Twenty-five new screens open in Brisbane

Day and Date Down Under

Anyone who thinks that cinemagoing is on the wane should head to Brisbane in Australia, just north of the Gold Coast. Three new cinema complexes with a total of 25 screens have just opened, and five new complexes are on the way with another 39 screens, making a total of 64 new screens over about three years. All of this shows great faith in the industry along with some new trends. Many of these new cinemas are going up in areas where large new apartments are being built, and are even part of the developments. Dendy just opened a 10-plex in the redevelopment of the Coorparoo Apartment complex. The independent Sourris family have opened a new seven-screen cinema in a converted building, which housed the Queensland Irish Association, and have just lodged a development application to convert a former skating rink into a five-screen cinema in the suburb of Paddington. Reading has two new complexes on the books, the eight-screen Newmarket cinema opened on Dec. 14 and a new complex among a series of residential towers at Woolloongabba due to open 2021-22. The other three complexes have not announced who will operate the cinemas, but they include nine screens at Mount Ommaney Shopping Center, eight screens at the Ferny Grove apartment redevelopment and a further eight screens at two eight-story apartments in Wynnum.

Village Cinemas recently changed their name to Village Entertainment, as they plan more 4DX screens and launch their virtual-reality arcade unit, XOVR. In 2018, Village will open what they call their first "Full Concept Cinema" in the Melbourne suburb of Plenty Valley. This will have a collection of premium cinema-going experiences including Vjunior, Vpremium, Vmax and Gold Class, along with what Village says is a collection of food and beverage options not yet seen in the Australian cinema market.

It not just new cinemas in the news. The Majestic Theatre in Taihape in New Zealand is celebrating its 100th anniversary, although its history is a bit older. The Station Street Theatre was built in 1912 to show silent films. In 2018, it was totally destroyed by fire and was rebuilt as The Kings Picture Theatre. Then, in 1925, new owners bought the cinema and it became The Majestic. By 1981, the theatre was on its last legs, the council took over, sold the equipment and then sold the building to a demolition company in 1987. That was when the community decided it was time to save the building. Over the years funds were raised, firstly to pay out the demolition company, then to restore the building and equip it, and later to install digital equipment. Happily, we can report that the old cinema is operating well and looking forward to its centenary this year. The theatre has a full history of the building on sale at the cinema.

Greg Hughes has resigned as CEO of the local exhibition/distribution group Dendy/Icon. No replacement has yet been announced.

With director George Miller currently in a legal tussle with Warner Bros. over Mad Max: Fury Road monies, it looks like any newMad Max film will not be forthcoming anytime soon.

UPDATE: Several months ago, we reported on the new Ned Kelly film The History of the Kelly Gang, which films in 2018. Now much of the cast has been announced, with British actor George Mackay (Captain Fantastic) to play Kelly, a role previously filled by Heath Ledger and Mick Jagger, among others. Russell Crowe is also in the cast along with Aussie Travis Fimmel (TV series “Vikings”) returning home for the filming. They will be joined by Essie Davis (The Babadook) and Nicholas Hoult (Mad Max: Fury Road).

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