Revamped Cinema a Hit with Movie-goers
Over 400 people have been through the revamped Hokitika Regent Theatre since it reopened as the only fully digitalised cinema in the country, on the 1st November 2009. Westland Community Centre chairman Bruce Watson said about 100 people attended the opening with the West Coast premiere of the Michael Jackson documentary This Is It. The large crowd included people from as far afield as Buller, Greymouth and South Westland.
The success of the theatre is a long way from where it was about four years ago, when the previous Westland Community Centre committee, led by former mayor John Drylie, condemned the Hokitika landmark for demolition. It now looks set to dominate the West Coast movie theatre scene for some time to come.
“What we have been dreaming of for the last 30 months has now all come together, thanks to the hard work of a community,” Mr Watson said. “It’s more than we could have hoped for.”
Being fully digitised, the Hokitika cinema can now screen blockbuster movies on the day of their release. Mr Watson said the theatre would have more screenings than in the past, with matinée sessions building up to three daily as well as more screenings throughout the week.
“What we hope to see happen as a result of more and more people going to the movies is that we can cover our running costs, and put money aside for maintenance and renewal of equipment, so we never get run down in the way we have been in the past.”