Hoyts Cinemas acquires Australian Multiplex Cinemas

Columns

Hoyts Cinemas is expanding with a deal to acquire the Australian Multiplex Cinemas (AMC) chain. AMC owns five multiplexes, three in Queensland, one in northern New South Wales and one in Melbourne. There are 44 screens in the five complexes. The Queensland complexes will give Hoyts its first presence in Queensland.

Hoyts, controlled by Pacific Equity Partners, currently operates 50 multiplexes and 406 screens in Australia and New Zealand. This purchase will increase that to 55 multiplexes and 450 screens. Hoyts intends to continue the full digitization of the new complexes.

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The New Zealand Government has stepped in and ensured that Peter Jackson's film of The Hobbit will be made in New Zealand. The Prime Minister had talks with Warner Bros. and Jackson after Australian arts and entertainment unions had called for higher wages. The productions had considered a move to the U.K.

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What do the West Newton Cinema in Boston, Mass. (population 620,000) and the Arts Centre Cinemas in Christchurch, New Zealand (population 400,000) have in common? They have both had very long runs with a little known German-Hungarian film. Ein Lied von Liebe und Tod (Gloomy Sunday) ran for 70 weeks in Boston between 2003 and 2005. IMDB lists its total U.S. box office as US$223,827 as of November 2003. They do not have a release date for the film in New Zealand, where it is now in its tenth year in Christchurch, making it the longest currently running film in any Western country. I cannot even recall an Australian release, but it was on the multicultural channel SBS TV in Australia a couple of weeks ago.

Gloomy Sunday is a romantic drama set mainly at a restaurant in World War II Hungary and it revolves around the song of the same name. The film was released in Germany in October 1999 and debuted in Christchurch in 2001. It will celebrate 10 years at the cinemas in February. Reportedly, an Indian film, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, is currently in its 15th year at one cinema in India.

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Mad Max 4—Fury Road has been delayed once again. More unseasonal rains have greened up locations around Broken Hill. This is great news for local farmers, bringing the area out of drought conditions, but bad for filming. The 3D production is now set for early 2012.

E-mail your Australia/New Zealand news items to David Pearce at insidemovies@hotmail.com.