Cinemas in Australia

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Hoyts Group (currently 38 locations, 430 screens 65,000 seats)


1908 Hoyts Pictures started in Bourke Street Melbourne by Dr Arthur Russell (dentist and resident magician at Hoyts Circus, a small American travelling circus). By 1918 he had a cinema in Sydney. In 1926 he merged with two other companies. In 1932 Hoyts merged, briefly, with Greater Union Theatres, a much bigger chain but who were struggling financially.

1936 Fox Films in America, about to become a merger of two companies, Twentieth Century-Fox, became the major shareholder of Hoyts Pictures. In 1937, Greater Union Theatres removed itself from the previous merger.

1982 Twentieth Century Fox sold the Hoyts company to four Melbourne businessmen. By 1985, the Fink family had bought out the others. That same year in the US, a 50% share in Twentieth Century Fox was purchased by Rupert Murdoch, later to become a 100% share.

1987-1996 Major expansion of Hoyts Cinemas worldwide.

1996 Hoyts Cinemas floated on stock exchange.

1999 CPH i.e. Consolidated Press Holdings (Kerry Packer) purchases the chain for $US 620 million. Sells most of the overseas cinemas.

2004-2005 Hoyts bails out and purchases the struggling advertising company Val Morgan

2005 Hoyts sold by CPH to PBL (Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd) and WAN (West Australian Newspapers)

2007 Pacific Equity Partners purchases Hoyts from PBL and WAN.

2010 Hoyts purchases Australian Multiplex Cinemas (AMC) a Qld chain (Sunnybank, Stafford, Redcliffe, Tweed Heads South)

2014 Sun Xishuang (ID Leisure Ventures) purchases Hoyts (for up to $AU900 million). Linked to Dalian Wanda Group.

2015 Wanda Cinema Line (Dalian Wanda Group) largest Chinese film distributor, world's largest cinema chain in June 2015 purchases Hoyts (430 screens)

Event Cinema Chain (currently 62 locations)


1913 West's Pictures, Spencer's Pictures, Amalalgamated Pictures, and Greater JD Williams Amusement Company form a four company partnership known as "Union Theatres" and "Australasian Films". Also known as The Combine.

1931 After twelve months of losses (July 1930-June 1931) Union Theatres liquidated. Greater Union Theatres (still with the four holding companies) purchase all the assets in October 1931. In June 1932, Australasian Films re-emerges as Cinesound Productions, making movies up to WW2.

August 1932 Greater Union merged with Hoyts, forming the General Film Corporation. One of Hoyts's shareholders at the time was Fox Family Films in America.

1936 Fox Films, about to become a merger of two companies in the USA, Twentieth Century-Fox, became the major shareholder of Hoyts.

1937 Norman Rydge, a Sydney man famous for "Rydges Business Journal", bought back control of Greater Union Theatres, removing the company from the previous merger.

1945-1984 British Rank Organization purchase a half-share of Greater Union immediately after the war.

1965 The four holding companies ownership in Greater Union Theatres was merged into the Rydge family company Amalgamated Holdings Ltd (AHL) and Greater Union Theatres was renamed as Greater Union Organization Pty Ltd

1987 Buys out Village Roadshow

1991 Buys out Birch Carroll Coyle (BCC)

2009 Becomes Australian Theatres - and renames itself as Event Cinemas - with over 50 venues

2015 Becomes Event Hospitality and Entertainment

Cineplex Australia (QLD based chain)

Balmoral-Hawthorne, Redbank, Nerang, Victoria Point and South Bank

** End notes