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History of the Regent Theatre: 1980

By Allan Webb Prev | Next

1980 saw nothing of great merit out of the school holiday periods which produced winners such as I Am For the Hippopotamus with 1572 patrons in four days and The Wilderness Family Part 2 with 3,517 in six days and 216 for another three days at odd session times.

We had a second Film Festival which, as with the first, was not a great success, having 662 admissions for the week. That was to be the last of such Festivals with one film daily until 2001 when it was tried again with a different approach and organization backing it.

An unknown exploitation documentary, Beyond and Back, managed to attain a miraculous 1,274 people in six days during November.

After being at the theatre for several years, I had spent large sums on improvements, not only for the business, but also to the building as it had been in such a poor state. The landlords were considering selling the building prior to Waikato Amusements taking up a lease and as it had been running at a loss for about a decade, had not kept it up to a satisfactory standard. The cavity in the far wall was full of bees and smelt awful and besides that, the whole of that wall leaked badly and caused a lot of damage to the new wall curtains which had to be replaced. The lobby roof was in bad condition and every now and then the whole roof area flooded and the water would pour down the main entrance stairs and out the front door. The first new carpet that was laid there was flooded shortly afterwards and as it shrank, new carpet had to be laid. The next new carpet was also flooded twice before the roof was replaced. The main roof needed attention plus painting and it also leaked. I decided that it was senseless going on in the same fashion, having improvements ruined and asked the Company if they would sell the building to me. By this time they realized that I had put myself into a vulnerable situation and they could ask a price well in excess of what it was actually worth at the time I took it over, only because of what I had done to improve it. The Chairman at that time was V. Thomas who was a very definite kind of person. He said a price would be quoted and there would be no discussion whatsoever regarding it. Had I bought it when I took over the business, I would have got it for half the price.

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