So I had my first Cinemark Curaçao experience last weekend. I went to see Jurassic World. I had wanted go check out the D-Box experience but found that it was sold out. So I settled for the 3D show with a good friend and 6 kids in tow. And an experience it was. I was pleasantly surprised by the plastic wrapped, clean(!) 3D glasses. The screen was very bright and the sound was awesome. The leather chairs are very comfortable adding to the very pleasant overall ambience.

What did take getting used to was the assigned seats, a new wrinkle in the local movie scene. Our group of eight did not exactly pay attention while taking our assigned seats and we were asked in a very friendly manner to fix that. So the grownups moved from one side of 6 kids to the other to solve the issue. To our great surprise we were asked to move again by another friendly cinemagoer on the other side. He was part of a group of 4 and only 3 seats were left between my friend and the edge of row G. My friend checked and confirmed he was sitting on the right spot, Turns out the man's tickets were for seats 19 through 22. But row G has only 21 seats. . .

The anecdote illustrates that Cinemark Curaçao is still ironing out some minor kinks. But they're definitely getting their act together. After all Cinemark is an internationally acclaimed movie theater circuit. Wikipedia provides the following information as of December 31, 2013:

  • The Cinemark circuit is the third largest in the United States
  • Manages 495 theatres and 4,457 screens in 40 states.
  • The most geographically diverse circuit in Latin America
  • Manages 148 theatres and 1,106 screens in 12 LA countries; the largest chain in Brazil.

This new arrival to the Curaçao movie scene might be getting ready to do battle. The cinema industry is cutthroat in nature. Back in the day the Movies was the only real cinema option we had in Curaçao, they made sure that the cinema at the World Trade Center had to close its doors. They used their size (6 screens) to persuade regional movie resellers not to provide the WTC movie theater (1 screen) with any (good) movies. and if you have nothing good to sell, well its curtains for you. Fast forward more than a decade. Now the incumbent cinema operators are confronted with a much bigger dog on their beat.

Now that they are the much smaller party The Movies and The Cinemas might now be in for a taste of Karma, who knows. With only their handful of theaters in Aruba and Curaçao, the De Veer Group does not stand a chance of surviving if the gigantic Cinemark Group would do unto them what The Movies did unto the WTC cinema. Let's hope this won't be the case.

With 3 multiplex movie theaters with multiple screens each, the Curaçao movie lover potentially has more to choose from than ever. But up to now Cinemark has only been an expansion hardware wise. Little more than a number of screens, be it with some very fancy technology added to the mix. Content wise we see that Cinemark is mainly offering the same movies as The Movies and the Cinemas. With the exception of Sensei Redenshon Cinemark was showing the exact same movies that The Movies and The Cinemas did on Sunday June 14, 2015.

So, the news is not all good. If you look at the movies being shown you see that the choice of movies has not improved at all. Seems like the Cinemark strategy for now is to differentiate on superior technology (against a higher price) and hope that this will be enough to ward off the competition. We, the Curaçao movie lovers, should not be pleased. There is little added value in a brand new multiplex movie theater that doesn't increase the choice of movies available at any time.

Karma or not, we need to keep The Movies and The Cinemas open to ensure a greater choice of weekly movies. We can force Cinemark to offer different movies only if we choose to go to the older theaters if they show the same movies as Cinemark. I would invite Cinemark to "force" us to go see a movie at their shiny new facilities if they offer a movie we want to see that is not made available by their competitors.

And it can be done. In 2014 The British Film Institute (BFI), criticized the “ridiculous” number of films released at British cinemas, which hit 13-a-week in 2013. Their argument: "it was hard for good films to stay on screen long enough to build an audience." We crunched the numbers ourselves and found out that on average 9 movies will be released on a weekly basis for the rest of 2015. No, not all of them will be blockbusters. But if the parties involved keep us - the customer- in mind as they decide on the right mix of cooperating and competing, they can ensure a minimal overlap in their supply and a greater choice for us the moviegoers. Now that would be a reality show I would like to see on the big screen!