Cathay Cinema (Building)
Located along China Street, Cathay Cinema was one of the three large purpose-built movie theatres in Miri. Like the other cinemas of the time, the building was basically a large hall with rows of seats within and a small stage at the end, with projector screens on the wall showing films.
Hawker stalls selling food were conveniently right next to the building to satisfy hungry movie-goers. Stalls like these still exist there today, though it is now a much less busy area.
Competition between the three theatres (the other two located at Lutong and Kingsway) for the small population of Miri were cutthroat. With pressure to showing the latest movies or by using the latest renovations and upgrades or air conditioning, the theatre struggled during the era of video tape and VCR machines, where anyone can record movies on videotapes or rent, and the beginning of widespread use of laser disc technology pushed it over the edge. By the early 1990s, the building sat empty for a period of time before it was eventually renovated into a supermarket by Nam Leong.
The converted building still exists today, though looking very much worn but showing remnants of its past cinema features.
The building in 1987 (Picture from Social Media)