Future uncertain for Cinema Gold
Palmerston North film buffs are worried the credits may be about to roll for the city’s only boutique cinema.
The Downtown Cinemas complex, which includes Cinema Gold and complexes in Havelock North and Paraparaumu, was bought by Australian company Event Hospitality and Entertainment in June. After the sale was announced, concerns started to emerge about the possibility of the two Cinema Gold theatres being shut down.
Opened in 2003, the smaller cinemas are licensed to sell alcohol, contain larger seats, do not sell popcorn and show mainly independent, foreign and festival films.
Palmerston North Film Society president Rik Howes said he understood the new owners were closing the Cinema Gold site, located on the ground floor of the Downtown Shopping Centre, from Wednesday. He said it was possibly moving back into the main cinema complex. No-one from Event Cinemas was able to confirm if it was to be closed or moved.
Downtown Cinemas manager Paul Wood said he was unable to comment at this time. Downtown Shopping Centre director Bill Wallace, the former chairman of Downtown Cinemas, said Event had given notice it would be leaving the Cinema Gold space in August.
Wallace said he was confident Cinema Gold’s style of film would still be available at Downtown. ’’My clear understanding is that those kind of films will still be shown at the main cinema complex.’’
There was a long tradition of showing art house and film festival fare at the complex, he said. Howes said the change of ownership had yet to affect the Film Society, which met at the cinema complex each Wednesday, but things were up for negotiation in three months.
‘‘We’ve got a contract that runs until the end of November, so I’ve been assured we’re safe for the rest of the year.’’
This meant the 2016 International Film Festival would go ahead in a fortnight.
Howes said it would be sad to see Cinema Gold go as the majority of Society members and Cinema Gold-goers were 40 plus and preferred art house and festival films over blockbusters.
If Downtown Cinemas stopped showing that style of films regularly, the nearest alternative was Feilding’s Focal Point Cinema, though older members could find it difficult to make the trip there, Howes said.
The last film currently scheduled on the Cinema Gold website is Rams, an Icelandic comedy about two brothers feuding over a sheep farm in a remote valley, which is showing at 7.20pm on Wednesday.
Palmerston North Film Society president Rik Howes outside Cinema Gold, which is set to close on Wednesday