September 2024 Calendar South Africa

Streaming killed the movie star? List of Ster-Kinekor cinemas set to close

Amid plans to lay off about a third of its workforce, Ster-Kinekor has earmarked nine cinemas for closure while reviewing several others.

Free Printable September  Calendar for South Africa
Free Printable September Calendar for South Africa

Scarcely two years after exiting business rescue, Ster-Kinekor has announced plans to lay off 236 employees and close up to nine of its cinemas in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape.

The South African cinema giant has stated that it needs to undergo restructuring due to factors such as a challenging economic environment, load shedding, financial constraints, and the impact of the Hollywood strikes which saw many movie releases being moved to 2025.

September  calendar - South Africa
September calendar – South Africa

These factors have resulted in substantially lower cinema attendance, which has further impacted revenue.

“As these are forces largely out of the business’s control and the financial impact is likely to endure for some time, Ster-Kinekor Theatres has had to review its cost structure to ensure the continued survival and sustainability of its business,” the company said.

Which Ster-Kinekor cinemas will be closing?

Mainly cheaper theatres, where tickets are between R65 and R75, are affected by this decision. The nine cinema locations earmarked for closure, are:

Bayside (Western Cape) Boardwalk (KwaZulu-Natal) Mimosa (KwaZulu-Natal) Shelly Beach (KwaZulu-Natal) Cedar Square (Gauteng) Maponya (Gauteng) Matlosana (Gauteng) Southgate (Gauteng) Sterland (Gauteng) Gradual closure

The cinema chain served staff with a section 189(3) notice back in February 2024, beginning the retrenchment process of 236 of its 728 employees.

Ster-Kinekor said the “cinemas will be closed at gradual intervals, conditional on lease negotiation agreements” over a period of six months.

Ster-Kinekor cinemas under review

Additionally, the company is also reviewing plans to close another eight cinemas, which would lead to the loss of an additional 69 jobs, according to MyBroadband.

The affected Ster-Kinekor cinemas are:

Secunda Wonderpark Bedfordview Cradlestone Mooi River N1 City Rosebank Nouveau Rustenburg. Business rescue and direct-to-streaming blockbuster originals

According to BusinessTech, Ster-Kinekor entered business rescue in January 2021 due to the severe effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns.

Although the company was profitable before the pandemic, despite competition from streaming services, cinema closures, seating limitations and curfews led to significant financial losses.

Additionally, video streaming services Netflix, Amazon and Disney have invested in direct-to-streaming blockbuster originals, with monthly subscriptions available at a fraction of the price of a movie ticket.

The ‘Barbenheimer’ effect: Too little too late for Ster-Kinekor

Despite the rescheduling of releases last year and in 2024, two titles released in 2023 provided a significant boost for Ster-Kinekor.

Barbie and Oppenheimer were both released in July 2023. In September 2023, Ster-Kinekor chief marketing officer Lynne Wiley told MyBroadband that Barbie was the top title of the year so far.

Photos: Instagram @barbiethemovie and @oppenheimermovie

“Both Barbie and Oppenheimer have performed extremely well on the Ster-Kinekor circuit,” said Wiley.

“Barbie‘s cinema attendance is No 1 for the 2023 calendar year to date and has ranked in position 20 in the Southern Africa All Time Top 100 list for Box Office as of August 2023.”

Oppenheimer ranked eighth in attendance for the Ster-Kinekor Circuit Three calendar year at the time. It was also the top IMAX release with the highest attendance of the calendar year.