Hoyts Midcity

Opened: 1970
Location: 200 Bourke St Melbourne
Capacity: 932, 750, 221.
Screens: Three
Operator: Hoyts
Closed: 1991

Brief history:
Hoyts Midcity was the second major complex built by Hoyts in Melbourne. It opened in 1970 the year after the Cinema Centre just up the road. These two complexes were built to replace the large single screen cinemas that Hoyts were operating in the CBD: Regent, Plaza, Esquire, Paris, Atheneum and earlier, the Capitol. It is of interest to note that six years after Midcity opened the Esquire and Atheneum were still running!

Hoyts Midcity in 1989. To the left can be seen the Village City Centr and further left the former Hoyts Esquire (facade hidden) it was the first Hoyts cinema in 1905.

It opened as a twin and the theatres were allocated the numbers 4 & 5. This was the continuation of Hoyts cinemas One, two and three that were located at the Cinema Centre one block up the street. Tora, Tora, Tora was the opening attraction. By todays standards the theatres were large seating 932 and 750. The style of both was pleasant and good sighlines from all parts of the large auditoriums was to be had. In the 1970's Midcity enjoyed strong business, but by the late 1980's, suburban multiplexes had eroded much of its former trade. Hoyts closed the site in 1991. Today it is run as a Chinese cinema with the screens brought forward to make the cinemas much more intimate.

One of the two large auditoriums at Midcity. The deeply curved screens ran a lot of 70mm over the years. I can almost still hear "Apocolypse Now" and "Silverado".

In 1976 Hoyts took part of the foyer and turned it into the third screen naming it cinema 6, cinema 4 was renamed cinema 7 a few years later when Cinema Centre added a forth screen - confusing ain't it!. It seated 221 and had one of the smallest screens imaginable. What was even more unusual was the projection box. To maximise the seating, Hoyts bought a newspaper stand in the arcade below and built a projection room in it. The light from the Philips FP20 hit a mirror and went 40 feet up a shaft to another mirror and then through a porthole and onto the screen! It was not easy to focus. The door opened right onto the arcade and many shoppers were startled to see a projectionist in the middle of an arcade.

The main projection room for cinemas 5 (right) and 7 (left). Platters in the centre are Philips, projectors are Cinemeccanica Victoria 8 with Xebex lamphouses for cin 5 and Cinemeccanica verticles for cin 7. Automation was Cinemation Mark IV and sound was Dolby CP100. Both projectors were used with the ads and trailers on a spool on the first machine and then an automatic changeover to the feature on the second. Slides were large glass format Cinemeccanica GPR 4.

Buddy mans the projectors in Midcity 7 on closing night in 1991. Apologies for the poor focus, but as you can see, I didn't take the photo!

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