The MRC has been successful in building cinema audiences through its program of limited releases. This has included the screening of film festivals and also low budget films which were not picked up by the major chains.
This has allowed the MRC to support the development of cinema curatorial skills in South Australia. This is particularly important at a time when it is vital that the MRC grows cinema audiences for diverse screen product.
They offer a more intimate experience
Aside from new releases, art house cinemas in Adelaide also screen old classics and independent films. These cinemas are often smaller than regular theatres and are more intimate. They have comfortable seats and updated sound systems. They also host special events and festivals. They are a great place to see foreign movies and arthouse classics, but they’re also a good choice for a family outing.
The Media Resource Centre (MRC) uses its Screen Australia funding to run the Adelaide Cinematheque program. Its aim is to enhance screen culture and provide screening opportunities for emerging South Australian film, video and digital media artists. The MRC is the only venue in Adelaide that operates with this explicit purpose. It builds audiences for diverse cinematic work through calendar based programs of thematically curated Australian and international feature, retrospective and shorts seasons. The MRC also supports documentary and experimental filmmaking by providing exhibition opportunities that are linked to production initiatives.
This is particularly important in light of the Federal Minister’s avowed interest in rethinking the provision of resources to put greater emphasis on connecting production with audiences. The MRC is a model that successfully demonstrates this approach. Its 2008 box office increase reflects its capacity to build cinema audiences at a time when these audiences are declining nationally. It also demonstrates its ability to deliver sustainable and attractive business models through a combination of ticket sales, subscriptions, equipment hire and workshop receipts.
They offer a variety of programming
The variety of programming offered by art house cinemas includes independent first release and retrospective films, as well as thematically curated Australian and international shorts packages. It aims to build cinema audiences capable of appreciating challenging product and thus supports the development of a filmmaking community capable of addressing a range of genres and approaches. It also aims to keep alive faith in cinema as an artistic form that requires appreciation of its context, history and genre.
Unlike blockbusters, which require large initial investments and have high marketing costs, art films rely on a small audience base to make them financially viable. They are generally promoted by critics, arts columnists and bloggers, and word of mouth amongst film enthusiasts. They often appeal to the mind as much as the eye. For example, Roger Ebert compared Chungking Express to a cerebral experience.
In addition to its film programming, Valhalla runs regular weekend or week-long festivals on a theme such as Jacques Tati, New Russian Cinema, Werner Herzog or Animation celebrations. These festivals are usually sold as a pass of sixteen films or half yearly or yearly subscription and are important for building a loyal, core audience for the cinema.
The MRC has served as a key local face of the screen industry, enabling it to efficiently link production and exhibition by providing screening opportunities for filmmakers supported by Screen Australia (for example Raw Nerve). These films have been intensely popular at Mercury with audiences regularly filling multiple screens and requiring overflow seating.
They offer a variety of snacks
The Herb and Parmesan popcorn at this cosy, nonprofit space for diverse independent and foreign films may not be as tasty as the corner-shop Haribo you used to smuggle under your jumper, but the ambiance and snazzy menu might just make up for it. Bulb lights hang low over amber-hued floor lights, and the lounge is a classy affair with 1940s decorative wallpaper, plush carpets and high stools. You can choose between a selection of savoury and sweet snacks or a full meal, along with wine and spirits.
The Como cinema in South Yarra, which was once a hairdressing salon, is now home to nine screens, including three Platinum and fully reclining seats. Its lavish makeover by Hecker Guthrie, influenced by a boutique hotel aesthetic, has attracted a loyal clientele willing to spend a bit more for a sophisticated and elegant experience.
The Palace Nova East End is a good choice for art house and foreign movies. Its location on Rundle Street, cheap Mondays and a variety of screenings (including 3D) are great draws. The theater also hosts many events, from red carpet parties to fundraisers and movie marathons. Its concession stand sells popcorn and ice cream, but the bar offers a wide range of premium food and drinks. The staff is friendly and helpful, making it easy to relax before and after the film.
They offer a variety of seating options
As art house cinemas struggle to build audiences, some are experimenting with new methods of attracting film lovers. These include selling food and drinks and providing a variety of seating options. Some are even offering reclining seats for those who want to relax and unwind in comfort. Some cinemas are also offering special discounts and promotions. These are a great way to attract visitors and keep them coming back.
The Mercury is the only city cinema that offers a full season of limited releases, including first release Australian and international films, thematically curated shorts packages and thematically framed seasons. This approach helps to build a cinema audience for a diverse range of work that often falls outside the commercial focus of major chains and can be difficult to distribute.
The theatre is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register and oozes history, with old-fashioned seating and a concession area that sells lollies and soft drinks. The Century Bar serves wine and cocktails. The theatres are spacious and the decor combines elements of modernist architecture with historic movie paraphernalia. The theatre has 7 screens, stadium seating, and a screening lounge with reclining seats. There is also a snack bar that serves a selection of premium foods. The theatre is an excellent choice for a night out. It is the ideal place for a date or for a group of friends.