The West End Park Cinema in Qatar’s Industrial Area has temporarily been closed following a sudden change in management.
The cinema, which opened in January 2014 and screens movies geared toward the country’s South Asian population, sold tickets at a discounted rate of QR15 (compared to the usual QR35/seat), and was a huge draw particularly for low-income workers living in the area.
The two theaters could seat some 500 residents at a time, and screened, among others, new Bollywood movies that were popular among moviegoers there.
Many movie-goers have expressed disappointment about the closure, said Essam Hassan, who is sales manager of the new owner of the West End property, Ibin Ajayan Projects.
Speaking to Doha News, he said:
“We we’re doing our very best to speed up the process of transferring legal paperwork and ownership so that we can open the theater up for the workers.”
However, he declined to say when the cinema would actually reopen.
According to Hassan, the West End property, which includes the Grand Mall, an amphitheater, and a cricket pitch was previously owned by the Jassim Bin Mohammed Group (JBM). On Jan. 1, the contract with JBM was cancelled and Ibin Ajayan Projects was called in to manage the facilities.
The company has so far been working to complete all relevant paperwork necessary to institute the management change, including canceling contracts and re-hiring tenants under the new company, and doing routine maintenance work.
“We also had ticketing systems that had to be re-vamped, new software needs to be put in place, and we have to get the civil defense approval renewed, so we decided to do both – transferring contracts and maintenance – at the same time,” Hassan said.
So far, other events scheduled to take place at West End, including a Feb. 12 concert featuring the internationally acclaimed Algerian singer Cheb Khaled, are slated to run as planned, and have not been affected by the change.