Hoyts Regent on Manners

52 Cuba Street,
Te Aro,
Wellington 6011

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Built as a replacement to the 1920’s built 1,239-seat Regent Theatre on Manners Street in the city centre. Opened in 1982 as a 3-screen cinema, it was taken over by Hoyts in 1993 and converted into a five screen complex. Hoyts Regent on Manners closed late in 2009. The cinema building has been redeveloped as a Le Cordon Bleu cooking school.

Contributed by David Coppock

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ABCDE
ABCDE on July 2, 2017 at 9:59 pm

The original Wellington Opera House was built on this site in the 1880s. In 1915 it became Everybodys Theatre screening silents. It was demolished in 1924 and the spectacular Regent Theatre was built. It was lavishly decorated in the house style of J C Willamson Theatres of which the Regent in Palmerston North and Melbourne are of the few still surviving.

It was always a prestige 1st release house and was always programmed for the more “quality” films. It suffered major earthquake damage in 1942 and was closed for several months. It was taken over by Kerridge Odeon Theatres in 1945 and continued until 1978 it was deemed an earthquake risk and was demolished. It also caught fire at this time.

The Regent Center was opened in 1982. Ground level was a walk through shopping mall linking through to Cuba Street and upstairs were 3 cinemas seating 450, 450 & 230 plus a large restaurant and bar. The cinemas were very poorly designed with the screens being too big and the front rows always being a source of complaint. Opening night films were ‘The French Lieutenants Woman’‘Arthur’ & ‘The Scarecrow’.

It was taken over by Hoyts Cinemas in 1993 and increased to 5 screens by dividing the two 450s straight down the middle into 4 X 200. These proved much better than before although they were very long and narrow so the screen size was now quite small. It was renamed Regent 5 and then Hoyts Regent on Manners. Hoyts had also taken over the nearby Midcity 3 and also increased that to 5 screens.

Major competition came with the opening of The Reading Cinema Centre in Courtenay Place and in 2009 both the Regent and Midcity were closed and Hoyts pulled out of Wellington.

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