With the injection of R250 million by its new owners, the business is starting to make profit again with this past weekend of the much-anticipated sequel, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, achieving R16.6 million at the box office across 230 cinema screens.
By Edward Tsumele, CITYLIFE/ARTS Editor
When the country’s leading cinema house Ster Kinekor announced the news at the beginning of the year that it was going into voluntary business rescue, many a cinema love must have panicked. After all this is the African continent’s leading cinema house boasting 51 commercial cinema complexes in South Africa, with six international sites based in Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The cinema chain’s sites house more than 404 large-scale screens, with 57 647 seats and the largest 3D footprint featuring 140 state-of-the-art 3D screens in South Africa (Commercial, 3D, IMAX and Cine Prestige). The company operates in six cinema complexes with 33 screens and 4 077 seats in Africa.
And so the stakes were high. Covid-9 had done a devastating blow to the film industry globally with a series of Covid-19 lockdowns making it impossible for cinema lovers at go to the movies, and rather stream movies on several platforms such as Netflix and Showmax.
However movie lovers who have been missing the experience of enjoying a movie with friends and family while holding a packet of popcorn will be happy to know that Ster kinekor has successfully exited the business rescue process and is now ready to open its doors wide to the public.
With new owners, in fact the cinema giant has reported positive results in the past few weeks, pointing to good times once more.
Ster-Kinekor Theatres yesterday, November 14, 2022, announced that it has successfully exited the voluntary business rescue it entered in January 2021. This follows a lengthy process that was brought about with the closure of all cinemas due to the initial hard Covid-19 lockdown period in March 2020.
The business rescue (BR) plan included a R250-million capital injection submitted by Blantyre Capital and Greenpoint Capital in December 2021. The BR plan required approval by 75% of the creditors and shareholders. By March this year almost all the creditors and shareholders voted in favour of the business rescue plan and sale, ensuring Blantyre Capital and Greenpoint Capital as the new owners, Ster Kinekor Theatres confirmed yesterday.
“We are delighted with the positive outcome that has been reached, following the business rescue process,” says Motheo Matsau, Deputy CEO of Ster-Kinekor Theatres (who acted in the CEO role throughout the Covid-19 and BR period). “The business was hit hard by the pandemic and the subsequent various lockdown levels when we could not trade at all. This impacted our staff, creditors and of course the landlords of the malls that house our cinema complexes. Everyone remained optimistic and supportive of the business, and it is a great relief knowing that the business will continue with sound financial backing.”
Today, Ster-Kinekor owns 60-65% of the cinema theatre market with 51 movie complexes in South Africa featuring 404 large-scale screens, with 57 647 seats, 140 3D cinemas and nine IMAX screens, giving it the largest 3D footprint in the country. The company also oversees six complexes in neighbouring territories under varying commercial structures and agreements.
Attendance figures in the past few months have shown an upward trajectory that reflects the continued appetite by South Africans to return to cinema. There have been some challenges with regards to global film production and delays with big title release dates, but a slate of strong film content is making it back to our screens in time for the upcoming holiday season,” says Matsau.
“For us, cinema is central to popular culture and although its obituary has been written many times, we believe it is here to stay. I would like to thank the employees, partners and management of Ster-Kinekor for their unwavering support during this time. It has been a privilege to be part of the organisation and to lead it through that challenging period.
“We went through a period that not many businesses would survive but, because of the dedicated people involved in and with this organisation, we managed to pull through the difficulties. While there remains a great deal of work to be done to ensure a solid foundation for the business to grow, I believe our management team and staff can get this done.”
A number of blockbusters are heading to cinema over the festive season. The line-up includes the release this past weekend of the much-anticipated sequel, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which achieved R16.6 million at the box office across 230 cinema screens, including Ster-Kinekor’s IMAX and D-BOX cinemas, in Southern Africa from 11-13 November, according to figures released by Filmfinity.
Other big titles that cinemagoers can look forward to include another sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water, the new Whitney Houston biopic I Wanna Dance with Somebody and Puss in Boots.
Book your tickets at www.sterkinekor.com or download the SK App on your smartphone. For news and updates, go toFacebook: Ster-Kinekor Theatres | follow Ster-Kinekor on Twitter: @Ster-Kinekor. For all queries, call Ticketline on 0861-Movies (668 437).