Blockbusters by Christmas for century old cinema

By Anna Wallis -
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The Majestic Theatre in Taihape celebrates 100 years next year.
PHOTO/ANNA WALLIS
The Majestic Theatre in Taihape celebrates 100 years next year. PHOTO/ANNA WALLIS

Taihape residents will get a big present at Christmas - a digitised cinema that can run all the new films including the mega budget Hollywood blockbusters.

The Majestic Theatre has been stymied because of its old equipment. The lack of high spec high tech gear has meant many films have been unable to be shown in the town's only cinema.

But the end of fundraising for a new $80,000 digital system means the cinema will be converted by Christmas.

Simone Simpson
Simone Simpson


The last $10,000 of the total cost is now in the bank after two years of fund raising.

Cinema manager Simone Simpson the equipment will be brought from overseas company NEC and because of its weight will be shipped to New Zealand. It has been ordered but is not expected until December.

Simone said hopefully it will only take a week to install.

"The personal installing it put in the equipment already here so they know the theatre, which is good."

"He's had considerable experience in this kind of installation."

The new system won't allow 3D films but she said that's not so important because relatively few films are made in 3D.

It's the blockbusters coming out of Hollywood and Disney films that the technology is required for.The Tui St cinema particular missed on animated features, most made for children.

Will it be a different experience for Taihape movie goers?

"I certainly hope so" said Simone.

"The new technology will not allow us to show more films but sound and other elements will be improved. And we will be able to show a lot more new movies to suit all tastes."

It is not yet known the date for the re-opening or how it will be celebrated but Simone said the big day will be marked in some way.

The cinema celebrates its centenary next year.

The Majestic Theatre is the second picture theatre to occupy the site of the present building. The first was built in 1912 but unfortunately burnt down in 1916.

The present purpose-built theatre was opened the following year, 1917, under the name of the previous theatre as the Kings Theatre, and continued as the Kings until July 1929 when it was renamed again and became the present Majestic Theatre. The change of name to the present one in 1929 was due to a change of ownership .

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993, now Heritage New Zealand.

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