Thieves target drive-in in Victoria


At its peak, Australia had around 300 drive-in cinemas. Currently only 20 remain open, with several operating weekends only. The Coburg Drive-in in Victoria attracted some unwanted attention last month when three men, two wearing masks and the third with his t-shirt pulled over his head, robbed the cinema box office at 9.30 p.m. They were armed with a crowbar and a machete. The attendant emptied the contents of the till into a cream-colored money bag and the men fled the scene. Police later located the t-shirt but not the offenders. As far as I can recall, this is the first robbery of an Australian drive-in in over 20 years.

Ice Age 4: Continental Drift had for many months been scheduled to open on June 28 in Australia, one day before the start of the winter school holidays. However, on June 25 teachers announced that they would strike in New South Wales on Wednesday, June 27. Executives at Twentieth Century Fox Australasia wasted no time. They contacted exhibitors and added some early sessions of the film on that strike Wednesday in Sydney and other NSW centers. Alerting patrons via Facebook and electronic media, Fox announced the early release of the film. Kerryn Tippett, a spokeswoman for Event Cinemas (Greater Union) said that they were adding the extra sessions for school students "looking to be entertained while their teachers strike." This is the first instance I know of in which a film has opened a day early in Australia due to a strike. Ice Age 4 opened at number one for its first weekend with A$4.9 million.

Many Australian actors are enjoying fame and fortune in Hollywood both in film and television. Ryan Kwanten, star of the popular TV series “True Blood,” has been taking a different route. Between filming of “True Blood” seasons, he has been picking lower-budget Australian films over big-budget Hollywood roles. His latest film, Not Suitable for Children, has just opened around Australia after a premiere as opening night at the Sydney International Film Festival. Kwanten plays a guy, who in the prime of his life, learns that he will be infertile in a month. He sets out to find somebody to have a baby with before it is too late. The film had an excellent reception at the festival and the distributor is hoping that translates into strong local box office. Kwanten has just started filming another Australian film, Mystery Road, in Queensland. He plays a pig hunter in the murder mystery, opposite Hugo Weaving and Aaron Pedersen.

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