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The Hoyts Group
Industry Film exhibition, film distribution, cinema advertising
Founded 1926
Headquarters Sydney, Australia
Area served
Australia, New Zealand
Key people
Damian Keogh(Group CEO)
Brian Eldridge (Hoyts Exhibition COO)
Robert Slaviero (CEO – Hoyts Distribution)
Graeme Yarwood (CEO – Val Morgan)
David Kirk (Chairman of the Board – Hoyts)
Products Hoyts Cinema
Number of employees
Estimated 4000
Parent Pacific Equity Partners
Subsidiaries Hoyts Distribution
Website www.hoyts.com.au

The Hoyts Group is an Australian group of companies, including Hoyts Exhibition, Hoyts Distribution and Val Morgan.

Hoyts Exhibition manages 450 screens across 40 Australian and 10 New Zealand cinema complexes, making it Australia's second largest cinema chain. Val Morgan, the cinema advertising arm of the Hoyts Group, dominates the cinema advertising market with over 95% market share. Hoyts Distribution is the largest independent film distributor in Australia; a business centred on the purchase of rights to, and subsequent management of, distributing independent films in Australia through theatrical, television and home entertainment channels.[1]

The Hoyts Group is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Sydney-based Pacific Equity Partners.[1][2]

In the exhibition business, the largest part of the Hoyts Group, their main rivals are Village, Greater Union and, to a lesser extent, Wallis Cinemas, Palace Cinemas, Dendy and Reading.


Former logo of Hoyts Cinemas

At the start of the 20th century dentist Dr Arthur Russell, who was, in his spare time, a cornet player and a magician, purchased a share in a small American travelling circus, known as Hoyts Circus, and travelled with them as the resident magician. After a financially disastrous run, Russell returned to his work as a dentist.

Undeterred, he leased the old St. Georges Hall in Bourke Street, Melbourne (later known as the Hoyts Esquire), and began showing short films on Saturday nights. Unlike his previous venture, it was successful, and as a result, he formed a new company called Hoyts Pictures Pty. Ltd. By the time he died at the end of World War I, Hoyts had expanded into the suburbs of Melbourne, and into Sydney.

In 1926, Hoyts and two other companies, Electric Theatres Pty. Ltd. and Associated Theatres Pty. Ltd., merged to become Hoyts Theatres Limited. In 1932, the Fox Film Corporation (now Twentieth Century Fox) secured a major shareholding in the company.

In August 1982, Twentieth Century Fox sold Hoyts to a group of four Melbourne businessmen. In April 1985, the Fink family subsequently bought out the other partners to become the sole owner. The Finks began to expand the company, into areas such as film distribution, home entertainment, and cinema operations in New Zealand, the United States, South America and Europe.

In 1987, the corporation was restructured and two of the companies in the corporation were listed on the Australian Stock Exchange: Hoyts Media and Hoyts Entertainment. However, the company that owned the cinemas, Hoyts Cinemas, was not floated until 1996. The years between 1987 and 1996 saw considerable expansion, so that by 1994, Hoyts was the 10th biggest cinema chain in the world and was owned by an American investment company—Hellman and Friedman—directors and senior management, and the Australian company Lend Lease Corporation.

The foyer of the eight-screen Hoyts in Greensborough Plaza, Greensborough, a north-eastern suburb of Melbourne. This picture was taken in October 2012, and like many other national chains within this shopping centre, Hoyts' old logo remains at the front.

In 1996, Hoyts Cinemas was floated and in 1999, the late Kerry Packer's private family company, Consolidated Press Holdings, bought the chain for $620 million (A$745.3 million). After that, Hoyts began to sell off cinemas. This trend began in 1999 when their Polish operations were sold, and in 2000 when their UK operations were also sold. In 2003, Hoyts sold its Hoyts America operations to Regal Entertainment Group except for the Simsbury, West Nursery and Providence Place locations, which will remain the locations of Hoyts America.

In 2004, it joined forces with Village Roadshow and AHL to bail out Val Morgan Cinema Advertising, eventually taking their stake to 100% in 2005. In December that year, PBL and West Australian Newspapers purchased the company from Consolidated Press Holdings.

On 29 March 2007, Hoyts opened their latest cinema in Sylvia Park,[3] in Auckland, New Zealand—featuring what is now the largest 35 mm film screen in the world[4] and bean bag seating.

In September 2007, PBL and WAN sold each of their 50% shares in the Hoyts Group to Sydney-based private equity firm Pacific Equity Partners. The sale valued the company at A$440 million.[5]

In October 2008, Hoyts announced a takeover bid for Australian Multiplex Cinemas (AMC). The purchase did not proceed, although at the time Hoyts still hoped to return to Queensland, where previously they had owned theatres in Brisbane and a three cinema complex in Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast.

On 17 March 2010 Australia's Hoyts Corporation announced its intention to expand its New Zealand cinema operations with the purchase of Barrie Everard's Berkeley Cinema Group.[6] The two companies completed the transaction in June 2010 after regulatory approval,[7] adding four multiplexes to Hoyts New Zealand presence in Auckland.

In October 2010 it was announced that Hoyts will acquire Australian Multiplex Cinemas. This purchase was successfully completed in November 2010.


Bean Bag Cinema[edit]

Bean Bag Cinema replaces ordinary cinema seating with oversized bean bags. Bean Bag cinemas are designed to create a relaxing environment where customers can "chill out". In May 2010 the name was changed to Bean Bag Cinema replacing 'thehalfpipe'.


D-Box is a brand new motion experience introduced in Hoyts Te Awa, located in Hamilton, New Zealand. The seats are coded via Motion Code, and move interactively with the movie.

Directors Suite[edit]

Directors Suite is similar to La Premiere, except Directors Suite is a private theatre, whilst La Premiere is located at the back of general admission cinemas. It also houses leather recliner seats, provides in cinema food and beverage service as well as operating a separate bar and lounge exclusive to Directors Suite patrons.

Hoyts IMAX[edit]

In 2008, Hoyts launched the first joint venture with IMAX outside North America and opened three Digital IMAX screens retrofitted into existing theatres at their Carousel, Entertainment Quarter and Highpoint multiplexes. The first film shown in IMAX was the 2008 remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still. Both 2D and 3D films are shown in Hoyts IMAX. Only selected IMAX films are shown.

La Premiere[edit]

La Premiere is a luxury cinema located in prime viewing positions of certain auditoriums in selected complexes. La Premiere ticket holders can use an exclusive bar and lounge before or after their chosen film, with a selection of food and drinks. Food can also be delivered to a customers seat if he or she wants to eat or drink during the screening. In Australia, La Premiere is open all day, which is now the case in New Zealand, however La Premiere used to only be open from 6pm in New Zealand.


Xtremescreen cinemas boast the biggest screen and best sound in the complex, with the screen at Hoyts Blacktown being the largest at 28 metres wide. The screen is displayed digitally. Xtremescreen uses Dolby Digital Plus as the system sound format. Many movies can be screened with Xtremescreen, If they meet the chain's requirements.

Digital Cinema capital investment plans[edit]

Hoyts Exhibition has announced plans to replace all film equipment with Digital Cinema equipment within an ambitious 18 month window, in preparation for the sale of the Hoyts group.[citation needed] The modernization of the equipment to the current Hollywood mandated Digital Cinema standard, is expected to cost the group somewhere in the order of 30 million AUD. This amount is subsidized by the Virtual Print Fee received from the participating Hollywood Studios. This 30M AUD cost is also expected to be offset by the significant reduction in staffing requirements (exhibitors in the USA are claiming a 90% reduction in projection staff post-modernization). If Hoyts follow through with their capital investment plans, they stand a chance of relinquishing their position as the lowest capital investor in the Australian cinema exhibition industry.

Hoyts Distribution[edit]

Hoyts Distribution is the film distribution arm of the Group. It existed in its own right in the 1980s-early 1990s, and was later merged with the distribution operations of Columbia TriStar and 20th Century Fox. In 2002, the company was brought back to life, distributing primarily films produced by Nine Films and Television, Channel 9's film production arm, and major independent studios, such as Lions Gate Entertainment. In July 2012 it was acquired by StudioCanal.[8]


Hoyts Exhibition[edit]

Hoyts Exhibition, the largest and most well-known arm of The Hoyts Group, manages cinemas in five Australian states; the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia.

Hoyts Exhibition also operates 8 cinemas across New Zealand.

Australian locations[edit]

Belconnen Bankstown Norwood Broadmeadows Carousel Stafford
Woden Blacktown Salisbury Chadstone Garden City Sunnybank
Broadway Tea Tree Plaza, Modbury Eastland Millennium Redcliffe
Charlestown Forest Hill Queensgate Tweed
Chatswood Westfield Greensborough Southlands
Chatswood Mandarin Highpoint
Cinema Paris, Moore Park Melbourne Central
Eastgardens Northland Former AMC cinemas
Entertainment Quarter* Victoria Gardens
Erina Watergardens
Mount Druitt Frankston (ex-AMC)
Warringah Mall
Wetherill Park

Asterisk indicates IMAX installation in 2008.

  • It is believed that Hoyts operated its Southlands complex in partnership with Ace Cinemas. Despite Southlands Shopping Centre signage stating this, the partnership never existed.[citation needed]

New Zealand locations[edit]

Auckland Christchurch Hamilton Wellington
Sylvia Park Moorhouse (Closed) The Base Te Awa Regent on Manners (Closed)
Wairau Park Northlands Metro By Hoyts Lower Hutt (Closed)
Hibiscus Coast Regent on Worcester (Closed) Mid-City (Closed)
(Berkeley) Takapuna Riccarton
(Berkeley) Mission Bay
Botany Downs

Defunct locations in New Zealand[edit]

Hoyts Lower Hutt 5-plex, opened in 1993, closed on 6 February 2008, with the opening of Sky City's Queensgate multiplex. The building has become the new home of the Lower Hutt Baptist Church (Now Hutt City Baptist Church).

Hoyts also operated the MidCity 5-plex in Wellington from 1990 until its closure in May 2003, following the opening of Reading Cinemas on nearby Courtenay Place. The site was later redeveloped into Conservation House, the headquarters of the Department of Conservation.[9]

Hoyts also operated Movieland 5-plex (Rotorua) and Movieland 4-plex (Invercargill) both from 1993 to 2005, which have since been both taken over by Reading Cinemas; Movieland 3-plex (Timaru) 1997 to 2000, now owned by independent operators; Whangaparaoa 5-plex from 1996 to 1999 (taken over by Berkeley Group).

Wellington's Regent on Manners complex was closed in late 2009, and was redeveloped as a Le Cordon Bleu cooking school. The cinema was previously operated by the Kerridge Odeon group and Everard Cinemas before its acquisition by Hoyts.

Christchurch's Regent on Worcester, and Moorhouse complexes have been closed and demolished following the Christchurch earthquake on 22 February 2011.

After 20 years of trading at its location in the Octagon, the sole Hoyts location in Dunedin closed its doors after its lease expired on 21 August 2013. Reading Cinemas will open up a new cinema at that location in 24 July 2014.


Hoyts were the original operator of the multi-screen cinema at the Bluewater shopping mall in the UK,[10] having been signed up by Bluewater developer Lend Lease Corporation (also an Australian firm). Hoyts also operated the 'Gallery' upmarket subsection to the Bluewater cinema. A couple of years later, Hoyts decided to exit the UK market to concentrate on their operations in Australia and New Zealand, as the Bluewater site was their only UK operation, making the operation uneconomical. Showcase Cinemas, an established UK cinema operator, took over operation of the Bluewater cinema,[11] though retained much of the fabric, layout and design that had been introduced by Hoyts, including The Gallery. (Showcase also operate the Cinema de Lux brand of upmarket cinema but as of 2009 have not introduced this branding to the Gallery at Bluewater).

Val Morgan[edit]

Current logo of Val Morgan.

Val Morgan holds the advertising rights to virtually all advertising screens in Australia and almost all screens in New Zealand. In Australia, this includes the circuits of Hoyts, Greater Union, Village, Birch Carroll & Coyle, Wallis, Reading Cinemas, Australian Multiplex Cinemas, Skycity Cinemas, Regent Cinemas and the majority of independent cinemas.[12]

In addition to on-screen advertising, Val Morgan is involved in such cinema-based advertising opportunities as co-branding, poster boxes, foyer displays and live advertisements. The company also operates about 1000 digital advertising panels in over 200 shopping centres, and the same number of TV screens in over 100 Australian petrol stations.[13]

Through a joint-venture with Motivate Publishing, the Gulf's leading publisher of magazines and books, Val Morgan expanded its operations into the United Arab Emirates, representing the advertising interests of many key cinemas in the region.[12]

Home entertainment[edit]

In the 1980s and early 1990s, Hoyts operated the local operations of RCA/Columbia Pictures International Video, known as RCA-Columbia Pictures-Hoyts Video.

RCA/Columbia Pictures/Hoyts released approximately 12 new video titles every month. These titles were typically made up of 2 A titles, 2 B titles, 6 C titles (which would have included a "kids" movie and a "classic" movie), and one or two "sell-through" titles. "Sell-through" was the name that was given to the videos that were put on sale to the public via their local video store.

Potentially one of the most successful video titles released by RCA/Columbia Pictures/Hoyts in the late 1980s was the original RoboCop, starring Peter Weller.

It was later known as Columbia Tristar Hoyts Home Video, but Hoyts soon dropped out of the business. Hoyts Distribution releases are distributed on DVD and Blu-ray by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

There was also four imprints the company had: First Release Home Entertainment, Video Box Office, Magic Window (children's videos) and RCA-Columbia Pictures International Video.

Hoyts also had a joint venture with Polygram, forming Hoyts Polygram Video at the around the same time as their joint venture with RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video. Their only well known release was the film version of New Zealand comic strip Footrot Flats, entitled Footrot Flats: The Dog's Tale.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Pacific Equity Partners
  2. ^ Hoyts to be sold to private equity group – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
  3. ^ http://www.hoyts.co.nz/Cinemas/Cinema_Search.aspx
  4. ^ http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/CU0703/S00302.htm
  5. ^ "Private equity firm swallows Hoyts Group". The Age (Melbourne). 24 September 2007. 
  6. ^ Gibson, Nevil (17 March 2010). "Hoyts to buy out Barrie Everard's Berkeley cinemas". National Business Review. Retrieved 3 October 2011. 
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ http://www.studiocanal.com/en/studiocanal-group/about
  9. ^ Tough competition forces Mid City cinemas to close, Mathew Loh Ho-Sang, Dominion Post, 10 May 2003.
  10. ^ Hoyts Bluewater development
  11. ^ Showcase Bluewater website
  12. ^ a b "History". Val Morgan Cinema Network. Retrieved 2013-03-20. 
  13. ^ "Val Morgan Outdoor". Val Morgan Cinema Network. Retrieved 2013-03-20. 

External links[edit]