Ballarat’s cinema gold rush
| Originally famous as a boomtown following the discovery of gold in the 1850’s , Ballarat (Victoria, Australia) has a rich cultural and artistic heritage. The latest development is to open a second cinema in September next year. |
Showbiz Cinemas will open a six-screen cinema as part of the Delacombe Town Centre complex, bringing the city’s total number of screens to 15.
Director Chris Jones said the company had been looking for a site in Ballarat for about 18 months and hoped to capitalise on the city’s growth to the west and south west.
“We knew that there is an existing market for existing Ballarat but certainly in that particular area, the reality is that there are a lot of people in Ballarat who don’t frequent the cinema on a regular basis but we believe we will complement the existing cinema audience,” Mr Jones said.
“(it’s) too early to say in terms of price point but what we would say is it’s about the provision of choice to the consumer and it’s about the entire cinematic experience and offering.”
The seat number and the exact footprint of the site is yet to be determined.
The centre will have parking for 811 cars, compared to on street parking only at Lydiard Street’s Regent Cinemas.
Showbiz Cinemas has theatres in Swan Hill and Portland and operates Twilight Cinemas, which hosts indoor and outdoor screenings in Victoria and New South Wales.
The Showbiz Cinema will be the first challenger for Regent Cinemas, which celebrates 40 years this year.
Regent Cinemas manager Stuart Moores said competition “can be healthy” but said he doubted Ballarat, with a population of just over 100,000, had the base to sustain two cinemas.
Geelong, which has twice the population of Ballarat, has two cinemas each offering adult movie tickets between $11 and $15 at peak times.
Showbiz Cinemas’ Swan Hill theatre tickets are comparable to those of Regent Cinemas at about $18 for an adult ticket.
Regent Cinemas has nine screens, one of which is gold class.
“Any competition can be healthy if you look at it the right way, whether it will actually affect us too much I don’t think so but you’ve always got to assess your competition and if you need to make changes you do that to stay in business,” Mr Moores said.
“At the moment we wouldn’t think Ballarat is big enough for a second one quite yet, maybe in another 10 or 15 years but if they want to throw their hat in the ring good luck to them.”