Despite valiant efforts on the part of the company Jyohakyu which is behind Salon Cinemas, Hacchoza and Cinetwin Hondori, their fourth independent cinema space located in a corner off Shintenchi “park” will close by the end of this year.
The company took it over from Takarazuka in 2004, but the building has housed a movie theater since the Shintenchi Gekijyo opened there way back in 1952. Although its focus on arty films mixed in with the odd blockbuster initially pulled in a decent audience – over 60,000 customers in 2007 – numbers started to drop precipitously and by 2010 annual audience numbers had halved.
The increase in the number of cinema complexes has had an effect, but it has been the move towards digital in the film industry in general that has hit Cinetwin Shintenchi hard. Without a digital projector, Cinetwin Shintenchi was unable to screen most new releases and relied more and more on showing older movies. Jyohakyu president, Junko Kuramoto, told Chugoku Shinbun that the company had considered making the close to ¥10 million investment needed to purchase a digital projector and the construction work its installation would require, but was unsure whether they would be able to make the money back. The main priority is to put all their effort to making their remaining theaters the best they can be and show the best films they can, she said.