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Byline: By Mark Stead South Wales Echo

The new owners of a city centre cinema say they are confident of winning the big-screen war of South Wales.

UK cinema developer Vue Entertainment has bought out the seven-strong Ster Century movie house chain - including its site in Cardiff's Millennium Plaza - in a deal thought to be worth about pounds 50m.

The 3,263-seat cinema faces tough competition: it and five major rivals within 20 miles of Cardiff have 75 screens between them.

That has led to suggestions the area does not have the demand for them to all be successful.

But Ster's new owners - who will finish their rebranding of their new outlets as Vue Cinemas by the end of July - are in optimistic mood.

'There is no reason for us not to be successful in Cardiff,' said Vue Entertainment's Tim Richards.

'With its stadium seats, great screens and exceptional quality, Ster Cardiff perfectly complements our current circuit - the most modern in the country - and we're delighted to welcome it.

'We've inherited a first-class team running the cinema so we're confident of a smooth transition. We look forward to continuing to provide Cardiff with the best possible state-of-the-art cinema.'

Vue has not revealed whether it will make any changes to the cinema, but any it does make will improve it.

Their 14-screen Welsh acquisition, which employs 50 full and part-time staff, opened in the Millennium Plaza in April 2002.

The cinema has a chequered history. Despite being ready to welcome movie-goers in August 2001, the doors remained closed until the following year because of a lease condition in which Ster stated it would not open until the Plaza had filled sufficient space.

That led to a row between the pounds 50m Plaza's developers Delancey and the South African cinema chain, which was eventually resolved. SCREEN OVERLOAD?: This is the total number of multiplex screens in and around Cardiff:

Ster Century Cinema, Cardiff (soon to be Vue Cinema): 14.

UGC, Cardiff: 15.

UCI, Cardiff: 12 (plus six gallery screens for previews).

Showcase, Nantgarw: 12.

Odeon, Bridgend: 9.

UGC, Newport: 13.

TOTAL: 75 (plus six gallery screens).
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jun 8, 2005
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