Event Cinemas

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Greater Union)
Jump to: navigation, search
Event Cinemas
Type Subsidiary
Industry Cinema
Founded 1934
Headquarters Australia
Products Cinemas
Website www.eventcinemas.com.au

Event Cinemas, Greater Union, Birch Carroll and Coyle, Skycity Cinemas and Damodar Village Cinemas are trading names for a group of cinema multiplexes across Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. In Australia, the cinemas are owned and operated by a joint venture entity Australian Theatres of Village Roadshow and Amalgamated Holdings Limited (AHL); in New Zealand by AHL; and in Fiji by a joint venture of AHL and local investors.[1]


In 1910, Thomas James West established West's Pictures and over the next three years the company merged with other film distributors, first becoming the General Film Company of Australasia, and then Union Theatres and Australasian Films.

During the 1920s the organisation grew further, developing a relationship with Queensland's Birch, Carroll & Coyle, a brand that Greater Union maintains to this day. The Great Depression of the 1930s caused significant changes for the group. Union Theatres was liquidated, and its assets purchased by Greater Union Theatres. British Empire Films, the National Theatre Supply Co., and Cinesound all derived from Union Theatres and Australasian Films.[citation needed].

In 1945 the Rank Organisation purchased 50% of the now stable Greater Union Theatres. The name changed to Greater Union Organisation (GUO) in the 1950s, a time which saw the formation of strategic alliances with Hoyts and the predecessor to Village Roadshow (1955 and 1960) in order to exploit opening markets. GUO became the sister chain to Odeon Cinemas in the United Kingdom and Odeon Theatres (now Cineplex Entertainment in Canada). GUO expanded by acquiring the MGM Theatres cinema chain in 1971, the Western Australia based Ace Group in 1986, and completing their acquisition of Birch, Carroll & Coyle in 1991. The majority of the GUO sites are a joint venture with Village Cinemas (trading as: Australian Theatres). In NSW, ACT, QLD, SA and WA the group trades under the Greater Union and BCC brands and in Victoria under the Village banner. GUO has since expanded into Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates.[2] AHL acquired control from the Rank Organisation in 1984, and continues to run the company today.

In 2003, AHL sold 50% of its Australian cinema operations to Village Roadshow and Village Roadshow sold 50% of its Village Cinemas operations in Australia to AHL and they formed a joint venture, Australian Theatres.

The group has rebranded several of its premier Australian and New Zealand cinemas as Event Cinemas since 2009.[3][4]

A recent development application to the City of Sydney for new signage for the George Street Cinemas,[5] an expo for new employees in an area traditionally served by the Birch, Carol and Coyle brand[6] and the launch of the V-Max brand (replacing G*MAX and including a new logo for Gold Class) was an indication that AHL planned to re-brand part of its operations under the "Event Cinemas" banner.

Event Cinemas opened at Castle Hill's Castle Towers on 20 June 2009, replacing the old 6 screen complex built in 1993. It was architecturally designed by Sydney's INDYK Architects with five auditoriums and a bar. This new location, while marketed as "completely new", is functionally identical to other "Gold Class" locations in Greater Union and Birch, Carrol and Coyle cinemas[citation needed]. Since then Event Cinemas has been rolled out across the nation at premier sites.

Amalgamated Holdings purchased a chain of New Zealand and Fijian cinemas from Skycity Entertainment Group in February 2010, having received New Zealand Government consent under the state's Overseas Investment Act.[7][8] Event Cinemas New Zealand has previously operated as Skycity Cinemas under Skycity Entertainment Group, Village Sky City under a Village Roadshow-Skycity Entertainment Group joint venture, and Village Roadshow Cinemas under Village Roadshow ownership.



Vmax cinemas feature stadium style seating with giant state-of-the-art 20m+ silver screens capable of showing the latest in digital 3D film product as well as all the latest blockbusters. Each Vmax cinema contains stadium style seating and extra leg room, extra seat space, contoured high backs, generous armrests and tables. These cinemas were previously branded as G-Max cinemas. Vmax cinemas can also be found at Village Cinemas complexes. [9]

Gold Class[edit]

Gold Class Cinema interior with sponsorship

Gold Class cinemas have between 24 to 40 recliner seats and are offered at a premium rate. The seating is superior to a traditional cinema layout and the experience is complemented by a full bar service including an in-house menu. There is also a full on-call waiter service. Food and drink are ordered prior to the screening and delivered at predetermined times during the movie. In the Gold Class lounge movie-goers can enjoy drinks before the movie, and have coffee and dessert after the movie. Anyone can attend a session in Gold Class but under 18s must be accompanied by a responsible adult at all times, except in South Australia, where minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. [10] The experience is also offered at Village Cinemas[11] [12]

Allocated Seating[edit]

At the beginning of 2007, allocated seating was rolled out in the majority of Greater Union and Birch Carroll & Coyle cinemas nationwide. Tickets were sold online incurring an additional booking fee allowing patrons to purchase their ticket in advance. This initiative was launched under the banner Jump the Queue.[13]

Cine Buzz Club[edit]

The Cine Buzz Club is a loyalty program operated by Greater Union, Birch Carroll & Coyle and Event Cinemas, which entitles members to receive a free movie after viewing six standard movies. Watching Vmax or Gold Class movies allow members to earn more points. Buying tickets online also garners additional points. Standard, Vmax and Gold Glass tickets are all redeemable. There are also special programs for children, students, seniors and frequent movie-goers.[14]

Alternate Content[edit]

Apart from the traditional movies, Event Cinemas now screen special alternate content. Examples include screenings of the Melbourne Cup carnival in Gold Class, Film Festivals, a Queen rock concert remastered in Ultra HD, the Vatican Museums in 3D, Cinema Asia, opera and standup comedy events. [15]


New South Wales[edit]

In New South Wales there are numerous locations including:

  1. Beverly Hills, is located on King Georges Road
  2. Blacktown Drive-In is Sydney's last Drive In Theater cinema complex.[16][17] It comprises 2 screens featuring 35mm and 70mm projection, as well as Dolby Stereo Sound and is branded Greater Union.
  3. Bondi Junction is located at Westfield Bondi Junction and is branded as Event Cinemas.
  4. Burwood, is branded as Event Cinemas.
  5. Campbelltown, is branded as Event Cinemas. It contains three Gold Class cinemas, one Vmax cinema and eight standard cinemas.
  6. Castle Hill MEGAPLEX,is branded as Event Cinemas, has five Gold Class cinemas, 8 Standard cinemas, as well as 2 Vmax Cinemas
  7. Coffs Harbour, is branded as Birch Carroll & Coyle.
  8. Cronulla, is located on Cronulla Street.
  9. George Street, a 16 screen complex in the CBD, located on George Street and branded as Event Cinemas.
  10. Glendale, located at Stockland Glendale, was launched as Greater Union, but was re-branded as Event Cinemas in 2011.
  11. Hornsby, is located at Westfield Hornsby was re-branded as Event Cinemas in April 2011.
  12. Hurstville, is located at Westfield Hurstville and is branded as Greater Union.
  13. Lismore, is located in the Lismore town centre and is branded as Birch Carroll & Coyle.
  14. Liverpool, is located at Westfield Liverpool and was previously branded as Greater Union which is now Event Cinemas. It contains ten standard cinemas and two Vmax cinemas.
  15. Macquarie MEGAPLEX, is branded as Event Cinemas, has three Gold Class cinemas, twelve Senstadium cinemas, as well as one new concept Silverscreen cinema and bar.[18]
  16. Miranda, is located at Westfield Miranda and is branded as Greater Union.
  17. Newcastle, re-branded in 2012 to the former name of Tower Cinemas.
  18. Parramatta, is located at Westfield Parramatta and is branded as Event Cinemas. It hosts Vmax and Gold Class experiences.
  19. Top Ryde, is located at Top Ryde City Shopping Centre and is branded as Event Cinemas with 7 standard cinemas and one Vmax cinema with its own bar and lounge.
  20. Shellharbour, is located on Memorial Drive and is branded as Greater Union.
  21. Tuggerah, is located at Westfield Tuggerah and is branded as Event Cinemas.
  22. Wollongong, is located on Burelli Street, Wollongong and is branded Greater Union.


The organisation has its greatest presence in Queensland, where its cinemas are branded as Event Cinemas. Formerly most cinemas were branded as Birch, Carrol and Coyle. Locations include:

The Myer Centre in Brisbane showing Cinema Signage
  1. Australia Fair Cinema, located at Australia Fair Shopping Centre
  2. Brisbane City Myer Centre, located at the Myer Centre on Elizabeth Street
  3. Brisbane City Regent, CLOSED Down for redevelopment to office spaces.
  4. Browns Plains
  5. Cairns Central
  6. Cairns City
  7. Cairns Earlville
  8. Capalaba
  9. Carindale
  10. Chermside MEGAPLEX, located at Westfield Chermside
  11. Coolangatta
  12. Garden City Mount Gravatt, located at Westfield Garden City
  13. Indooroopilly MEGAPLEX
  14. Ipswich
  15. Mackay City
  16. Mackay Mount Pleasant
  17. Maroochydore, Sunshine Plaza
  18. Morayfield
  19. Pacific Fair
  20. Robina, located at Robina Town Centre
  21. Rockhampton North
  22. Strathpine, located at Westfield Strathpine
  23. Toowoomba Grand Central
  24. Toowoomba Strand
  25. Townsville Cinemas

Western Australia[edit]

Galleria Morley, a Greater Union Location

In Western Australia, there are only two locations north of the river:

  1. Innaloo, branded as Event Cinemas,[4] and
  2. Morley, at Centro Galleria, branded as Greater Union.

The group also holds the lease to cinemas at Westfield Whitford City and Lakeside Joondalup which are subleased to Grand Cinemas.[19] The Innaloo site is Western Australia's largest cinema complex[4] and includes four Gold Class screens and a function centre. Even though it is the largest complex in the state, it only has one more screen than Hoyts Carousel, which has 15 screens.

Greater Union Joondalup is sub-leased to Grand Cinemas

South Australia[edit]

There are currently two cinemas located in South Australia.

  1. Arndale, located in the suburb of Kilkenny is branded as Greater Union.
  2. Marion MEGAPLEX, located at Westfield Marion and branded as Event Cinemas. It opened as Greater Union in 1997, after Westfield Marion underwent a major renovation. In late 2003 to early 2004, the cinema underwent renovations, which resulted in 7 of the small cinemas being converted into 3 Gold Class cinemas, capable of seating up to 90 people, 30 in each cinema. In March 2009, the cinema underwent further renovation to include two V-Max Cinemas and was re-branded as Event Cinemas[citation needed].

Northern Territory[edit]

There are two cinemas located in the Northern Territory, branded as Birch Carroll & Coyle:

  1. Casuarina, located at Casuarina Square Shopping Centre, and
  2. Darwin, located in the city on the cnr Mitchell & Briggs Streets.


A former six-screen Greater Union cinema on Russell Street in the Melbourne CBD soon after it closed. It operated from 1978 to 2013 (GU previously operated a smaller cinema on this site). Some of its opening movies were Death on the Nile and Pretty Baby. GU's Victorian partner, Village Cinemas, always included Russell Street's session time rundown within its own local newspaper listings. This building will soon be demolished and replaced by a 12-storey hotel and apartment block, operated by Greater Union’s parent company, AHL.[20][21][22]

Event no longer operate any cinemas in Victoria. Their last location, Greater Union Melbourne City Cinemas, on Russell Street in the Melbourne CBD, closed on 2 October 2013.

Village Cinemas, originally wholly owned by Village Roadshow, operates many cinemas in Victoria and Tasmania, therefore further expansion of the Greater Union or Event Cinemas brand in these states has never been considered given that Village Roadshow was partnered and would have potentially lost revenue in any jointly owned Victorian cinemas prior to the creation of Australian Theatres. Village Cinemas is the Victorian and Tasmanian equivalent of Event Cinemas or Greater Union, and all interstate ticket discounts/coupons are traditionally also valid at Village Cinemas. However, Cine Buzz Cards are not accepted, and Village has its own loyalty program, Village Movie Club, offering similar discounts. Village Cinemas makes use of the V-Max and Gold Class brands.


In Canberra, there is one Greater Union cinema:

  1. Manuka Cinemas. A previous location in Civic closed late 2007 to make way for rival cinema chain, Dendy, which opened at the Canberra Centre around the same time[citation needed].

New Zealand[edit]

Event Cinemas New Zealand owns 106 cinema screens in 14 multiplexes across New Zealand. The brand was launched with live 3D screenings of FIFA World Cup 2010 matches, and Amalgamated Holdings promises to introduce 3D screens to all cinemas by 2011 and to make all screens digital by 2013.[23] New Zealand's most visited cinema multiplex and the chain's New Zealand flagship is located at Skycity Metro on Auckland’s Queen Street and features New Zealand’s largest cinema screen as part of an IMAX sub-complex. Other multiplexes are located at:

In addition, Events also co-owns metropolitan art-house cinema chain Rialto Cinemas with Reading Entertainment, a chain which Village Roadshow, Rialto and Skycity Entertainment Group have all previously co-owned.[24]

Greater Union and Hoyts[edit]

Greater Union had previously ran in partnership with Hoyts in several locations in Sydney, Perth, Brisbane including Sydney's CBD location. As of December 2005, Hoyts and Greater Union have separated their joint ventures in these locations [25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/private/snapshot.asp?privcapId=81676239
  2. ^ "Amalgamated Holdings Limited". 
  3. ^ Neil Dowling and Michael Bennet (10 May 2009). "Greater Union to give cinemas major makeover". Perth Now. Retrieved 10 December 2009. [dead link]
  4. ^ a b c Ben-Rutherford (19 May 2009). "Going to the Movies is now an EVENT!". Movieblog. Retrieved 29 December 2009. 
  5. ^ City of Sydney Development Application D/2008/1530/A
  6. ^ "Jobs Expo". Retrieved 31 December 2008. 
  7. ^ "Sky City cinemas sold". Stuff.co.nz. Reuters. 24 November 2009. Retrieved 2 October 2011. 
  8. ^ "Sky City cinema deal moves". Stuff.co.nz. NZPA. 7 January 2010. Retrieved 2 October 2011. 
  9. ^ "About Vmax". 
  10. ^ Cronulla Cineas Reviews. "What is Gold Class?". Retrieved 29 December 2009. [dead link]
  11. ^ Village Cinemas. "Village Cinemas Gold Class". Retrieved 29 December 2009. 
  12. ^ Event Cinemas. "About Gold Class". Retrieved 19 October 2014. 
  13. ^ "Jump the Queue". Retrieved 29 December 2009. 
  14. ^ "CINE BUZZ Club; 600 points gets a free standard ticket". Retrieved 19 October 2014. 
  15. ^ "Alternate Content". 
  16. ^ "Greater Union Blacktown Cinema Info". Retrieved 29 December 2009. 
  17. ^ "Bass Hill Greater Union Drive In". Retrieved 29 December 2009. 
  18. ^ "Greater Union Homepage". 
  19. ^ Total Travel .com (10 May 2009). "Greater Union Whitford City". Retrieved 10 December 2009. 
  20. ^ "Greater Union Russell Cinemas". Cinema Treasures. Retrieved 20 November 2013. 
  21. ^ Coslovich, Gabriella (1 February 2003). "A movie with plenty of elbow space? Try the city". The Age. Retrieved 20 November 2013. 
  22. ^ Quinn, Karl (15 August 2013). "Film festival miffed". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 20 November 2013. 
  23. ^ "What do you dislike about going to the cinema?". The New Zealand Herald. 1 June 2010. Retrieved 2 October 2011. 
  24. ^ http://www.rialto.co.nz/vistait/village/Default.aspx?Control=AboutUs
  25. ^ "ACCC approves Hoyts - GU divorce". The Sydney Morning Herald. 7 December 2005. 

External links[edit]