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Kaitaia's Cinema Operating

by Northland Age

Kaitaia has been without a cinema for more than 20 years, since the Princess Theatre burned down in 1990, but the long wait for a replacement is almost over.



The cinema that is now part of the Far North Community Centre's Little Theatre will open for business on Thursday evening with a screening of the new Harry Potter movie, on the very day of its release in New Zealand. The ticket kiosk will open at 5pm and the projector will roll at 7.30, but tickets will be limited to 100, slightly fewer than the theatre's full capacity.


Te Ahu general manager Mark Osborne said that would enable him to check that every seat in the house had the view patrons would expect, and tickets for the first show would be sold on a first come first served basis.



"When it's sold out it's sold out," he said, adding that the only entrance would be via the Church Road frontage. Anyone who went to the rear of the complex would not get in.


There will be two shows on Friday - Kung Fu Panda at 5pm followed by Harry Potter at 7.30 - and four on Saturday.



Ticket prices will mirror those of Kerikeri's Cathay Cinema - $8 for children up to 14 years, $11 for students and senior citizens, adults $12 before 5pm and $15 after 5pm, families of two adults and two children $35.


Six local people have been employed as projectionists, from 50 applicants, and will have had all the training they need by Thursday evening.



Audience facilities include a full audio loop, which will enable those with impaired hearing to make use of headphones.


The finishing touches were being put to the screen yesterday but everything else, including very comfortable seats, was in place. The fully-computerised projector was ready too.



There would be no need for the reel changes that sometimes interrupted films in the old days, Mr Osborne said, and if something went wrong the machine would automatically send a message to Sydney for a diagnosis.


And in true cinema style the ticket kiosk includes a selection of ice creams, drinks and confectionary, a la the Nibble Nook that did such brisk business for many years before the Princess Theatre fire.



"We will have rubbish bins in the theatre for people who don't want to spend the entire film clutching their Jelly Tip stick," Mr Osborne added, "and we hope people will use them. In fact we hope they will give this lovely facility all the respect it deserves."


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