The new Bay Skate complex in Napier has again shown its capacity for multiple uses by being almost filled for the first night of the Mitre 10 Mega Outdoor Movies.
The former Marineland, redeveloped into Bay Skate, had one of its biggest crowds for at least a decade, perhaps beaten only by the crowd for the Ukulele Festival in November.
All 900 tickets for the first movie night sold, at $10 for adults and teens and $5 for the 12 and unders, near-filling the grandstand.
The first screening on Friday night was animated marine legend movie Moana, with the appropriate backdrop of the Pacific Ocean and Cape Kidnappers in the distance.
It was the first of three Mitre 10 Mega Outdoor Movies nights at the Napier City Council-owned skate park, with American fantasy feature and Academy Award-winning The Jungle Book next-up this Friday, and New Zealand adventure comedy Hunt for the Wilderpeople completing the season on February 10, each with tickets still available.
Apart from the ukulele event, the grandstand, which has seating for almost 600, had not been packed since some years before Marineland was closed in September 2008.
It was so long that a physical seat-count was needed before it was decided how many the movies could accommodate, said council manager communications and marketing Fiona Fraser.
The movie nights emerged from public online suggestions and were not intended to be commercial or fundraising triumphs. Sponsorship was needed to help with costs and Mitre 10 Mega staff helped set-up the venue.
Bay Skate staff member Kyle Hamilton found it a different movie crowd. "There wasn't as much popcorn as I expected," he said.