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Hoyts accidently sold the property to an agent for Greater Union and they built a triple in the 80s which still stands and some screens converted to a Health Centre.
All external signage has been removed and it lies awaiting its fate. Projectors & stage end stripped but everything else still inside.
Now gutted and reopened as a Galaxy Games area.
Overhead offices are in the old projection room.
This has always been the State Theatre and was built for Amalgamated Theatres who always looked for vacant land behind retail so they could get cheaper rent and only pay prime rent on the shop-front access to the foyer/cinema behind. The Embassy was and is still standing 2 city blocks to the West on the other side of the rail line. There is no heritage listing on this building – all the art deco is fake. I took over the State from Hoyts in 2000 and was responsible for getting Dennis Donovan to build the 4plex. We split the original screen and lifted the roof over the shops and upstairs billiard room to create 2 new screens. It opened as a joint venture between myself, Village-Force and some local investors. We sold 50% to Movieland Group when Napier multi opened and operated the Twin cities as a JV. At a later date, Movieland acquired the remainder 50% they did not own and eventually sold the greater Movieland Group (6 locations)to Reading Cinemas who current lease this site.
Someone has their wires crossed on this one. The original Maidstone Cinema was a single screener, the first cinema every built within a shopping mall in NZ, opened early 1974 and operated by independent exhibitor Bryan Jennings. I took over the business in 1988 and sold it to my manager Lou Howell in 1994 who ran it until it closed to make way for an extension of the mall. This cinema is now demolished. The new Ascot 4 cinemas (Opened 2007) are located across the carpark from the extension to the mall and built above Hazelwoods Furnishers.
This property is advertised for sale in the SMH today. Tenders close 30 November 2004. Details:
This is the official site for the Trust that owns the building. Lots more pictures here.
Here are some pictures & sound details.
The Embassy underwent a major restoration/re-development in 2003 as a precursor for the World Premiere of Peter Jackson’s RETURN OF THE KING. The “tacky” proscenium installed in 1965 for 70mm was removed and the huge screen was moved higher and further back – this time a new proscenium was created that is in keeping with the existing style of the interior and one would never know it is not original.
The stalls, which hadn’t been used since 70mm was installed, were finally sealed off and two new cinemas were built in this disused space. Other improvements include: air-conditoning, reduced seating to accomodate wider rows & bigger more luxurious seats, foyer refurbishment, new 35mm/70mm projector & all Digital sound formats. A great cinema to see a movie – the sound and picture rock!