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Regent, Melbourne

Venue Summary
Name Regent, Melbourne
Address 191 Collins Street, Melbourne, Victoria 3000
Operation Dates 1929-03-15 - 1970-07-01
Capacity 3253
Suburban/Country City
Purpose Cinema
Screens 1
Venue Comments

The Regent was the prestige releasing house on the Hoyts circuit opening on March 15, 1929. Seating capacity varied over the years from 3500 to 3312 to 3277 with 3253 the official recorded seating capacity during its last years(1950-1970). (Film Weekly: Motion Picture Directory)

On April 29, 1945, the Regent was destroyed by a fire. The Hoyts Plaza, Melbourne below also sustained extensive damage. "Major programming changes had to take place, as Hoyts now had two theatres closed. Work on repairing the Plaza took priority and commenced immediately, taking seven months to complete. The Regent though had to be re-bult and this would take nearly 32 months." (Walters, p. 128)

The Regent re-opened on December 19, 1947. The first film to screen was Homestretch.

In December 1953, the Regent Theatre was Melbourne's first theatre to be altered for the dimensions of Cinemascope films.The Regent was only closed for 2 days while new equipment was installed. The Robe screened in Cinemascope on December 17, 1953

According to Walters (p.129) "Melbourne nearly lost its Regent Theatre during 1961. Hoyts' Melbourne head office managment took on a tour of their city theatres the head of 20th Century Fox in America, Spyros Skouras, out here as part of a world trip. After viewing the Regent, a Hoyts executive asked Skouras what he thought of their flagship theatre. He replied "Great! Magnificent theatre. It's the second best theatre in the world. Pull it down." Jaws dropped, they could not believe what they had just heard. Theatres this size are being pulled down all over the world, continued Skouras. "They're too big and they will never be full again," he added...Fortunately this did not eventuate."

In 1964 a live production was staged at the Regent. After five weeks the Regent went back to screening films.

The last film screened at the Regent on July 1, 1970. The Regent Theatre remained closed and derelict for 26 years. The Regent was re-opened in 1996 as a live theatre venue.

Film Weekly records the following changes in capacity:
1948/9 = 3277
1949/50 = 3253

Cinema & Theatre Historical Society 1997, Cinema index : Melbourne cinemas, suburban cinemas, Victorian drive-ins. CATHS, Victoria.

Hanson, I, 'The Story of The Regent-Melbourne', Parts 1-5, Kino
Thorne, R 1981, 'Cinema of Australia via USA', pp.299-305.

Film Weekly: Motion Picture Directory. Sydney. 1948/9-1969/70.

Austen, G 1987, 'A classy act for old theatre, says TAB chief', Age, July 1, p.5.
Austen, G & Kelly, H 1987, 'Government and TAB plan a Tabaret for the Regent theatre', Age, June 11, p.5.
Bowring, P 1973, 'Ghosts that won't lie down', Sun, December 7, pp.34-35.
Burchall, G 1997, 'Films to make a comeback at Regent', Age, 30 October.
Craven, N 1969, 'Theatres sale?', Showman, April 15.
Ford, C 1986, Redevelopment row builds over theatre', Weekend Australian'', August 9-10, p.30.
Dunstan, K 1980, 'A place in the sun'-(Bertrand, I Cinema file: 191 Collins Streetunpublished research).
Dunstan, K 1987, 'The Regent faces its final curtain', Age, June 16, p.11.
Ellingsen, P 19880, 'Ballet offers $4m for Regent, shops', Age, August 9.
Gibson, R 1997, '$28m Regent refit questioned', Age, April 11.
Goodwin, R 1977, 'City staff ban work on theatre', 'Age'', May 10, p.3.
Gray, D 1993, 'Proposed film centre at Regent', "The Sunday Age", 25/7. p.9.
Gurvich, V 1995, 'Regent stages an elegant comeback', Age, June 24, p.3.
Harris, S & Rentsch, J 1977, 'Council yes to Regent', Age, August 9.
Hill, K (ed.), 'The late, great night'- (Bertrand, I Cinema file: 191 Collins Street unpublished research).
Hill, K 1996, 'Our king of theaters a derelict no more', Age- Metro, August 15.
Hills, B 1974, 'Save the Regent, experts urge council', Age, November 30, p.3.
Maloney, S 1996, 'A star is reborn', Age-Metro, August 19, p.1.
Managan, J & Winkler, T 1996, 'Regenerating the Regent to makl her a ruler again', Age, April 23.
Manzie, K 1953, 'Near record in Easter changes: 10 new bills,' Film Weekly, April 9, p. 16.
McAsey, J 1987, 'Council's $50m plans would save Regent', Age, September 18.
McAsey, J 1988, 'Roper approves $50m City Square redevelopment, Age, December 24.
McKinlay, B, 'Fighting for an amazing pleasure dome'- (Bertrand, I Cinema file: 191 Collins Street unpublished research).
Morgan, J 1996, 'Nothing succeeds like excess', Weekend Review, August 17-18, p.12.
Oddy, A 1987, 'Letters to the editor- 'Tabaret' proposal for Regent Theatre is a tawdry concept', Age, June 16, p.12.
Petersen, D 1977, 'Runyon had the answer...', Herald, September 16.
Robinson, P 1982, 'Developers threaten to quit Regent project', Age, September 20, p.3.
Robinson, P 1988, 'Regent stages renaissance', Australian, April 16.
Storey, R 1994, 'Regent theatre regeneration', Trust News, v.23,n.3, December, p.21.
Shumpeter, P 1987, 'Regent must cater for young, says Huggard', Age, July 20, p.3.
Sorey, R 1994, 'Regent theatre regeneration', Trust News, 23:3, December, p.21.
Steger, J 1996, 'Just a song and dance at 'Sunset, Sunday Age'', October 27.
Thomson, H 1996, 'Regent also stars', Age-Metro, October 28.
Toy, M-A 1992, '$10m 'gift' to revive regent', Herald-Sun, March 31, pp.1-2.
Trioli, V 1993, 'New vision for Regent', Age, March 27.
Walters, T 2009, The Picture Palaces of Melbourne. pp.127-178.
Wilkie, D 1977, 'We're stuck so hang the expense', Sun, March 9, p.8.
Wilkinson, M 1977, 'Behind the screen at the Regent', Sun, March 9, p.8.
Wilmoth, P 1996, 'Dramas at Sunset', Sunday Age, October 27, pp.3-4.

'2 theatres sold for city square', 1969, Sun, June 6.
'Brief history of the regent theatre'-(Bertrand, I Cinema file: 191 Collins Street unpublished research).
'Curtains or an encore for the Regent', 1977, June 6-(Bertrand, I "Cinema file: 191 Collins Street unpublished research).
'Marriner unveils Regent grand plan', Age, August 25, 1993.
'Preliminary Announcement', 1976, "The Age", 12/7/1985.
'Regent in the good old days', Melbourne Truth, December, p.9.
'Regent's fate still clouded', 1977, Age, June 8.
'Regent-', 1980, Age, October 23

Herald, September 16- (Bertrand, I Cinema file: 191 Collins Street unpublished research).

Regent Place Apartments, real estate booklet- (Bertrand, I Cinema file: 191 Collins Street unpublished research).
'The Regent for Melbourne Campaign'-(Bertrand, I Cinema file: 191 Collins Street unpublished research).

Venue Events
Event Date Name of Venue Address Latitude /
Capacity Suburban Purpose Screens
1929-03-15 Regent 191 Collins Street
Victoria 3000
3500 City Cinema 1




Films Distributor Dates
Paddy The Next Best Thing Fox Film Corporation 1933-12-25 - 1933-12-25
Facing The Music British Empire Films (BEF) 1933-12-25 - 1933-12-25
Paddy The Next Best Thing Fox Film Corporation 1933-12-26 - 1933-12-26
Facing The Music British Empire Films (BEF) 1933-12-26 - 1933-12-26
Paddy The Next Best Thing Fox Film Corporation 1933-12-27 - 1933-12-27
Facing The Music British Empire Films (BEF) 1933-12-27 - 1933-12-27
Paddy The Next Best Thing Fox Film Corporation 1933-12-28 - 1933-12-28
Facing The Music British Empire Films (BEF) 1933-12-28 - 1933-12-28
Paddy The Next Best Thing Fox Film Corporation 1933-12-29 - 1933-12-29
Facing The Music British Empire Films (BEF) 1933-12-29 - 1933-12-29
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