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Alice Cinematheque to open second theatre

Owners of Christchurch’s only central-city cinema, Alice Cinematheque, plan to open a second theatre later this year based at The Tannery in Woolston.

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Plans for expansion: Alice Cinematheque managing director Jeremy Stewart. PHOTO: Supplied.

Alice’s managing director Jeremy Stewart said the expansion would enable the cinema to offer a bigger selection of movies.

The theatre was the first and only cinema to open within the four avenues after the Canterbury earthquakes destroyed the central city’s cinemas and, despite parking issues and road works on Tuam St, has just posted its second biggest month since opening in 2012. 

Alice shares the Old Post Office building on the corner of Tuam Stand High St with C1 Espresso, the Christchurch Art Gallery and contemporary art space The Physics Room.

Stewart said the collaboration of businesses within the building was a factor in the cinema’s success as it offered a complete experience for patrons. 

“The model is that you could spend all day here. You could have brunch at C1, catch an 11 o’clock showing, go upstairs to The Physics Room and then grab a DVD.”

The proposed cinema at the Tannery would offer even more by adding onsite parking, boutique shops, restaurants and bars to moviegoers’ experience.

Stewart said the theatre would have two screens, with 52 and 36 seats, and should be open by December. 

Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce chief executive Peter Townsend said business collaboration in Christchurch post-quake was important.

 “As we rebuild the city, the whole issue of collaboration between businesses has become much more important. We are seeing more of an emphasis on collaborative models.”

Hollywood Cinema owner Lang Masters said it was common for people to dine out when going to the movies and his cinema offered a dinner and movie deal with a local Sumner business to capitalise on that.

In 2013, the Academy Gold Cinema, formerly based in the historic Arts Centre, re-opened at a new site adjoining The Colombo mall in Sydenham.

Director Darren Cook said moviegoers often asked where to eat and the cinema had created a menu book to highlight restaurants in the area.

_Samantha Gee