Cinema City Galaxie
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Cinema City (Israel) (Official)
Operated by: Cinema City International
Functions: Movies (First Run)
Previous Names: Multikino Galaxie
Cinema City Galaxie is the direct successor of the first multi-screen cinema in the post communistic countries in Central and Eastern Europe, called Multikino Galaxie (not associated with the Polish cinema chain Multikino*). Even though this theater had eight screens, projectionist themselves refused to call it a multiplex, because it did not fit the Western standards (just like World class video and sound systems).
Multikino Galaxie brought to Prague open seating and previously unknown ham-flavored popcorn. It was a domestic investment of 3.7 million USD and actually a refurbished cultural center. It opened on 4th April 1996, only after a half-year preparing, and had a total capacity of 1,126 seats. Among the particular auditoriums were huge differences - in size, as well as in the technical equipment.
One of the co-owners of the former theater said in the Czech press: “It has a lot of deficiencies and is expensive - it was built hastily, in a communist building originally designed for something else, in addition it was in Prague’s Bronx”. And yet, in its best times (1999) it covered more than 13 percent of all tickets sales in the country. The key of its success was its monopoly, which lasted from 1996 until 2000, when the first modern multiplex in Prague opened its doors (Ster Century Cinemas Park Hostivar; now Premiere Cinemas Park Hostivar).
With increasing information on the construction of new and newer multiplexes in Prague, owners of Multikino Galaxie realized that they needed to invest in upgrading the cinema. The low standards of Multikino Galaxie should be subjected to the test soon. The owners decided to find a strategic investor, because banks didn’t want to give domestic subjects loans for this purpose anymore. The investor eventually became the predecessor of today’s Cinema City International (IT International Theaters).
In June 2000, construction began on a new multiplex, which should already fully meet international standards for a modern multiplex. Its construction site was located directly next to the existing cinema, which remained in operation until the opening of the new site. Into the new Galaxie site a sum of 10 million U.S. dollars was invested. Mooky Greidner, chief executive officer of IT International Theaters, at that time said to Prague Post: “We knew that if we stayed with the old [building], we would have no chance to compete".
Instead of eight very different halls in the new building nine auditoriums of similar size and advanced technology was designed. In addition, a much needed three storeys underground parking with a capacity of 480 parking spaces was added. For theatergoers, the first four hours of parking are free. The total capacity of the new theater reached 1,728 seats; the largest hall has 330, the smallest 80 seats.
The new Cinema City Galaxie opened on 28th June 2001; a day after Multikino* Galaxie closed its doors for good and became abandoned. In the first week ticket prices were less than two dollars (60 CZK). It was the first theater of the Israeli owned Cinema City International chain in Czech Republic, which became – after the takeover of Palace Cinemas – the country’s largest chain.
A curiousness of Cinema City Galaxie is a projection room with a glass wall. While waiting for the movies, visitors can see how the films are prepared and screened. Perhaps the main disadvantage of theater is that it is not located within any shopping mall, but it is a separate building. Additional services are completed only by a Kentucky Fried Chicken site and a bank branch. Conversely a big advantage is that it is positioned directly on the final subway station (Line C - Haje). The metro ride from downtown takes 25 minutes.
In response to the hard competition in the Czech capital city Prague, the Galaxy site launched its own loyalty program in August 2010. Loyal visitors could get points for purchasing tickets, which can then be exchanged for rewards in the form of food or free tickets. After the six-screen miniplex Multikino* Ladvi (also not associated with the Polish Multikino chain) changed into a two-screen cinema, Cinema City Galaxie become the cheapest multi-screen cinema in Prague. While the basic ticket price in the Galaxie site is 149 Czech Crones (CZK) (less than 8 USD), other multiplexes of the Cinema City chain in Prague have a basic ticket price of 179 CZK (more than 9 USD) or 17 percent more, just like in the competitive Cinestar sites (Cerny Most and Angel).
All nine screens are equipped with digital technologies, which include Barco (DP2K-19B & DP2K-23B) and Christie (CP2000-SB) projectors with 2K resolution, Doremi (DCP 2000) and Dolby (DSP/DSS 100 & DSS 200) cinema servers and the MasterImage 3D-system (in screens #4, #6, #7).
Although Galaxie is economically one of the weakest multiplexes in Prague, it can be expected that it will continue to have a strong position in the Cinema City chain in Czech Republic. An important role will be played by the fact that the operator is also the owner of the building, which also serves as Cinema City’s headquarter in the country.
- multikino can be translated into English as “multi cinema” and in the 1990’s this term became in Slavic languages common to describe a multi-screen cinema. Multikino is also the brand name of the second largest cinema chain in Poland that opened its first multiplex in 1998 (Poznan) and currently operates 226 screens in 27 locations across Poland and two in the Baltic states Latvia and Lithuania.
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