The year before I left for New Zealand, I hardly went to the movies. I worked for a film distribution company and if you really think back to 2006, it was kind of a crap year for movies anyway and I set a record low of going to the theatre. I don’t remember how many I saw, but I think I am being generous with maybe 10.
When I got to Auckland and settled in, after a few months one of the first movies I saw was Spider-Man 3 because I had seen the previous 2, so why not. I went out on the release day because technically I was going to see it before most people in the US as it was released a day before (movies are released on Thursdays in New Zealand) and because of the time change. I am a total nerd like that. There is a huge, nice movie theatre in town, called Sky Cinemas (looks like the name has changed since) and when looking to see how much tickets are, I found that you can reserve your ticket as well as your seat in advance! All I had to do to hold my seat was enter my EFTPOS card number and pick my ticket up 10 minutes before showtime, otherwise my ticket will be let go and my card will not be changed. And oh yeah, there is no fee for this service! When you go to pick up your ticket, you can pick an alternative form of payment, but of course, I used EFTPOS for everything, so I just ran my card again. But no change and you get a reserved seat! How awesome is that! This expirence should really be more popular in the US and it sucks hardcore that it’s not. Tickets were about NZD$10 back in the day and if we are just talking 1=1, that seemed really expensive, but in reality wasn’t too bad, especially for the nice theatre and the services they were providing.
I ended up going to the movies a bunch in 2007, mostly for popular movies and on day of releases, way more then the previous year, because it was just such a good exprience! I always knew where I was sitting and had my ticket days in advance, so I never had to worry about sell outs. For Harry Potter, I checked the website everyday for about a month before release to see when they were going to start selling tickets and 2 weeks to the day before release, the tickets went on sale and I was, I think, the first person to reserve my seats for the show I wanted. Love it!
Australia was a little harder. In 2008, I saw 6 movies in the theatre (a record low at that time for me) and 4 of them I saw in January, when I was still in New Zealand. Once I got to Australia, tried to figure out the movie situation. It didn’t help that I was barely working, my rent was out of control and movies were like $5 more, so going to the movies was really a non-issue. For my birthday, I treated myself to see Tropic Thunder. There was one theatre in town at the time and seemed kind of crappy so I took the long walk over to the Entertainment Quarter and went to the Hoyts over there since I was living in Potts Point. No prebooking, no assigned seats. I got so spoiled in New Zealand and Australia, once again, was like coming home. A huge letdown. Otherwise, everything was fine, just way too expensive to go more often.
When I got to Melboune things were a little better. I had no job and they were going through the worst heatwave ever and it was over 40(C) everyday for like 2 weeks and just to escape the heat, I found some theatres in town that had different cheap days and went. I saw Benjamin Button at the Hoyts Central and it was still kind of expensive and even though I have like no attention span for anything more then 90 minutes at anytime, because of the weather, the length was well worth the money for the time. A few weeks later I went to see Milk at Kino Dendy which from the looks of it, doesn’t exist anymore! Boo!! I really liked this place. First run movies for like AU$7 on Mondays! Score!!
Moral: I wasn’t as impressed with the service of movies in Australia as I was with New Zealand, it was too much like home (reason #543534 why Australia is America Downunder)