Old medium, new century

1 May 2013

HOYTS’s seven-screen cinema complex in Sydney’s George Street had been operating for just over a decade when the biggest Australian movie ever, Crocodile Dundee, opened in April 1986. It ran there for seventy-four weeks and grossed nearly $50 million in cinemas across the country – more than $100 million in today’s dollars.

Huge as it was, Crocodile Dundee was gone in a flash by the standards of earlier cinema blockbusters. South Pacific played for 179 weeks at the Hoyts Mayfair in Sydney after opening on Boxing Day in 1958. The Sound of Music, which opened in 1965, played 140 weeks at the Liberty.

This was a new era and the cinema industry had new plans, especially to deal with the rise of home video. In 1986 Hoyts opened the eight-screen complex in Melbourne’s Chadstone shopping centre that marked the beginning of the suburban multiplex building boom in Australia. Two years after Dundee, a sequel was released. Fans who might have seen The Sound of Music twice now got a second hit of Mick Dundee by going to see the next instalment of his adventures…

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