With the opening of a second Bornean location for MBO Cinemas, the cinema chain now has 183 screens in 25 locations nationwide.
The cinema operator is known for its various cinema designs and it shines through in the interior of its latest outlet, MBO Imago Mall. During the outlet's official opening ceremony, MBO Director of Operations Mariam Yazmin El Bacha headed the media briefing and explained the uniqueness of the newly-introduced Actuator seats and Auro 11.1 3D sound system, both available at the new cinema.
Cinema Online had the chance to sit down with Mariam and ask her about MBO's sales target, future plans and unique designs.
Cinema Online: Hi Mariam, congratulations on the opening of MBO Imago Mall. Can you tell us which locations will you be opening next?
Mariam: Thank you, MBO Imago Mall is our first location in 2015. Next, we will be opening an 8-screen cinema by July in Sungai Petani, Kedah. Other than that, we will be doing expansions and renovations, changing the look and feel of our outlet at The Spring Shopping Mall in Kuching as well as adding two more halls. For our Kluang Mall outlet, the entire cinema will be renovated and 4 more halls will be added. That's for 2015. From 2016 to 2018, we plan to open 3 locations every year.
What is your sales target for MBO Imago Mall?
Mariam: We need to achieve approximately 350,000 admissions because we opened in March. It's a conservative target we aim to achieve.
The design for this outlet is interestingly different compared to existing ones, will future locations feature unique designs too?
Mariam: For MBO, we don't have only one cinema design; it's not a design that is cookie cut. We think about it according to the locations. For this location, it can be deemed as aquatic, inspired by the ocean wildlife in Sabah. For future locations, it will depend on the malls they are located at as well as the surroundings, like how for MBO Citta Mall we feature a children's theme as the area is more family-oriented.
Since GST was implemented earlier this month, any changes to MBO price tickets?
Mariam: We only added the 6% GST onto the existing ticket prices, unfortunately it's something that we have to do.
Do you mind sharing with us a little background about yourself?
Mariam: [Laughs] Yes, who is this lady with an accent? I'm an Argentinian. I have been working in cinemas for 18 years, in England, Argentina, Australia, Vietnam and now in Malaysia. I have worked previously with [CEO of MBO Cinemas] Eng Hee in Vietnam. That's how we got connected and I came here.
Can you tell us about your favourite movies as well as movies you are looking forward to this year?
Mariam: I have two answers, one is an intellectual answer and another is a childish answer [laughs]. The first one is "Cinema Paradiso", it's an Italian movie that talks about the passion of cinema. The second answer is "The Sound of Music", I can watch it over and over again, I know all the songs. I'm looking forward to the blockbusters like "Avengers" and "Terminator". I'm also excited about "Mad Max".