An iconic Soviet era central Tallinn cinema may well be closing its doors forever, after the tenant company announced it is halting business at the venue.
Kosmos cinema on Pärnu mnt had in recent years been operated by the Cinamon movie chain and in 2014 was repointed as an IMAX format venue, but a lack of audiences, competition from newer movie theaters and also the pandemic rendered its continued existence uneconomical.
Cinamon CEO Andac Bagioglu said that: "Although the building is easily accessible, there is nothing in the way of ancillary businesses in the environs which would realize the full experience of cinema-going. The behavior of cinema-goers to look for additional entertainment, in addition to watching the movie."
Despite the cinema's relatively central location on Pärnu Mnt 45, a lack of parking space has also been an issue for potential audiences, while, despite there even being a "Kosmos" tram stop, public transport links are not adequate either, Bagioglu said.
Bagioglu said that so far as he was aware, none of the major chains were planning to take over the premises.
Art-house Cinema Artis was last year linked to the Kosmos site but opted to remain in its existing location in the Solaris shopping mall, around a kilometer away.
Leitti Mändmets, Marketing and Sales Manager at one of the major chains, Apollo Kino Baltics, confirmed to ERR that their company had no plans to take over Kosmos, while Kristjan Kongo, head of Forum Cinema, told AK the same.
The Covid pandemic dealt the cinema a blow in that the building's owner, Saturn Investments, sold out to another company, TNS Sat Capital, last June, after which Cinamon remained the only tenant in the building, while the restaurant which had also been a tenant was closed. This was exacerbated during the worst of the pandemic, when cinemas in general were either closed or had limited capacity.
The cinema shows its last screenings this Sunday; Cinamon has another movie theater at the T1 mall, which, Bagioglu said, has plenty of parking, public transport links and nearby eateries, stores etc.
Designed by Ilmar Laasi, Kosmos opened in March 1964, and the building itself remains under heritage protection.
The cinema underwent a makeover in 2014 when it became an IMAX-format theater.
The closure is the second involving a long-serving cinema in Estonia in the past year. Last June, the Ekraan cinema, which had been in operation even longer than Kosmos (since 1961) closed permanently, while the site is likely to be redeveloped as a commercial property.
Editor: Andrew Whyte