Cinema and Audience Research Project

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Hoyts Drive-in, Wantirna

Venue Summary
Name Hoyts Drive-in, Wantirna
Address Mountain Highway, Wantirna, Victoria 3152
Operation Dates 1968-08-22 - 1984-01-01
Capacity 906
Suburban/Country Suburb
Purpose Cinema
Screens 2
Venue Comments

"One of the last Hoyts drive-ins built and one of the best. Unlike Bulleen and Altona, Wantirna was a success from day one. Located in a natural amphitheatre setting among orchards in Melbourne's Eastern Suburbs, it was a favorite location for movie-goers.

Unlike most other Hoyts drive-ins, Wantirna drive-in opened with a pair of Double C Centrex projectors from the former Hoyts Launceston cinema. "The picture on the screen faded out when the moon rose" comments David Johnson, who spent much of his career in Hoyts drive-ins. The Centrex projectors were later changed to Cinemeccanica Victoria 8's that were 70mm equipped. The drive-in was extended soon after opening by the addition of 3 extra ramps at the rear of the drive-in, this raised capacity from 658 cars to 906.

Wantirna's business was solid right through the late 1960's and 1970's. Drive-in classics such as "Vanishing Point", car chases, "Vigilante Force", action and "Case of the Smiling Stiffs" sex comedy, were the type of films drive-in fans wanted to see. Hoyts did not have access to the Disney product in their drive-ins but more than made up for it with films such as the Star Wars trilogy, "The Poseidon Adventure", "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" and many other blockbusters of the 1970's.

Wantirna opened as a twin drive-in in mid-1983. Nobody forsaw the devastating erosion to the business that occurred at this time. Only 12 months after the costly expansion, Wantirna was closed due to rapidly dwindling audiences. On the same night Hoyts also closed Coburg and Village closed Brooklyn and Essendon. The remaining locations emerged from the carnage as Village Hoyts Twin Drive-ins. No longer were the locations competing on product, this was pooled and all locations offered a double feature line-up from Hoyts and a separate one from Village every week." (Kilderry, 1999)

Kilderry, D. 1999 'Australian drive-ins', Drive-ins Downunder, Available at:
Beecham, B 'Hoyts to build sixth Melbourne drive-in', film tracks- Bertrand I Cinema file: Wantirna, (unpublished research).

Venue Events
Event Date Name of Venue Address Latitude /
Capacity Suburban Purpose Screens
1968-08-22 Wantirna Drive-in Mountain Highway
Victoria 3152
658 Suburb Cinema 1




Films Distributor Dates
Creatures The World Forgot 1971-10-12 - 1971-10-12
Curse Of The Voodoo 1971-10-12 - 1971-10-12
Creatures The World Forgot 1971-10-13 - 1971-10-13
Curse Of The Voodoo 1971-10-13 - 1971-10-13
Landlord, The 1971-10-14 - 1971-10-14
Barquero 1971-10-14 - 1971-10-14
Landlord, The 1971-10-15 - 1971-10-15
Barquero 1971-10-15 - 1971-10-15
Landlord, The 1971-10-16 - 1971-10-16
Barquero 1971-10-16 - 1971-10-16
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