Behind the scenes at Kinopark – one of the most popular movie theaters in Armenia – there is another world that most customers don’t even know about.
“Beyond the big screen lies a world that most of our customers fail to imagine,” says Areg Danielyan, the Director of KinoPark․
Flashing lights in the darkness indicate the operation of a powerful system that ensures the smooth functioning of a next-generation movie theater. Cinema technicians diligently monitor the projectors and equipment.
“The technology is quite complex. We don’t manually control the projectors. Instead, using a specialized program, movies are separated from the server based on the cinema halls and schedules. Each movie has its own unique online key, which is activated during the screening. Consequently, each screening has its own distinct key,” explains the Director of KinoPark.
At KinoPark, it is possible to watch any movie released worldwide. On the way to his office, he opens one of the rooms and, pointing to an employee sitting in front of a computer, says, “If you ask Marina, she can tell you which films will be released globally in the coming months.”
Marina Ghambaryan is the Movie Rental Мanager at KinoPark and has been working at the cinema since 2016.
KinoPark collaborates with the major film production companies worldwide, enabling them to organize the Yerevan premiere of popular films. Since its establishment in 2015, the company has regularly updated cooperation agreements with film producers, although negotiations are sometimes necessary. For example, Areg Danielyan mentions the need to negotiate with the Walt Disney Company to explain that it is not feasible to show the same film 15 times a day, as demanded by Disney. After all, films from other companies should also be shown on the six halls’ screens of KinoPark.
KinoPark opened in the Yerevan Mall multifunctional trade and entertainment complex, eight years ago. Despite the passage of time and continuous technological developments, it remains the leading cinema in Armenia. “We are the only one in Armenia to provide such quality,” states Areg Danielyan.
KinoPark is equipped with state-of-the-art cinema equipment from the renowned German brand BARCO, featuring unique 4K quality screens and a Dolby Atmos sound system, which are exclusive in Armenia.
The Director does not complain about the decline in the audience, even with the increasing availability of online movie streaming.
“You’ll never experience the same magic at home as you do in the cinema. People also come for the superior service. Here, they enjoy comfortable seats in large cinema halls, with year-round standard heating and cooling adjusted according to the season. They come with friends, buy delicious popcorn, and immerse themselves in a sound system that is unmatched at home,” says Areg Danielyan.
During the COVID19 pandemic, when cinemas were forced to close, there was a fear that the audience would never return. However, fortunately, they managed to “win back the audience” through captivating films, although not completely, but they are working towards that goal.
Overall, the film industry still faces the impact of the pandemic, disrupting the scheduled premiere dates. Strangely enough, even the smallest change can have consequences for film production and cinema operations.
“If screenwriters in the USA protest, it may also affect Armenia, and the film may not reach us on the scheduled date, resulting in changes to the film schedule,” he explains.
Movie theaters surpass movie rentals by offering a diverse array of cafes and bars. “Like the best cinemas in the world, we strive to attract visitors with our bar selection and a range of popcorn options that is integral to the movie-watching experience,” adds the Director.
Moreover, it’s not solely Hollywood blockbusters that draw audiences to KinoPark. The halls are full at all times of Armenian comedies.
KinoPark stands out as the first cinema that embraced a customer-centric approach through digital technologies, having established a website and a mobile application years ago in Armenia. “Guests can conveniently purchase tickets or food directly from the app, saving precious time and allowing them to enter the halls immediately for their movie experience,” says Shushan Avagimyan, the Director of Business Development at Yerevan Mall. The application offers various promotions, discounts, and other flexible opportunities that are unmatched.
KinoPark consistently surprises its audience with new projects. In February of this year, the cinema launched the #MerKino campaign, showcasing the best examples of Armenian cinema on the big screens, including “Men”, “A piece of sky”, “We and our mountains”, “The tango of our childhood”, and “Big Win.”
According to Shushan Avagimyan, these films were chosen for their representation of Armenian life in its various forms. “All the selected films encompass humor, everyday life, family, love, routine work, and the challenges that come with them, with an approach to problem-solving that only Armenians can truly understand.”
The campaign’s sole objective was to reevaluate the Armenian film library and make it more accessible to new generations, allowing them to once again enjoy these movies on the big screen. “The campaign was not driven by commercial purposes, so it is impossible to measure its effectiveness through financial means. Instead, we gauge its success through the wonderful feedback from our guests, expressions of gratitude, mentions on various platforms, comments, and of course, the number of visits,” adds Shushan Avagimyan.
There are more Armenian films deserving of attention, and perhaps in the future, alongside modern blockbusters, other Armenian masterpieces will grace the big screens of KinoPark. When asked about this possibility, the cinema management prefers to keep some surprises under wraps for now.
“KinoPark represents a multifaceted cinema that merges tradition and modernity, vintage and innovation, culture and the digital age. In any case, this is definitely not the end of the movie,” concludes Shushan Avagimyan.