Moncrieff Entertainment Centre.
Moncrieff Entertainment Centre. Mike Knott BUN110616CBD5

Curtain comes down on films at the Moncrieff

MOVIE lovers in Bundaberg will have fewer chances to catch the latest films on the big screen with Moncrieff Entertainment Centre to stop theatrical release cinema programing.

Bundaberg Regional Council made the decision at an ordinary meeting of council on Tuesday, citing a lack of demand for standard release theatrical release movies.

Movies will still play a role at the Moncrieff but it will now focus on live event-based cinema, free community movie events and film fundraisers.

For a long time, the Moncrieff has operated as a second-run cinema, meaning it screened films about a month after their theatrical release.

While it showed blockbusters like Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the Moncrieff tended to focus more on smaller, independent films or critically acclaimed movies such as the recent Oscar nominated Darkest Hour, starring Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill, that did not find a wider audience.

The council could lose up to $5000 a year from the loss of cinema advertising income.

Independent films are struggling to find an audience more than ever.

In 2007, blockbusters took about 23% of the Australian box office but 10 years later Hollywood is commanding more than 50%, according to Screen Australia.

"For example, looking at the non-Australian Best Picture Oscar nominees in the period (2017), you had Manchester by the Sea do $3.1 milion in Australia, Fences did $1.2 million and the category winner Moonlight on $2.5 million,” Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason said.

"All critically acclaimed, remarkable films doing significantly less box office than they would have a decade ago.”

The entertainment landscape has changed considerably in the past few years with the introduction of video-on-demand services such as Netflix and Stan.

The Moncrieff change comes into effect on July 1.