HomeNEWSThe silver screen still reigns supreme

The silver screen still reigns supreme

Although Reading Cinema has been in New Zealand for 14 years, it’s avoided Auckland. By cutting the price down to $10, Reading Cinema hopes to cater to both families and individuals. The cinema will also offer a more expensive premium option – the TITAN XC – which will feature 20m wide screen and a huge 3D sound system.

Although doomsayers claim cinema is a dead duck, the older generation has been tempted back to the silver screen with age-appropriate dramas. This comes as cinemas change tack, committing less to massive blockbusters aimed at younger people and more to nuanced dramas featuring older actors. These movies are also attractive to producers as they are cost-effective. “The King’s Speech”, a box-office success and critical hit from 2010, cost just $10 million to make while earning $260 million worldwide.

According to a 2015 Flicks.co.nz poll, cinema-goers are highly price-sensitive, meaning Reading’s cut-price tickets are likely to incentivise audiences effectively. Two thirds of respondents say they would be more likely to visit a cinema if ticket prices are dropped by just $4, while four fifths feel movie tickets are too expensive.

A demographic split is also evident in the Flicks poll, with younger respondents self-reporting as more likely to pirate a film. Fifty four percent of older respondents say they’ve never pirated a movie.

New Zealand’s cinema scene has also been affected by an increase in arthouse cinemas, such as Alice Cinematheque in Christchurch and Matakana Village Cinemas in Wellington. Cinemas of New Zealand, a website dedicated to promoting independent cinemas, says independent arthouse cinemas appeal to older people. Films shown at this type of cinema tend to be driven by critical response and word of mouth promotion. Unlike mainstream cinema chains, arthouse cinemas are usually independently owned and operated by New Zealanders.

Michael Putlack of Matakana Cinemas says movie audiences come in “ebbs and flows”, depending on the time of year and which films are screening. The cinema averages around 2 percent of total gross ticket sales for the country. He says the cinema tends to focus on older people, usually pensioners, and its content is tailored to appeal to them. He says it also caters for young people with kids’ movies screening as well. He says the cinema puts effort into its design, with one cinema having roses on the ceiling and another cinema having a chandelier. Unlike mainstream cinemas, Putlack says Matakana Cinemas focuses more on customer service by hiring people who enjoy movies.

LynnMall was New Zealand’s first American-style shopping mall when it opened in 1963. Listed property investors Kiwi Property bought the shopping mall in 2010. Centre manager Lauren Riley says there’s been an increased demand for dining and entertainment options. This follows the trend set by NorthWest mall last month, which also cited the same demands.

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