 children's novel of the same name by Colin Thiele.

First turned into a well-regarded movie in 1976, this 2019 remake tells the story of a child, Mike "Storm Boy" Kingley (played by Finn Little) who lives with father Tom (Jai Courtney) in a remote area by the sea. The lonely boy rescues and raises three orphaned pelicans. He becomes attached to the one he names Mr Percival.

The premiere screening on Tuesday night at Salt Media @ Capital Tower was attended by actor Finn Little and director Shawn Seet, as well as the Australian High Commissioner to Singapore, Mr Bruce Gosper.