Embassy Theatre

10 Kent Terrace,
Wellington 6011

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Embassy Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened October 31, 1924 as the 1,749-seat Deluxe Theatre, the Embassy Theatre is believed to have one of the largest screens in the Southern Hemisphere. Its exterior is stripped classical, and the interior is classic Greek Revival hardtop. The lobbies are mosaic floor, and the theatre contains a Sicilian white marble staircase, blue tiled walls, and bronze fittings.

The original screen and proscenium is hidden but preserved behind an enormous 70mm screen and proscenium installed in 1960. The downstairs is closed but not damaged, reducing seating to 852. Renovation revealed original paintings hidden behind 1960’s false ceiling. Work was completed on 19th December 2001 for the premiere of Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings”.

Contributed by Alistair Stewart

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

GraemeEdwards on October 16, 2004 at 10:13 pm

This is the official site for the Trust that owns the building. Lots more pictures here.

RobertR on October 17, 2004 at 6:23 am

I am trying to see if I got this right. When 70mm was installed the screen was hung high and the orchestra was not used? Then they built two new cinemas under the balcony?

mrt1924 on April 7, 2005 at 8:08 pm

This lovely theatre is protected by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust with a Grade 1 listing.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on January 17, 2006 at 1:41 pm

A recent exterior photograph of the Embassy Theatre with a “Lord of the Rings” ‘extra’:
View link

Bradley Knewstubb
Bradley Knewstubb on October 13, 2008 at 2:17 am

Now operated by Sky City Cinemas, still only one screen.

Mark747 on March 13, 2010 at 3:48 pm

More historical information and photos on the Embassy here:
View link

Wilkinson on May 12, 2010 at 5:22 pm

Just to correct the info given above, the 70mm screen and proscenium was installed in 1960 not 1965.
The first 70mm film shown was “Porgy and Bess”.

itinerama on December 23, 2014 at 1:57 pm

Several rows in the stalls were used when 70mm was installed.You had to strain your neck and eventually they closed the stalls.I did sit there once but never again.The theatre manager’s brother was an actor in the fifties. It was truly the only place to see 70mm. The nearby Kings also had a fantastic 70mm screen ,only 2 feet smaller than the Embassy.The Embassy had the largest 70mm screen in Australia.Nothing in Australia or New Zealand matched the awesome screen as far as 70mm went.Australian 70mm screens were always small. I also worked at the State(later called Cinerama),Plaza,Kings,Tudor(later called Lido). as well as the Paramount. (as did my parents).As a child I remember cinemascope being installed at The Kings and seeing 3D at the Tudor.

itinerama on December 23, 2014 at 1:58 pm

Meant to say the largest 70mm screen in Australasia ,not Australia

davidcoppock on December 1, 2016 at 12:49 am

The Embassy Theatre had the Australasian premieres for “The Lord of the rings, The Fellowship of the ring”, “The Lord of the rings, The Two towers”, and the World Premiere of “The Lord of the rings, The Return of the king”.

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