Victoria’s multiple COVID-19 lockdowns meant the closure of entertainment venues, including the big screens. But now, cinemas are back. Michaela Meade spoke to HOYTS Cinemas Victoria north west area manager Ryan Pascoe about how the pandemic has impacted the business, and looked at what upcoming releases are worthy of bringing out the popcorn and choc tops once more.
Lockdowns put a stop to Victorians sitting in a darkened cinema with fellow moviegoers, enjoying snacks from the candy bar as stories unfolded in front of your eyes.
But now, with restrictions of the state’s sixth lengthy lockdown easing, film fans have a chance to get back to sitting in front of the big screen.
HOYTS Cinemas Victoria north west area manager Ryan Pascoe says it has been a challenging time for the cinema industry throughout the pandemic.
“The ripple effect of the most recent COVID-19 lockdowns has impacted not only our employees and guests, but all of our suppliers and partners too,” Ryan says.
“With our counterparts in the US and UK living with the virus, due to high vaccination rates, we have seen the industry start to bounce back and expect the same circumstances to positively impact the industry locally.
“We know movie-lovers crave the entire big screen experience and we can’t wait to welcome them back.”
As a result of high vaccination rates, cinemas began reopening on Friday, October 29, subject to density limits.
Ryan says there are plenty of new releases for visitors to enjoy when they’re welcomed back to cinema venues across the state.
“We have a really exciting slate of new releases when we reopen our cinemas,” he says.
“Guests can expect to see all the major blockbusters from the last three months on the big screen including ‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’, ‘Eternals’, ‘Halloween Kills’, ‘The Many Saints of Newark’, and more!
“Plus, movie-lovers can get excited for some outstanding blockbusters for the rest of 2021 with ‘No Time To Die’, ‘Boss Baby: The Family Business’, ‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’, ‘Dune’, and ‘Spiderman: No Way Home’, just to name a few!”
A movie buff himself, Ryan says he was most looking forward to ‘The Many Saints of Newark’.
“Being a big Sopranos fan personally, I can’t wait to see what this prequel will deliver on the big screen,” he says.
What to watch
‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’
Genre: action, adventure, fantasy
The next instalment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe stars Simu Liu as Shang-Chi, who must confront the past he thought he left behind, as he is drawn into the clutches of the mysterious Ten Rings organisation. This film is set to expand the MCU in more ways than one. Critics have praised its cast, and its standing as Marvel’s first Asian-led superhero outing.
Recommended audience: Marvel fans who want to see the continuation of the story post ‘Avengers: Endgame’, and action adventure enthusiasts looking for something a bit different.
Genre: horror, thriller
The extended battle between infamous flasher killer Michael Meyers and his original ‘final girl’ Laurie Strode continues in this next chapter. The film follows on from the events of ‘Halloween’ 2018 – which picked up 40 years after the events of ‘Halloween’ 1978. The story will wrap up in the next instalment, ‘Halloween Ends’, slated for release next year.
Jamie Lee Curtis returns to her breakout role of Laurie Strode.
Recommended audience: lovers of the original ‘Halloween’ and its many sequels, and horror-thriller fans
Genre: action, adventure, comedy
Ryan Reynolds stars as a bank teller who discovers he is a background character in a video game. These premise allows Reynolds to go all-out with his comedy, and the visual effects team created some standout visuals for the audience.
Recommended audience: fans of Ryan Reynolds, or Deadpool, and anyone looking for a fun movie night watch
‘The Many Saints of Newark’
Genre: crime, drama
This much-anticipated feature film prequel to the award-winning drama series ‘The Sopranos’ is set in the explosive 1960s, in the era of the Newark riots. The African-American and Italian communities are often at each other’s throats, and a young Anthony Soprano is caught in the mix.
Recommended audience: fans of the original series, who want to see where it all began
‘No Time To Die’
Genre: action, adventure, thriller
In Daniel Craig’s final turn as beloved spy James Bond, the character has left active service and is enjoying a peaceful life in Jamaica. His peace is short-lived when an old friend from the CIA turns up, wanting his help. A star-studded cast joins Craig on his final outing, which is sure to be a blast.
Recommended audience: Followers of the series, and action-adventure lovers
Genre: adventure, fantasy, drama
A new team of superheroes will join the Marvel Cinematic Universe in this new, epic adventure which spans thousands of years. Get the answers to why these immortal heroes did not intervene when Thanos posed a threat to half the universe. Directed by Academy Award-winning director Chloe Zhao, the first reviews for the film praise its visual style and storyline.
Recommended audience: those who want Marvel to do something new, and diehard fans wanting the story to continue