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The curtain has been raised on plans for the return of regular cinema to Oamaru.

A lessee has been found for the former Limelight Cinema premises and, although he wishes to remain anonymous at this stage, he said he was looking forward to getting to Oamaru to open it.

Cinema had been hit hard due to Covid-19, and it had made for a challenging year, he said.

“We had hoped for a March opening for Oamaru, but we need to know the movies are flowing again.

“Hollywood’s bigger films have continued to be delayed and with James Bond now moving from November to April, and with the world’s second-biggest movie chain, Cineworld, reacting to this by closing all its cinemas, because of a lack of content, until April.

“I’d suggest an April/May opening would be a best-case scenario for Oamaru.”

The cinema would get a complete makeover, the new lessee said.

“It’s Oamaru’s cinema, so we are keen on it being a place everyone feels comfortable coming to .. a place where adults can get a pre-movie glass of wine, yet also a place for families.”

There would be two screens; one space would seat about 80, and the other about 50.

Audio Visual Equipment Ltd had come from Auckland to help redesign the two auditoriums, for a more immersive experience. New projection and sound equipment would be installed, along with new screens.

Limelight Cinema, in Thames St, closed in October 2018 and Oamaru has been without regular cinema screenings since.

A trust called Bigger Picture Oamaru was formed in the meantime to bring occasional screenings to town. Trust chairwoman Dagmar Rohrbach said they were “thrilled to see that the work on the reopening of the old theatre has started”.