A long time ago, there were some huge cinemas with ground floor and upper floor seatings that can house about a few hundred spectators at any one time. These cinemas eventually start to lose their audience and started operating with a loss with the emergence of video CDs in the market. The VCDs were selling new movies very soon especially during the time when pirate VCDs were rampant.
Most of these cinemas are no longer operating, except for the one in Penang Road, exclusively showing Hindi movies. For a while, indeed there was no life in cinemas. After a while, some investors started creating mini cinemas, or cineplex, with many smaller rooms, each showing different movies at the same time, with the hope of maximizing profits. These cineplexes thrived for a while, but the popularity did not last long. Very soon, the cineplexes gets abandoned and very few people frequent the cineplexes. Many would prefer to, again, watch VCDs at home.
After a while, there is a wave of new shopping malls. These new shopping malls also have cineplexes in there, and there is a whole new concept to attract the younger generation, the new group of executives who are more likely to be interested in the highly publicised new movies. They are interested to watch these movies with all the special surround sound effects, and lately, the 3-dimensional effects.
Cineplex in Gurney Plaza
The cineplex in Gurney Plaza is probably the most popular cineplex in George Town. It is under the management of Golden Screen Cinemas that has cineplexes in many other prime locations in the country. The cineplex is on the top floor of Gurney Plaza which stands facing the sea at Gurney Drive, and tickets are almost always sold out in this cineplex.
This cineplex is kept relatively new and well maintained. A feature of the Golden Screen Cinemas is that there are twin seats and single seats available, with the twin seats being a popular choice by young couples going to the movies as a date. Within the vicinity of the cineplex, there are foods and drinks sold for movie watchers, and memorabilia of movie character figurines are also available at the merchandise shops just a few steps away. You will not miss this place as movie posters begin decorating the area at the escalator.
Movie watchers may opt to purchase tickets at the ticket counter, or to buy them online through the Golden Screen Cinemas website, which is www.gsc.com.my. As the biggest cinema management company in Malaysia, they also offer promotions and conduct events for the new movies, plus make things easier for ticket buyers. For example, PayPal account holders are now able to pay for online ticket purchase with their PayPal account, collaboration with mobile companies with special offers for movie tickets purchased by the mobile phone service account, cinema meal promotions, contests related to the movies and birthday promotions. The management is never exhausted of new ideas, which has become helpful to revive cinematic experiences in George Town.
Cineplex in Queensbay Mall
There is also a Golden Screen Cinemas cineplex in Queensbay Mall, a mall situated at the other end of the Penang island, right at the entrance of the Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone. While Gurney Plaza is considered a high-end shopping mall in the island for the middle higher and higher income levels, Queensbay Mall is just a notch lower, meant for the middle income group. However, this is only to refer to the brands availability and not the pricing of the products.
The Golden Screen Cinemas cineplex in Queensbay Mall has the same features as the one at Gurney Plaza. It is next to the skating rink at the top floor of the shopping mall, and you will realise that the cinema chain had maintained its style and sections. The cineplex is also almost always full house, mainly because of its prime location, since most employees in the industrial zone also purchased homes nearby. It would be the nearest shopping mall for them.
Cineplex in Kompleks Bukit Jambul
There is a cineplex under Lotus management in Komplex Bukit Jambul. It is one of the first cineplex in the island, and today it still stands with minimal audience. The Kompleks Bukit Jambul itself is abandoned by locals, except for the need of cheaper products or computer parts. There is nothing to applaud at this cineplex except for those who wish to stay out of the crowd for a cinematic experience.
Cineplex in 1st Avenue
This is, at this moment, the latest addition to the island. The 1st Avenue is the latest shopping mall in George Town next to Prangin Mall and KOMTAR, and it caters to the higher income market. The cinema management belongs to Tanjung Golden Village, another cineplex chain which is quite popular in the country.