12 Mar – Hong Kong theatre chain UA Cinemas has recently closed its door after failing to survive the struggles caused by the pandemic lockdown.
The movie theater operator announced its shutdown on 8 March in a statement that read, "We regret to announce that UA Cinemas will cease business with immediate effect from [8 March 2021] due to unavoidable and devastating pressure faced by our operations since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic."
It is noted that the Hong Kong government previously had to impose a restriction on entertainment facilities twice last year following the surge of COVID cases, which had put a devastating pressure against many cinema owners as well as production companies.
Despite the government's efforts in providing financial support to these businesses, the funds were not enough for UA to solve its financial troubles.
It was reported early in January this year that in order to assist the operators, the Hong Kong government would be providing cash subsidies to cinema operators. A one-off payment of HK$100,000 (USD$12,900) would be paid to each screen at a licensed commercial cinema operating in November 2020. The maximum per circuit is HK$3 million (USD$387,000). A total of HK$21 million (USD$2.7 million) was expected to have been paid out.
Founded by American businessman Ira Kaye, UA the company, which had been operating since 1985, had six remaining theatres prior to its shutdown.
However, its Macau theatre, the UA Galaxy Cinemas is still operating as usual.