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History of the Regent Theatre: 1990

By Allan Webb Prev | Next

We enjoyed many first run films during this year and once again at very good film hires through Pacer Kerridge. The new James Bond Licensed To Kill and Batman were shown over the Christmas school holidays to some good figures but product was not strong after that and admissions dropped dramatically. For thirteen weeks the admissions ranged from 180 – 480 and although the films were new, no one wanted to see them.

The May school holidays went well with Look Who's Talking but there was nothing strong for the children. We were screening a lot of titles and the Mid term break was virtually the same. Back to the Future Part III did a good run into the school holidays and the Little Mermaid achieved good numbers at the matinees. Once again in November the admits went down to 210.

At the end of 1990, I approached Joe Moodabe of the Amalgamated Hoyts chain of theatres and we came to a similar arrangement to that of Pacers. I had known Joe from 1969 when I subleased the Victory Theatre in Green Lane off Amalgamated Theatres Ltd.

A flat rate was to be paid in advance and this ended up being considerably less than the deal I had with Pacer Kerridge, although the benefits were not as good. Unfortunately the film hires increased immediately as they were paying more for films. We had enjoyed very favourable film hire terms under Pacer but that situation was a closed book and hires would continue to rise.

Immediately, we were able to procure bookings of first run films that were on the Amalgamated circuit starting with Days of Thunder which ran for nine weeks and Another 48 Hours which did not perform well. We were still screening a lot of titles each week.

We enjoyed some good and early releases and had the benefit of some very experienced people. Hoyts eventually took over full control and the head office was gradually reduced to key personnel and by the turn of the century was down to the Film Manager only, although this was for a short interim period. Hoyts and Village/Force hoped to merge fully during 2000 and to be operated by Village/Force. The Commerce Commission did not allow this to happen as they believed it would become a monopolistic operation. Therefore, Hoyts re-introduced their office again and set up themselves with a new manager.

In 2002, they are still responsible for placing films at this Theatre and buying on our behalf.

Any confectionary deals we had with them did not last for very long as they too stopped paying for goods, making it difficult for us to obtain confectionary.

There have been several changes in management and bookers but I have managed to maintain the relationship and have had very good support from all the people that I have had to deal with. Mark Croft was the Booking Manager after Joe, for over three years and now we have Karen Cafe (nee Morley) and the Manager, Stuart McInnes, looking after our interests.

The theatre enjoyed a very successful period as Pacer Kerridge closed the Embassy in Hamilton, September, 1989 so that at this stage Hamilton had only two theatres and so did we.

Both Hamilton theatres needed money spent on them, especially the Regent. We had a better selection of films because we changed more frequently, therefore business improved with over 40% of our patrons coming from out of town. The average number of times that people went to the pictures was the highest in the country at that time.

I would like to point out at this juncture that the film bookers at Pacer Kerridge Val Carter, Bob Broad and Mark Croft were extremely helpful and contributed to the welfare of the Theatre. Joe Moodabe of Amalgamated/Hoyts Theatres was responsible for dating pictures when we swapped camps and I have to say that he has been very supportive at all times.

When he went to Village/Force he continued to be most cooperative. He's a great person and his name is synonymous with the industry. He just loves films and they are his life. Mark Croft took over from Joe and he continued to give a service that we could not ask to be bettered and I am very grateful to these people for their support, effort and friendship over the years.

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