Final curtain for another cinema

THE closure of the Greater Union cinema in Mosman comes as further proof of troubles in the Australian film industry.

While local filmmakers find it difficult to get work, and film, as an investment proposition, has retreated from fashion, the closure has underscored the impact of falling audiences.

It is the seventh picture theatre to close in Sydney since 1999.

Greater Union’s owner, Amalgamated Holdings Limited, put up a sign outside the Mosman building last week announcing the closure.

”A business decision had to be made on the viability of the cinema,” the sign said, adding that the announcement was made with ”great regret”.

The final screenings were on Australia Day.

AHL’s NSW promotions manager, Ben Rutherford, said the company would be making no further comment about the future use of the cinema.

Greater Union tore down a striking art deco theatre that had operated on the site since 1937 under various names including the Kings, Classic and Village to build the new twin-screen Mosman Cinema Centre.

It opened in 1988, a few months after the classically restored six-screen Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace opened about a kilometre away in Cremorne after a $2.5 million renovation.

In recent years the Mosman complex suffered massively declining patronage.

AHL has had preliminary discussions with Mosman Council about the future of the site.

John Carmichael, director of the council’s environment and planning department, said the council was interested in creating a ground floor bus bay to relieve congestion at peak hours at Spit Junction.

The council’s new local environment plan allows for extra height in exchange for a bus bay being incorporated into any new redevelopment. ”However, [the] council has not received any development application so it is too early to comment,” he said.

Theatres that have closed in recent years include Palace Cinemas in Oxford Street, Stanmore’s Globe, North Sydney’s Walker Street, the Dendy in Martin Place, the Valhalla in Glebe and the Village Twin in Double Bay.

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