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Embassy Theatre Management Sold to Leading Company



Wellington film exhibitor Kerry Robins has sold the operational management of the historic Embassy Theatre to Village SKYCITY Cinemas.

The 81-year-old building is owned by Wellington City Council. The Council will continue to own the theatre under the new arrangement.

Mayor Kerry Prendergast welcomed Village SKYCITY Cinemas to Wellington.

“With their track record I am sure Village SKYCITY Cinemas will be a great addition to Wellington. The Embassy Theatre is an iconic Wellington landmark and has been the focal point for a number of fantastic Wellington events. We look forward to that continuing and, of course, the preservation of this magnificent piece of Wellington heritage.”

Village SKYCITY Cinemas Chief Executive Joe Moodabe says that the country’s leading cinema exhibition company is honoured to be involved in the capital city’s cinematic icon.

“The Embassy Theatre is truly unique. Wellington is the home of New Zealand film production and the Embassy has proven itself as New Zealand’s premier venue for successfully showcasing New Zealand films,” he says.

“The deluxe experience it offers is world class and we are very keen to keep what is already working well. Tribute must be paid to the Embassy Trust, the Wellington City Council and Kerry Robins in the work they have done to make the Embassy the success that it is.”

“We are thrilled with the timing as we enter what will be the golden age of cinema for New Zealand, with such outstanding New Zealand titles as World’s Fastest Indian; The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; King Kong; River Queen; Number 2; Sione’s Wedding and Perfect Creatures, which form the strongest line-up of New Zealand-produced films in the history of the industry,” he says.

Village SKYCITY Cinemas will also operate the soon-to-open nine-screen multiplex at Westfield Queensgate Mall, Lower Hutt (on track to open in April 2006).

“We are the largest cinema operator in New Zealand and this acquisition is a natural progression for our company,” says Mr Moodabe.

Mr Moodabe adds that any long term plans for development will focus on enhancing facilities and working to achieve Wellington City Council’s and Embassy Trust’s vision for the future of the cinema. “These plans for development have been in place for some time by the previous owner,” he says.

The Embassy Theatre was last refurbished in 2003 by the Embassy Theatre Trust for the world premiere of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

Planning is already underway for the Embassy to be the venue for Peter Jackson’s next blockbuster, King Kong, opening in December.

Mr Robins said although he was sorry to farewell what’s been a huge part of his life he knew he was passing custodianship of the Embassy to a company with a reputation for revitalising exhibition. “Village SKYCITY Cinemas are at the forefront of cinema exhibition in New Zealand.”

“I am confident the Embassy has a fine future in their hands,” says Mr Robins.


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