Cinemas and theaters now a story of the past

Gone are the days, when people trooped into cinemas to satisfy their viewing pleasure, as most homes were unable to own a television set at that time.

However, the once vibrant cinema industry, which employed a lot of people and served as a source of entertainment to many, has become a phrase of reference.

Sekondi-Takoradi had its share of cinemas namely, Vernice, Rex and Gyendu cinema in Sekondi and Princess cinema, Prempeh Theater, The View and Exile located in Takoradi.

These cinemas have been out of operation for a very long time, some of the buildings have become white elephants while others have been rented to churches, with others being used as offices.

For instance, Princess cinema has been sold to the Church of Latter Day Saints and Prempeh Theater has been out of  business, after the death of the owner.

Gyendu cinema in Sekondi has also been sold to the International Central Gospel Church, a part of Vernice cinema has been converted into a Church and the rest used as an office spaces.

In an interview with Mr. George Nkrumah Ansere, the Acting Manager of Ghana Tourism Authority for Western Region, he said the collapse of cinemas and theaters, was as a result of the accessibility to DSTV, Go TV and other pay TV stations, which aired most movies and are now available at moderate prices, “you can have the entertainment you crave in the comfort of your home”.

He  hinted that, the collapse of the cinemas and theaters, have not really affected his outfit in any way in terms of revenue generation, because the cinemas and theatres collapsed before the Tourism Act 817 was passed in 2011, which allowed them to regulate the  licensing of cinemas and theaters, pubs, nightclubs, restaurants, hotels among others.

He explained that with the passage of the tourism Act, the Ghana Tourism Authority, was mandated to generate some kind of revenue from these sources, but since they do not operate, no  revenue is collected.

Mr. Nkrumah Ansere, hinted that the government has plans to renovate the Center for National Culture into an ultra- modern multi-purpose cinema and theater which would hold 5D features.

The  renovated  cinema and theaters, he noted  would afford people the opportunity to experience entertainment outside the comfort of their homes.

Seeking the views of the public  as to why cinemas have died out, many attributed it to the lack of space in the Sekondi-Takoradi district.

They explained that, due to family inheritance issues, properties such as cinema halls, were taken over by family members, after the death of the owners and sold to churches and other business, noting that new cinemas could be erected but accessibility of land has limited that development.

They were quick to add that technology, has enabled people to have access to all kind of movies, turning most cinemas into ghost centres.

Also, with the introduction of DVD player people could buy movie CDs and watch it in  the comfort of their homes, technology evolved, the internet came along.

with some smart phones making it easy to download movies from websites such as YouTube, Toxicwap, HDpopcorn among the rest where one can get both foreign and local movies to watch.

In as much as technology has made entertainment easily accessible, people would still love to hang out with family and friends to spend quality time together having fun and making beautiful memories.

In this regard, it would be laudable if cinemas in Sekondi-Takoradi could  be revamped to rekindle shared joy and pleasure among families and friends.

Though you can now watch a movie of your choice anywhere any time, it is nice to step out once a while, for group hang out sessions and catch up on old times.

Source: GNA

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