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History of the Regent Theatre: 1999

By Allan Webb Prev | Next

The sequel to the hugely successful Babe came out at Xmas and everyone was very high on it. Unfortunately, it did not deliver because it was quite dark and did little business compared to the original. A Bug's Life was the big Disney holiday release and did quite well playing until Easter. The evening product was not strong and consequently the holiday period was very lean.

February, 1999, was the first of what looked like becoming a regular bad period with school expenses and two lots of taxes due. Business was very lean going down to 252 admissions in a week with 3 screens which averaged out to 6 people per session.

Apart from the holidays and some odd weeks, figures remained very lean for the rest of that year.

Rugrats was a surprise success in the Easter school holidays

Patch Adams was a very nice film which suited Te Awamutu and started to good figures at Easter, although Mighty Joe Young had very disappointing results.

The second Warriors film, What Becomes of the Broken Hearted, played here day and date and did exceptionally well compared to other situations.

The new Star Wars film, Episode One, started in June and did quite well going into the next school holidays.

The Mummy was the most successful film in the September school holidays at night and Disney's animated feature, Tarzan, at the Matinees. Big Daddy also did quite well during these holidays.

After this, business dropped away with the usual poor pre-Xmas figures going down to 268 admits

At the end of the year, Cinema 1 was also to be completely revamped. This was a major development as the seating was reduced to 157. The front seating area was removed forever, the floor was stepped and raised a metre, the side seats upstairs were removed and different seating was installed in one center block providing excellent sightlines from all seats. We recovered the deep sprung back seats from the Odeon Theatre, Napier and seats from Cinemas One and Two, Auckland. A section at the back had to be cordoned off so people would not walk in front of the projector beam.

Cinema 3 was also revamped. We were to lose 13 of the 53 seats and by re-flooring the sight lines and comfort were considerably improved making it a very nice auditorium to watch a film in.

In Cinema One, a new red velvet curtain from Denmark was installed, as were new floodlights with red medium to shine on the curtain.

I decided to install six track Dolby Digital sound in Cinema Two this year. The results were excellent and it was ready for the new Star Wars film. Unfortunately, the prints that came to New Zealand had a flaw in a couple of the reels and drop-outs occurred. This meant that the sound reverted to Stereo from Digital and it could be noticed in the Theatre. It was a learning curve and we always try to preview films as early as possible to determine the digital sound settings. If they are running too high we play the films in S.R. (Spectral Recording) so that there are no sound problems.

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