The Cinema And Theatre Historical Society of Australia Inc.



Chinatown Cinema - Melbourne

Members were pleased to visit Melbourne’s Chinatown Cinema on the same day as the Hoyts Docklands tour.

Opened in 1971, Chinatown Cinema is situated in what was Hoyts Mid City Cinemas from 1970 to 1992.

General Manager, Agnes Au, spoke of the recent trends in Asian cinema. Although principally screening Chinese films, the cinema also exhibits films from other Asian countries, most notably Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and Korea.

Cantonese has been the principal language of Chinatown Cinema since its inception. However, with the growing prevalence of the Mandarin language within Australia’s Chinese population, some of the cinema staff must accommodate both languages daily, as well as English.

Cinema Manager, Alan, alternates seamlessly between three languages as he communicates with customers.

To promote its film screenings and concerts, Chinatown Cinema actively employs social media platforms including WeChat, Weibo, Kakao Talk, Facebook, a dedicated YouTube channel and, of course, a web site. WeChat is immensely popular with the Chinese community and is therefore typically the most influential platform.

CATHS members were treated to some alluring trailers on the cinema screen. The auditorium seats just over 300 patrons and is most comfortable with excellent dimensions. Members then explored the projection area which, until 2008, served two back-to-back cinemas. Today one of the former cinemas is occupied by Hyland’s Bookshop.

Report by Cameron Hall