84 High Street,
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Previously operated by: Kerridge-Odeon
Previous Names: Arcadia Picture Theatre, Deluxe Theatre
The Regent Cinema reopened April 23, 2022, by Stephanie and Alison Amboy after being closed since 2012. The sisters, daughters of the building’s owner, were helped in its $5,000 funding by Moviefest Charitable Trust trustee and documentary film-maker Graeme Moffat. The Regent Cinema is on the register of the New Zealand Historic Places Trust Board. It was taken ovedr by new operators in October 2022.
Hawke’s Bay Today news reported “It is the third oldest provincial cinema in the country. Its history goes back to January 14, 1919, when it opened as the Arcadia Picture Theatre with Douglas Fairbanks in “A Modern Musketeer”. The cinema was refurbished in 1932 and renamed The Deluxe Theatre and by 1952 it became the Regent Cinema with 650-seats on a stadium plan with a stepped raised section at the rear, rather than the usual balcony seating. It was operated by Kerridge-Odeon”.
The 2022 opening movie was “This Is New Zealand”, a movie originally screened with three side-by-side projectors when it made its debut at Expo ‘70 in Osaka, Japan.
The 218-seat stadium cinema has digital projection, Dolby Sound and a 29-feet wide screen. From a vintage photograph it appears that the vacant main floor below the stadium section held about 300 seats.
The Amboy sisters operate the Regen Cafe in the building. There are plans to show classic films and organize film festivals in the cinema, which is staffed by volunteers.
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