Farewell GSC Pavilion KL

Dept. of So Long and Thanks for all the Fish (and Popcorn and Chicken Nuggets)


On 16th February 2020, the Golden Screen Cinemas Pavilion KL branch shut off their projectors for the very last time. Operations officially ceased on 17th February as GSC’s lease was not renewed and a new China-based cinema chain called Dadi Theater Circuit will apparently taking over the premises later this year.

It’s a Little Bit Funny This Feeling Inside…

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It’s an odd feeling having a local cinema close in its prime, its seats and screens still in good shape. Knowing it’s going to open again under a new name while GSC’s remain elsewhere only adds to that feeling.

I’ve seen favourite cinemas close or change for the worse back home in Ireland. The city centre used to be awash with cinemas, with most becoming derelict while awaiting redevelopment, demolished in the name of progress, with only slight hints of their presence remaining. I’ve seen multiplexes change hands multiple times as one giant company takes over all the branches of another but that usually happens over night. GSC Pavilion closing in its prime just feels weird.

While it would make a good story, I can’t say that their Pavilion branch was the first cinema I ever visited in Malaysia, but it might be the one I’ve visited most frequently over the years.  When I first arrived here, the Pavilion Mall itself was far from complete. From my nearby accommodation, I could see deep into the exposed maw of its half constructed shell, looking like the second Death Star over Endor.

A Local Shop, For Local People

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After it opened on 28th November 2007, living in the city centre over the next decade and a half, GSC Pavilion became my local cinema. Within easy walking distance of my home, it was perfect for the last minute cinema trip, plus I could grab groceries (or a pint!) downstairs before heading home. As my career moved from IT to film criticism, it became extra handy for catching cheap, early morning screenings for films that hadn’t been screened for the press, or whose screenings I hadn’t been invited to.

From the Justice League statues providing a watchful eye over the ticket lobby, to the small balcony by the cafe, where smokers could grab a quick ciggie before heading into a movie, GSC Pavilion had a few unique charms that set it apart from other cinemas.

Memories Are Made Of This

I’ve caught a wide range of films there over the years although the frequency has dropped as I’ve begun attended more and more press screenings. While I barely remember the experience, according to my booking confirmation emails, the first film I have a record of seeing there was Clash Of The Titans on 4th Apr 2010. I can barely remember anything about the movie itself now apart from Liam Neeson and something about a kraken being released?

It may not have been the first cinema where I tried Gold Class (we didn’t have them in Ireland when I moved here) but it may have been the last. In 2011, after the double header of the first Thor movie followed by Cowboys & Aliens, an executive decision was made to stick to normal screenings. The extra comfy seats and warm blankets were not a good combination with sleepy girlfriends. Is it worth the extra expense if what you’re paying for is essentially so one of you can have (an admittedly very nice) nap?

Since then I’ve always preferred to see movies in the Atmos theatre in Hall 3. None of  this IMAX or D-box malarkey for us. Two seats in the back row, A9 and A10, right in the middle thank you very much. Otherwise it’s Hall 9 to catch movies just before they leave the cinema forever. Like Andrew Stanton’s John Carter. By the time I finally got around to watching this one, the hype, and the hate, had long since died down and I watched the film “clean” and thoroughly enjoyed it! The Muppets, Captain America: The First Avenger, Source Code, The Social Network, I’ve seen some great movies here.

Over the years the screens at Pavilion may have been eclipsed by IMAX, ONYX, and other new technologies, but for me, there’s some experiences that are indelibly associated with the GSC here.  

Hey Look Ma! I Made It!

At the War of the Worlds:Goliath Premiere with Gavin Yap November 2012-The world was blurrier back then

It’s where I first saw my own name in the actual credits for a film. In November 2012, GSC Pavilion is where I attended the gala premiere for the Malaysian animated movie, War of the Worlds: Goliath. I ended up providing an Irish accented voiceover for a small part, although I had also been used as temp track for a larger Irish part that went to a “proper” actor. 😉

Your Name’s Not Down, You’re Not Getting In

Another unforgettable experience was watching the premiere screening and pink carpet event for Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver in 2017. I’d already seen the movie once by that stage, but I was still buzzing from having interviewed the director and his stars, Ansel Elgort and Lily James earlier that day. As hordes of fans waited for Ansel to turn up, I was on top of the world swanning around with my “media” badge.

The very last film I watched at GSC Pavilion KL was on January 30th 2020. I caught Enter The Fat Dragon starring Donnie Yen so we could review it on the podcast. Not an altogether bad movie, it’s still a slightly ignominious end to a long, happy relationship.

While we await the opening of the new cinema at Pavilion, I’ll be sure to hop on an MRT to MyTown, Sunway Velocity, or even to 1Utama. It’s barely an inconvenience, but it won’t be quite as easy as a quick stroll down Bukit Bintang for a last minute cinema treat.

Farewell GSC Pavilion. Thanks for all the memories.

Irish Film lover lost in Malaysia. Co-host of Malaysia's longest running podcast (movie related or otherwise ) McYapandFries and frequent cryer in movies. Ask me about "The Ice Pirates"

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