New Hoyts cinema complex arrives in Christchurch

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Day and Date Down Under

The devastating earthquake that struck Christchurch in New Zealand left it with no central-business-district cinemas. A few years ago, the boutique two-screen Alice Cinematique with 75 seats opened and was the only cinema in the area. Among many business losses following the disaster was Hoyts’ eight-screen complex on Moorehouse Avenue.

Now, the city is welcoming back cinema patrons with the opening in September of the new prestige Hoyts EntX cinema complex. The newly constructed three-story building has food outlets on the ground floor and seven cinemas occupying the top two levels. The seven screens have 900 reclining leather chairs, with the two largest auditoria being xtremescreens with Dolby Atmos surround sound. The top level has two Luxe cinemas with food and drinks.

Paul Wood, Hoyts general manager of operations in New Zealand, said, "The look and feel, the technology, and everything about this cinema, it is going to be our flagship cinema."

Christchurch is well on the recovery road now, and can expect a new two-screen art-house cinema in the Arts Centre next year. The previous cinemas in the Arts Centre no longer operate.

 

The new Bruce Beresford film, Ladies in Black, opened at number two at the Australian box office with A$2.2 million, behind Johnny English Strikes Back. The local production has received strong reviews and is expected to be the first Australian production for some time to surpass A$10 million at the box office. The romantic comedy/drama shows very strong female appeal and is expected to perform very strongly during the week. The first Sunday taking was higher than Saturday, something which certainly augurs well.

Ladies in Black is based on the 1993 Madeleine St John novel about the women in an upscale department store dress department in Sydney in 1959. It stars Julia Ormond, Rachel Taylor, Ryan Corr, Angourie Rice and Vincent Perez. A theatrical musical based on the book has toured Australia in recent years and also proved popular.

Director Luke Sparke has just started filming Occupation: Rainfall in the Hunter Valley and the Gold Coast along with other Australian locations. This is a sequel to the 2008 Australian film Occupation. It stars Temuera Morrison, Dan Ewing, Stephany Jacobsen, Aaron Jeffrey and Crazy Rich Asians cast member Ken Jeong. In the sci-fi thriller, Earth has been occupied by aliens for two years, but a battle against the oppressors starts in Sydney.

Thora Daphne "Toots" Holzheimer is described as Australia's first female truck driver. She drove the rough outback roads of Far North Queensland from the 1960s to her death in 1992. Producer and director Tristan Barr is currently working with scriptwriters to bring her story to life and hopes to film this biopic next year.

The last inner-city drive-in in Melbourne, the Coburg Drive-In, is up for sale and could close soon. The three-screen complex occupies eight hectares of prime redevelopment space. Village Cinemas says that it will continue to operate as long as possible, certainly until the end of its current ten-year lease. There are only three drive-in cinemas still operating in Victoria.

Send your Australia/New Zealand news to David Pearce at insidemovies@hotmail.com.