10 Kent Terrace,
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Event Cinemas New Zealand (Official)
Operated by: Event Cinemas New Zealand
Architects: Llewellyn Williams
Functions: Movies (First Run)
Styles: Greek Revival
Previous Names: de Luxe Theatre
Opened October 31, 1924 with Theodore Roberts in “The Ten Commandments”. The 1,749-seat de Luxe Theatre was equipped with a Wurlitzer 2 manual 10 ranks organ which was opened by organist Emanual ‘Manny’ Aarons. Its exterior is stripped Classical, and the interior is classic Greek Revival hardtop. The lobbies are mosaic floor, and the theatre contains a Sicilian white marble staircase, blue tiled walls, and bronze fittings. The de Luxe Theatre was closed on November 9, 1945.
It was reopened by Kerridge-Odeon later in 1945, renamed Embassy Theatre. The Wurlitzer organ was removed from the building in 1959 and sold to a private individual. In 1972 it was installed in Tauranga Town Hall. When that was demolished in 1986, it was installed in the Baycourt Community Arts Centre.
The Embassy Theatre was closed for conversion to 70mm film in November 1960. The original screen and proscenium is hidden but preserved behind an enormous 70mm screen and proscenium. The screen is said to be the largest in the southern hemisphere. The downstairs is closed but not damaged, reducing seating to 852. Renovation revealed original paintings hidden behind 1960’s false ceiling. Work was completed on 19th December 2001 for the premiere of Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings”. The main original auditorium is named The Grand. Two small screens named Cinema de Luxe have been created at ground level in the Black Sparrow Bar.
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