by Insiders Dunedin

Watching a movie is a favourite pastime for many that can be experienced in a variety of ways. There seems to be an endless and ever-growing collection to watch, and the associated technology keeps getting better and better. Historically,  your options were limited in how you could view them. However, these days with the move to a digital format, people are spoilt for choice. You can watch a movie in the comfort of your home, on the go with mobile devices, but there is no doubt that you can not beat the experience a cinema provides. 

The Metro Cinema on Moray Place has had a long history in Dunedin. When it first opened it's doors; the cinema was established to screen a movie about Otago. It was managed by the Visitor Centre in the Town Hall and had a passage that connected to the cinema. Although, the cinema had a positive start, the venture was short lived.  Technical issues caused constant problems that eventually saw it's doors close for the first time. 

Following this, the cinema lay dormant for a few years until two friends; Grant and Peter reopened the doors. The duo wanted to screen movies that the big cinema's like Hoyts were not. Specifically, they wanted to create a small Arthouse that only played two or three screenings a day. 

The Metro Cinema and other's like the Odeon did ok until bigger competitors started to move in. Hoyts had already been operating in Dunedin, but when Rialto arrived, things would change for the smaller outfits. Distributors stopped supplying places like the Odeon, which forced it to have to close doors. Others like the Metro Cinema started to feel the financial pinch from two major multiplex theaters operating in town. 

With this in mind, the closing of the Odeon provided the perfect exit for Grant and Peter. John an engineer by trade and who used to look after the technical side of the Odeon's operation was the perfect match. Without a cinema to work on, John's lawyer suggested he make an offer to take over the Metro Cinema. He believed his experience with the technology and his relationships with distributors provided the right platform to operate it well. 

Twenty-odd years later and John is still operating the Metro Cinema with a large following of loyal supporters. John believes the success of the cinema and what really saved it, was one of the first films they screened titled, 'Waking Ned Devine.' It was one of the most successful movies the cinema has played to date and provided the majority of the funds for the cinema to be upgraded to screen digital films. Something crucial to the survival of the cinema as distributors no longer supply movies on film. Everything nowadays is entirely digital.

The Metro Cinema, although it has faced some challenging times, is a great asset to the city. With the vast amount of movies available these days, only a fraction get screened at big multiplex cinemas. Places like Metro Cinema provide a variety of choice. They provide entertainment that caters to those not interested in the mainstream blockbuster films. More importantly, they are screening stories that many have never heard of or would have discovered.    

I highly recommend keeping an eye on what the Metro Cinema screens through the various options listed below.
Phone - (03) 4719635
or visit the App/Website -

Doors are open seven days a week with multiple screenings during both the day and night. 



Submit A Comment