While the company will lose one of its Sydney locations, they’re looking at the positives.
“We’re very sad about it, obviously – we’ve got a very loyal customer base that are quite regularly there, and who know the staff by name,” said Dendy’s head of group marketing, Scott Mota.
“The positive here is that Newtown is a much bigger cinema. We’ve got 10 screens here, and probably the most diverse range of films in Australia. Opera Quays only had three screens. We have a diverse range audience and we love giving them the content they want.”
The group’s first cinema was a one-screen operation established on Dendy Street in Melbourne’s Brighton Bay by businessman Robert Ward and his father.
On the basis of its success, the Wards established several cinemas around Melbourne and, in the mid-1970s, took the operation to Sydney.
In 1981, new owners Barbara Grummells and Fred O’Brien relaunched the Dendy Martin Place with the slogan “From tart house to art house”, and began screening foreign-title films and avant-garde classics – it lasted until 2003, when it closed.
The Newtown theatre opened in 1994, and the Opera Quays location in 1999.
The Dendy group was bought by Mel Gibson’s film company, Icon Productions, in 2008.
In addition to the Newtown location, there is one in Canberra and three in Queensland – at Coorparoo, which opened in 2017, and Hamilton which opened in 2006, as well as a new Gold Coast location, which is opening soon.
“We’re always open to expanding our cinemas. We haven’t got anything in the pipeline at the moment in terms of Sydney, but we’re always on the lookout,” Mr Mota said.