It’s no secret that cinemas have to adapt to survive in the Netflix era, and Adelaide’s independents have seen their fair share of change this year.
Palace Nova recently merged its Eastend cinemas and will open a new theatre in Prospect next year, while two new GU Film Houses have opened up in Glenelg and the CBD. So, how are they keeping up in such a challenging climate?
There is something to be said for the appeal of nostalgia, but the solution seems to be an all-inclusive experience – with cinemas offering everything from food and alcohol service, to spacious reclining couches, live events and Q&As.
“We must offer an experience rather than just a transaction,” says Capri Theatre manager Rob Jordan. “Distributor contracts can often make this difficult, but this is something that could be looked at to allow us to have more variety in our programs, to stay relevant and engage with our community, so they choose us over the big guys.”
“We look to become even more varied in our offering, showing a quality mix of arthouse, blockbuster, independent, foreign and stage to screen film,” adds Yolanda Sulser, marketing manager at Palace Nova. “Our aim is to attract a wider range of customers with varying tastes.”
Sasha Close of Wallis Cinemas plans to offer more one-off events for major titles and specialised content, such as their popular ‘Girl’s Night Out’, which continues to be a key part of their business model. Along with premium cinema experiences, deluxe seating and smaller, more intimate auditoriums becoming a key feature in coming years, Close anticipates international concerts, theatre events and even opera to hit screens in Adelaide.
The future of cinema depends in part on distributors to provide great films, favourable contracts, and suitable release windows before films are available on other platforms. “As long as people can see the value, and justify it, then cinema will continue,” says Sulser.