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The State of the Circuits - 1927

By early 1927, there was intense rivalry between Union Theatres and Hoyt's, the two interstate circuits, to obtain the exclusive Australian distribution rights of the major American film studios' output. An interesting "battle array" of each circuit's major theatres was published:

 

UNION THEATRES LTD. AND ASSOCIATE COMPANIES' THEATRES

BRISBANE

Wintergarden (first run) Capacity 2500

Tivoli & Roof Garden (First run) 3000

(now being constructed)

Majestic (first run)1200

Valley (first run) 2200

      Associated with Birch & Carroll Circuit in all large country towns in Queensland.

NEWCASTLE

Strand (first run) 1400

Royal (first run) 2200

Lyric (first run)1000

Star, Merewether (first run)1400

SYDNEY

Crystal Palace (first release,

long run)1200

Lyceum (first run)1800

Haymarket (first run)2000

Lyric (first run)1550

Empress (first run)1000

Olympia (first run)2000

Union de Luxe, North Sydney2200

Southern Cross, Neutral Bay2000

Union de Luxe, Marrickville2200

Union de Luxe, Ashfield 2200

      (These last 4 controlled jointly - Union Theatres 2/3, and Hoyt's 1/3 interest)

Prince Edward (in association or working

agreement)

MELBOURNE

Majestic (first run)1700

Melba (first run) 1200

Britannia (first run)1000

Empress, Prahran (2nd run)1500

Star (first run) 1000

Strand (first run) 1100

      (Star & Strand owned jointly with Hoyt's Theatres Ltd.

       

       

ADELAIDE

West's Wintergarden (first run)2300

York (first run)2000

Wondergraph1600

Pavilion (first run)1400

Grand (first run) 1000

 

HOYT'S THEATRES LTD AND ASSOCIATED COMPANIES' THEATRES

BRISBANE

No Theatres

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEWCASTLE

No Theatres

 

 

 

SYDNEY

Hoyt's (first run) 1200

Hoyt's Kinema, Mosman 1800

Union de Luxe, North Sydney2200

Southern Cross, Neutral Bay2000

Union de Luxe, Marrickville2200

Union de Luxe, Ashfield 2200

      (These last 4 controlled jointly - Union Theatres 2/3, Hoyt's 1/3 interest)

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

MELBOURNE

Hoyt's Kinema (first run) 2000

Paramount (first run)1600

Star (first run)1000

Strand (first run) 1100

      (Star & Strand owned jointly with Union Theatres Ltd.)

Practically whole of the Suburban Theatres in Melbourne either through Associated Theatres Ltd. or pooling agreement.

 

 

ADELAIDE

No Theatres

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Prince of Wales (first run)2100

Grand (first run) 1300

Royal (first run) 2000

Pavilion (old release)1000

Princess, Fremantle (first run)2000

TASMANIA

His Majesty's, Hobart (first run)1700

Princess, Launceston (first run)1700

Majestic, Launceston (first run)1400

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Majestic (first & 2nd run) 1000

Queen's Hall (first run) opening shortly1800

Two theatres in Kalgoorlie

 

 

TASMANIA

No Theatres

 

 

THEATRES BUILDING

UNION THEATRES

SYDNEY

State Theatre, Market Street3500

BRISBANE

Tivoli Theatre3000

 

HOYT'S

None

 

THEATRES ANNOUNCED OR RUMOURED TO BE BUILT

UNION THEATRES

SYDNEY

State Theatre, Market St. 3500

Another weekly change theatre

(location not yet announced)3200

Rebuilding on site of Empress

including Groth's & Fairlight Bldg2400

Rebuilding Crystal Palace1600

BRISBANE

Tivoli Theatre, at present rebuilding

 

 

 

MELBOURNE

Theatre to be built3000

5 suburban theatres in key centres,

seating capacity, each2500

 

ADELAIDE

Rebuilding Wondergraph Theatre 3000

 

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Theatre to be built by Sir Thomas

Coombe3000

 HOYT'S

SYDNEY

Theatre on Auditorium site,

near Empress, rumoured capacity1700

Property purchased next to Hoyt's;

if built on, probable capacity2000

 

 

BRISBANE

Site secured in Queen St, but it is reported that a legitimate theatre will be built on the site and that the lease contains provision that same must be used eight weeks in year for legitimate productions.

 

 MELBOURNE

Collins St. theatre, probable

capacity2500

 

 

ADELAIDE

Theatre, St. Peter's site 2500

[Everyone's, 16 February, 1927]

 

This list would appear to be accurate, but it should be borne in mind that it was compiled by Union Theatres, and would therefore have been geared to show that company's circuit in the best possible light. It gives little forewarning of the situation which was to arise less than a decade later, when Hoyt's (by then owned by the American company Twentieth Century Fox) circuit of Regents was well established, MGM was constructing a growing circuit of its own, and Union Theatres were very much heading for the financial rocks.

At this stage, however, Union Theatres seem decisively in the lead. Of the "theatres announced or rumoured to be built", the two unnamed Union theatres in Sydney were to be the Capitol and the Victory (the latter built on the site of the Empress, but not until 1938), that at Melbourne, the State, and that in Western Australia, the Ambassador's, Perth. The Hoyt's sites were to be the Regents (the Queen's Hall, Perth, was renamed "Regent" when rebuilt). The property next to Hoyt's De Luxe in Sydney was, with the site of the De Luxe itself, to be the location of the Plaza Theatre.

Most of the States were served also by smaller local circuits. Examples of these were Dan Clifford's circuit in Adelaide, the Crispe and Western Suburbs circuits in Sydney and Birch and Carroll in Queensland. Birch and Carroll were associated with Union Theatres.

 

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