Palace takes over Byron Bay art-plex

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Australia has two major art-house cinema chains, Palace and Dendy, both very competitive. Dendy is owned by Icon. Both of these chains are also involved in film distribution. In terms of number of cinemas, Palace is larger, and in terms of number of films released per year, Icon is larger. Dendy Cinemas has operated a three-screen, up-market complex in the very trendy seaside holiday town of Byron Bay for the past ten years. The landlord recently increased the rent and Dendy decided to jump ship. Palace has now come in and taken over the cinema. They are re-opening it in November after a short closure. Benjamin Zeccola, executive director of Palace Cinemas, approached the landlord with an offer based on box-office takings and it has been accepted. Palace will add a bar to the complex and convert it to digital. They are also considering adding new screens.

It had a very limited release in the U.S. before going directly to video, it went directly to video in Sweden, and it had a very disappointing Australian theatrical stay, grossing around A$1 million on a wide release. But Bait3D has proved a huge success in Asia, especially in Malaysia and China. As of this column’s deadline, it had grossed over 150 million yuan (about US$24 million) at the Chinese box office, coming in ahead of several high-profile American films. A sequel is already in the works for this story of sharks circling the aisles in a supermarket flooded by a tsunami.

Instead of showing a crime movie, a suburban Brisbane cinema was the chosen venue for a trio of criminals. Two armed men and a female accomplice broke into the Hoyts cinema through one of the cinema’s exit doors. Alerted to the intrusion, police surrounded the cinema and shopping center underneath and tried to find the men. They only found the female accomplice; the men escaped.

The remake of Sam Raimi's controversial 1981 horror film The Evil Dead is the first New Zealand film to use the new high-end Sony digital F65 camera. It recently finished shooting and is due for release in May.

Ewan McGregor is an experienced thief who takes on a young apprentice criminal in Son of a Gun, a new heist thriller that starts filming in Western Australia in early 2013.

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