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Cinema experience

I am in sympathy with Mark Cardona's letter (January 18) bemoaning the cost of living; however, I would like to correct some inaccuracies contained therein.

He says he used to watch movies at least once a week but cut down to barely once every six months blaming the "forever creeping prices and the massive parking problems unless you pay for the honour of parking under the cinema". The current price of Lm2.70 and Lm2.85 (for premium theatres) was introduced over two years ago after a price stability of five years.

The current prices were introduced in January 2004 following the increase in VAT to 18 per cent and other cost increases. Since this time our prices have remained unchanged despite enormous pressure from massive water and electricity cost increases that has affected us all.

Furthermore, it should be pointed out that since June of last year, in an effort to make the cinema experience more affordable and convenient to our patrons, many thousands have taken up our offer of a special price of 50c for parking in a secure and convenient car park right next to the cinema.

This vastly reduced price is available all day from Monday to Thursday and Friday until early evening.

We would love to take up Mr Cardona's suggestion of reducing the 50c parking charge to nil, but let us be realistic; does Mr Cardona really believe that building, maintaining and operating a car park with 24 hour security comes at no cost?

Again, while I appreciate the general pressure on the cost of living, I sincerely believe that together with our distributors KRS, we continue to offer to the Maltese public two to three hours of great entertainment, films released mostly at the same time as the UK, presented in THX quality sound, in the comfort of stadium seating, a really big screen, and the option of parking next door.

Perhaps Mr Cardona does not remember that not so long ago, prior to 1993, cinemas were cheap, but so was the total film presentation: films brought here months after their release, wooden seats, no air-conditioning, mono sound, old projectors, filthy halls. In those days nobody went to the cinema.

These days, quite the contrary, cinema exhibitors continue to offer the highest quality in presentation and comfort, not to mention the number of offers that ease the pressure on the cost of going to the movies. Mr Cardona should try our current Vodafone Tuesday offer, which costs Lm2.70 to Lm2.85 plus 50 cents for parking for two people to watch any film of his choice. It's even cheaper in the afternoon.

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