Greater Union Organisation Pty Ltd, trading as Event Cinemas, Greater Union, GU Filmhouse and Birch Carroll & Coyle (BCC Cinemas), is Australia's leading cinema chain; with 89 cinemas currently operating worldwide. Expansion into New Zealand and Fiji has aimed to increase international market share, under Australian parent company Event Hospitality and Entertainment.
|Greater Union Organisation Pty Ltd|
|Australia, New Zealand, Fiji|
|Parent||Event Hospitality and Entertainment|
From 1906 to 1911, during the silent era, Australia was the most prolific producer of feature films in the world, a period which included the creation of the first feature-length film The Kelly Gang. This creative and fertile period in Australian film history was largely created by competition between West's Pictures, Spencer's Pictures and Amalgamated Pictures. On 4 May 1912 the three joined to form The General Film Company of Australasia. On 4 January 1913 it then merged with The Greater J.D. Williams Amusement Co and restructured to become The Combine, a famous partnership between exhibition wing Union Theatres and the production and distribution wing Australasian Films.
The Combine monopoly was highly influential on the early twentieth century Australian film industry. However, it came under heavy criticism for its low interest in producing Australian films, its preference for imported cinema, and its reluctance to exhibit Australian films by other producers. Film icon and director Raymond Longford, whose independent production company had come under attack by the group, said in 1927 that "had it not been for the activities of that firm in its endeavour to crush it in its infancy, the local picture would now be 10 years at least advanced to the height now attained by the Americans." Historians have traced the sharp decline of the Australian film industry in 1913 to the repercussions of these series of takeovers and mergers. James Sabine has said that "the stranglehold of The Combine forced a decline in local production and contributed to many Australian production companies closing their doors."
The Combine continued to grow into the 1920s during the genesis of the Hollywood era with its focus on exhibiting American films. The Great Depression saw Union Theatres being liquidated in 1931 and its assets purchased by newly formed Greater Union Theatres. This new company split from Australasian Films, established the Hollywood-model subsidiary Cinesound Productions, expanded into radio and newspaper, and kept its major focus on building and managing cinemas. Due to The Depression, Greater Union Theatres merged into the General Film Corporation with Hoyts, a competitor who had secured Fox Film as a shareholder. In 1937 Norman Rydge became managing director and removed the company from the previous merger. In 1945 in the last year of World War II there was a box office boom and the British Rank Organisation purchased a half share in Greater Union Theatres. During this time Greater Union acquired the rights of ownership of many theatres across the country including what became the Phoenician Club in Broadway, Sydney in 1943, originally owned by McIntyre's Broadway Theatres and established as a cinema in 1911.
In 1958 the four holding companies in the Greater Union Theatres group were merged into the Rydge family Amalgamated Holdings Limited (AHL), and in 1965 Greater Union Theatres was renamed the Greater Union Organisation (GUO). In 1980 billionaire Alan Rydge was appointed Chairman of AHL to become the youngest chairman of an Australian public company. In 1984 AHL regained control over the now defunct Rank Organisation's half share, meaning that it once again became fully Australian owned. In 1987 GUO merged with Village Roadshow to form the distribution company Roadshow Film Distributors. In 1991 GUO acquired Birch, Carroll & Coyle. In 2003 AHL and Village Roadshow combined to form Australian Theatres.
Since 2009 a number of cinemas have been renamed from Greater Union Cinemas to Event Cinemas. On 22 December 2015 AHL was renamed Event Hospitality and Entertainment.
Event Cinemas have over sixty cinema venues around Australia, many located in large shopping centres. The cinema complexes comprise multiple screens. The below locations do not include sites that operate under the joint venture between Village Roadshow and Event Hospitality & Entertainment known as Australian Theatres.
Australian Capital Territory
New South Wales
With cinema admissions in decline, Event Cinemas has continued to experience growth by raising the price of admissions and offering "premium experiences" such as "Gold Class" which offers more luxury seating and food, "Vmax" which offers a larger screen, and alternate content including Bollywood films, football, gaming, film festivals, opera and standup comedy events.
Event Cinemas operates cinemas in New Zealand's major urban centres, including the Embassy Theatre in Wellington. Hollywood blockbusters are regularly shown alongside arthouse features and film festivals such as the New Zealand International Film Festival.
Gold Class cinemas, a luxury cinema format, is provided at a number of Event/BCC/Greater Union Cinemas locations in Australia, New Zealand & Fiji. Gold Class Cinemas include butlered refreshments, à la carte menu offerings and reclining seats in an intimate environment. Village Cinemas first originated the concept of Gold Class, and has since popularised with the integration into the Event Group.
All Gold Class Cinemas are operated in separate areas within regular cinema complexes. Event/BCC/Greater Union Gold Class branded cinemas are located at:
In New Zealand:
Vmax cinemas feature enhanced film display, picture quality, and digital sound. The screens at Vmax are all of width 22 meters or greater, and are placed in large auditoriums which feature larger seats, stadium seating and wider armrests. Some locations also feature Dolby Atmos. The Vmax format is also provided at many Event Cinema sites in Australia and New Zealand.
Using precision laser technology, IMAX with Laser creates the sharpest, brightest and clearest digital images. This technology is currently exclusive to Event Cinemas Auckland (Queen St).
GUO converted most of their Australian auditoriums and flagship cinemas to Digital Projectors, seeing traditional film and prints become extinct. The installation of these projectors means that most auditoriums are now RealD Cinema 3D capable.
In late 2018, the first 4DX screen owned by the Event Group was opened. 4DX is the next step for movies, taking audiences on a journey into the full feature film. Providing a revolutionary cinematic experience which stimulates all five senses, 4DX features high-tech moving seats and special effects including wind, fog, water and scents that synchronise perfectly with the action on screen to fully immerse you in the movie.
There are 4DX screens at the following sites:
The exhibition and production company that became Event Cinemas has been widely criticised as the cause of the downfall of early Australian film, which was argued to be the best in the world at the time.
In 2005 Event Cinemas banned people from bringing their own food and drink into the cinema. After negative public attention and a threat of investigation by the Fair Trading Commission they were forced to revoke the rule. People complained that Event Cinema's food cost more than double the price of Supermarket stores and had less variety.
In 2012 Australian journalist Tim Burrowes attended a screening of Skyfall at an Event Cinema. There were various technical difficulties which resulted in the audience being asked to leave and a manager threatening Burrowes for filming the crowd's reactions.
In the lead up to the 2016 Australian Federal Election, Chairman Alan Rydge was reported to have donated to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's controversial political fund the Wentworth Forum.
There have been numerous incidents of faulty popcorn machines causing fires to break out in Event Cinema complexes including Adelaide and Rockhampton in September 2015, Perth in December 2015 and Sydney in August 2016.
Australian Theatres is a joint venture between Village Roadshow and Event Hospitality & Entertainment which owns over 30 cinema sites across Australia. The venture was formed in 2003 and includes cinemas under the Village Cinemas, Greater Union, Birch, Carrol and Coyle and Event Cinemas brands. Event Cinemas did not exist at the time Australian Theatres was formed, but because it is operated by Greater Union, it became part of the group as soon as it was established.Castle Towers
Castle Towers Shopping Centre is a shopping centre in Castle Hill, New South Wales, Australia. The shopping complex is owned by the Queensland Investment Corporation.
It has a net leasable area of approximately 112,000 square metres, making it one of Australia's largest shopping centres.Galleria Shopping Centre (Perth)
Galleria Shopping Centre (formerly known as Westfield Galleria, Centro Galleria and Galleria 220) is a shopping centre located in Morley, Western Australia, about 8 kilometres (5 mi) northeast of the Perth city centre. It is the fourth largest shopping centre in Western Australia, with several major retailers and approximately 227 specialty retailers.
The present centre was constructed in stages between 1988 with Coles and Kmart Australia, and in 1994 with Event Cinemas and Myer. In 2008 a new level was constructed for Myer.Hoyts
The Hoyts Group is an Australian group of companies, including Hoyts Exhibition, Hoyts Kiosk and Val Morgan. The company operates more than 430 screens and over 65,000 seats. Val Morgan, the cinema advertising arm of the Hoyts Group, is Australia and New Zealand's leading national supplier of cinema screen advertising with network coverage of over 2,000 cinema screens covering metro, regional and country areas. VMO is Val Morgan's sister company offering digital screen advertising in over 4,000 Out-of-Home environments in Australia and New Zealand.
In June 2015, the Hoyts Group was wholly acquired by Wanda Cinema Line, a subsidiary of Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group, the largest commercial property developer in China and world's largest cinema chain operator.In the exhibition business, the largest part of the Hoyts Group, their main competitor is Event Cinemas (partnered with Village Cinemas in Victoria and Tasmania) and smaller competitors include Wallis Cinemas, Palace Cinemas, Dendy, Reading Cinemas and the Avoca Beach Picture Theatre (whom operate on a small scale in Australia).Innaloo, Western Australia
Innaloo is a suburb of Perth, the capital city of Western Australia 9 km from Perth's central business district in the local government area is the City of Stirling.
Innaloo is a more established residential suburb that is also home to the Westfield Innaloo and Westfield Innaloo Megacentre shopping centres, and is adjacent to Perth's largest cinema complex, the 18-cinema Greater Union Megaplex Innaloo.Logan Hyperdome
Logan Hyperdome Shopping Centre in Shailer Park, Queensland, is the largest shopping centre in Logan City and one of the largest single storey shopping centres in Australia.
The Queensland Police Service operates a police beat shopfront in the centre. Logan City Council has a library at the far northern end of the Hyperdome and this is a separate, stand alone building. The Logan Hyperdome contains a food court with many outlets. Event Cinemas operate a cinema complex within the centre.Pacific Fair Shopping Centre
Pacific Fair is a major shopping centre in Broadbeach Waters on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. It was Queensland's largest regional shopping centre until 2006.Pacific Fair was developed by Hooker Retail Developments and opened in 1977 on what was swampland with 96 specialty stores and two anchor tenants. Since then, Pacific Fair has undergone numerous expansions and has grown to have more than 300 specialty stores and four anchor tenants. In January 2014, work began on a major redevelopment project to meet the predicted regional growth on the Gold Coast.Prior to the redevelopment, the shopping centre had four main major stores including a four-level Myer, Kmart, Target, Coles and Toys 'R' Us. Daimaru operated in the centre before its Australian withdrawal, albeit briefly. It also had a 12-screen Birch Carroll and Coyle Cinema (re-opened as Event Cinemas in late 2015).
Pacific Fair is a major public transport interchange on the Gold Coast, serviced by Surfside Buslines, and the Broadbeach South G:Link station located not far from the shopping centre. Nearby is The Star Gold Coast and Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre. Pacific Fair fronts Little Tallebudgera Creek and is the southern end of the Surfers Riverwalk.
This shopping centre was featured on the third season of The Mole.Stockland Glendale
Stockland Glendale is a major shopping centre located in Glendale, a suburb of the City of Lake Macquarie, New South Wales, Australia.It is located on Lake Road, Glendale, on a 19.6-hectare (48.4-acre) parcel of land, and primarily serves the Lake Macquarie region to the southwest of Newcastle.Strathpine Centre
Strathpine Centre is an urban shopping centre located in Strathpine, a suburb in Moreton Bay, north of Brisbane.
The centre was built and opened in 1983 by The Westfield Group. It is anchored by Big W and Target discount department stores and Woolworths, Coles and ALDI supermarkets. The centre has a food court anchored by fast food chains such as McDonald's, KFC and Subway . There is also an 8-screen multiplex cinema (operated by Event Cinemas), bowling alley, gaming arcade and a gym on an upper mezzanine level.
Most of the centre is single level with a rooftop carpark. It has a bus station with services to Chermside, Toombul, Redcliffe and local services to surrounding suburbs. Strathpine Centre is about a 10-minute walk to Strathpine Railway Station, with services to Redcliffe and Ipswich via Brisbane.
Strathpine Centre has approximately 165 specialty stores mostly within the categories of clothing, general merchandise, homewares and cosmetics.
Prior to September 2015, Scentre Group owned and managed the centre as Westfield Strathpine until it was sold off in August 2015 along with three other centres for a total of $783 Million. The subsequent owner is 151 Property, a subsidiary of The Blackstone Group while JLL is responsible for management of the centre.
On 11 September 2015, management unveiled the centre's new branding and identity going forward.The Movie Masters Cinema Group
Grand Cinemas and Ace Cinemas are a Western Australian chain of cinema multiplexes. The chain is operated by The Movie Masters cinema group.Village Cinemas
Village Cinemas is an Australian-based film exhibition brand that mainly shows blockbuster, mainstream, children and family films and some arthouse, foreign language and documentary films. Since 2003, its Australian sites became a joint venture between Village Roadshow and Amalgamated Holdings Limited (AHL) (Now known as Event Hospitality and Entertainment), forming Australian Theatres. Previous to this, Village Cinemas was the founding entity of parent company, Village Roadshow from 1954 when the first drive-in theatre was established, and from 1988 Warner Bros. owned a third share in the chain. The Village Cinemas brand also operates in various forms within some international markets, either as a joint venture with Village Roadshow, or under licence, operated by other companies. Village Cinemas also pioneered and fostered concept screen brands such as, Gold Class, VPremium, Cinema Europa, 4DX, VJunior, Vmax (Vmax was inspired by IMAX),where they also operate within Event Hospitality and Entertainment's Event Cinemas/Greater Union/Birch Carroll & Coyle, and many international cinema chains. Village Cinemas has output deals with all major film distributors and selectively screens some independently sourced films depending on material.Westfield Albany
Westfield Albany is a shopping centre in the Auckland suburb of Albany, New Zealand, opposite the Albany Lakes Civic Park. It is majority owned (51%) by Scentre Group with the remainder owned by the Singapore Government's GIC Private Limited. Until 2014 it was wholly owned by Scentre Group, which was formerly part of Westfield Group.Once the last sections opened in April 2008, at 7 ha (70,000 m²) of indoor space (4.9 ha retail [49,000 m²] and 2.1 ha [21,000 m²] offices), and costing around NZ$ 210 million to construct.Westfield Albany provides over 2,000 carparks for around 150 specialty stores, as well as a large-format 2 floor 10,000 m² Farmers, a Kmart and a New World. It also contains an Event Cinemas multiplex cinema and a 560-seat food court which includes major fastfood franchises.Westfield Carindale
Westfield Carindale is a large shopping centre in Queensland located in the suburb of Carindale, east of Brisbane. The centre became the third-largest shopping centre in Australia on completion of redevelopment in 2012. The centre contains over 450 specialty stores (over 40 more than Westfield Chermside and 25 more than Westfield Garden City) and almost 6,000 car parking spaces. Other features include a food court, brand new Brisbane City Council Library, and a state of the art luxury Glasshouse Dining Precinct.Westfield Chermside
Westfield Chermside is a large shopping centre in Queensland, located in a Brisbane inner northern suburb. It is the 2nd largest in Australia by number of stores, behind Chadstone Shopping Centre and is operated by Scentre Group. Entertainment facilities include an Event Cinemas 16-screen cinema complex. The centre contains the Chermside bus station, a major hub for buses north of Brisbane.
Westfield Chermside's trade area population is 439,600; one of the largest markets for shopping centres in Queensland and Australia; its 15.5 million customer visits per annum make it Australia's 2nd busiest Westfield shopping centre. The centre is located on the corner of Gympie Road and Hamilton Road.Westfield Coomera
Westfield Coomera is a shopping centre in the Gold Coast suburb of Coomera in Queensland, Australia. It is located adjacent to the Coomera railway station and 500 metres from the Pacific Motorway that connects Coomera with the southern suburbs of the Gold Coast as well as Brisbane. Westfield Coomera was developed by the Scentre Group and is planned to be the heart of the booming northern region of the Gold Coast. The shopping centre opened on 11 October 2018.Westfield Garden City
Westfield Garden City, better known as Garden City, is one of Brisbane's major shopping centres, located in the suburb of Upper Mount Gravatt. The centre is operated by Westfield, and previously operated by AMP Limited before the takeover in 2003. The shopping centre currently has 440 specialty stores, cafes, restaurants and other services and food vendors.
Within the centre is a post office and a Brisbane City Council public library. Another notable feature of Garden City is the Town Square, which is an outdoor dining area featuring coffee shops, restaurants and an Event cinemas complex.Westfield Liverpool
Westfield Liverpool is a major shopping centre, located in Liverpool, a suburb of Sydney.Westfield Marion
Westfield Marion is the largest shopping complex in Adelaide, South Australia, located in Oaklands Park, serving greater Southern Adelaide. It contains approximately 342 stores, with anchor tenants including David Jones, Myer, Harris Scarfe, Target, Kmart, Big W, Woolworths, Coles, Event Cinemas, Aldi and Rebel Sport. A food court containing KFC and Subway. The Event Cinema complex on the third level of Westfield Marion is the Southern Hemisphere's largest cinema complex, featuring 26 screens. The centre houses all of Westfield's management in Adelaide, located in an 8-storey office block to the east of the centre, as well as services including; legal, child care, health and dental clinic. It also houses the head office for Fellas Gifts. The office tower is located at the original mall where the food court is facing Diagonal Road. 5 Star Spas, Dan Murphy's, Super Cheap Auto and Bunnings Warehouse are located to the west of the centre. The South Australia Aquatic and Leisure Centre is also a part of Westfield Marion. Across the road from it is Bob Jane T-Marts, Battery World and the Westpac BankWestfield St Lukes
Westfield St Lukes, one of the big three shopping centres in the western suburbs of Auckland, New Zealand, stands on St Lukes Road in the suburb of Mount Albert. It receives about 6 million shopper visits annually. With 43,000 m² gross floor area (2002 data), it features a Farmers, Kmart, Countdown, an Event Cinemas 8 screen cinema complex and over 160 shops.
The centre opened in 1971 and is one of the oldest in New Zealand. About 100,000 people visited it on opening day. Partly to change this, Westfield invested around NZ$55 million in the early 2000s to extend and renovate the centre.In a 2008 rating of New Zealand shopping centres by a retail expert group, Westfield St Lukes received three and a half stars, just under the maximum rating of four stars, based on the criteria of amount of shopping area, economic performance, amenity and appeal as well as future growth prospects.