'Popcorn strike' hits Hoyts cinemas in New Zealand

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Day and Date Down Under

Cinema employees at several Hoyts cinemas in New Zealand recently staged a "popcorn strike.” Popcorn sells for around NZ$7.90 for the smallest size at Hoyts Cinemas in the country. As part of the "strike", the workers’ union handed out free popcorn to all cinema patrons at a number of selected cinemas and sessions. Employees at Event cinemas were recently given a pay rise by that company after strike action. 

Wayne Smith has resigned as managing director of Reading Entertainment after 15 years at the helm of the Australasian branch. Smith came to Reading after 22 years at Hoyts Cinemas and has overseen strong growth in those 15 years for the chain. He will be replaced by Mark Douglas.

The new live-action version of Disney's 1998 animated feature Mulan is now filming in the rugged South Island of New Zealand. Kiwi Niki Caro (The Zookeeper's Wife) is directing a cast that includes Jet Li, Donnie Yeung, and Yifei Liu as the film’s titular heroine. A Chinese fortress has been built in the filming location for the NZ$290 million feature. The film is planned for release in early 2020.

The biggest Australian-Chinese official co-production to date,The Whistleblower, recently started filming in the state of Victoria. In the drama, a Chinese ex-pat (Jiayin Lei) working in Australia for a mining company finds out some disturbing information about the technology being used and starts investigating. Writer-director Xue Xiaolu, who made the U.S.-based Chinese film Finding Mr Right and its sequel, is directing. The film is based at the Docklands studios in Melbourne with several country locations including the decommissioned Hazelwood power station in the Latrobe Valley.

Village Cinemas announced that they have plans for several new cinemas in Australia. Among the new sites is the inner-city suburb of Green Square in Sydney. This is a new suburb that has risen out of the ashes of a previously rundown area of factories and warehouses. They also have plans for the outer Sydney suburb of Edmondson Park, Clayton in Victoria. and Inalooo in Western Australia. No opening dates or cinema sizes have been announced.

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