Cinema Details

Whangamata Cinema (Coromandel)

Contact Details
Address:
708 Port Road

Whangamata, Coromandel Peninsula
Map

Contact Person: Ron Slater 07 865 6566
Phone: 07 865 6566
Fax:
Mobile:

Website: http://www.cinemathames.co.nz

Details
Capacity: 260
Screen: Single, 35mm. No plans currently for 3D
Sound: Two channel analogue/ultra stereo
Seating: Combination of flip-up and fixed seating
Snackbar: Small snackbar. Numerous nearby cafes and bars.
Accessibility: Level from street, with three low steps to negotiate
Linked Article: www.cinemathames.co.nz

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Geoff's Review
Situated in the main shopping precinct (Port Road) of this retirement/summer holiday Coromandel town, the Whangamata Cinema has high visibility, with its bright pink facade and emphatic 'cinema' legend. Owned and operated in Whangamata for over 50 years by local identity Ron Slater, this cinema faces an uncertain future and, in January 2013, it was up for sale.
The Whangamata Cinema exemplifies the numerous problems encountered by other provincial cinemas: constraints of the single screen; the inevitable upgrade to DCP; the vagaries of film distribution in New Zealand; the fickle younger audience.
In the meantime, it provides primarily for the summer influx with a daily programme of mainstream films. Summer brings a temporary population increase of between 30,000-40,000 holiday-makers.
There is also a sprinkling of art house titles (tending towards the middle-brow) for older film-goers, who comprise the year-round, local population. They also gather twice a month for the Whangamata Film Club. Nevertheless, there have been times when the cinema has closed in quiet winter months--but largely due to the lack of titles, rather than audience indifference.
Ron Slater perhaps represents an older generation of cinema-owners; men and women have dedicated their lives to bringing film to the less-populated parts of New Zealand, and a generation who were more interested in promoting film-going as a community activity than merely an opportunity to sell over-priced popcorn.
Let's hope that his cinema passes into good hands.
See also: Multiplex Cinemas Thames

This from the '25 Years Ago' column in the Waikato Times (Jan 22, 2013):

"Ron Slater lives at the beach but rarely sees the summer sun, the surf or the sands. Instead, he spends up to 18 hours a day in January shut in a darkened room entertaining tens of thousands of Whangamata holidaymakers. Ron is the owner, manager and projectionist of the Whangamata picture theatre and in January he screens as many as seven shows a day, a total of 243 screenings in 38 days ..."