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The Hoyts Group is an Australian group of companies, including Hoyts Exhibition, Hoyts Kiosk and Val Morgan. The company operates more than 430 screens and over 65,000 seats. Val Morgan, the cinema advertising arm of the Hoyts Group, is Australia and New Zealand’s leading national supplier of cinema screen advertising with network coverage of over 2,000 cinema screens covering metro, regional and country areas. VMO is Val Morgan’s sister company offering digital screen advertising in over 4,000 Out-of-Home environments in Australia and New Zealand. In June 2015, the Hoyts Group was wholly acquired by Wanda Cinema Line, a subsidiary of Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group, the largest commercial property developer in China and world's largest cinema chain operator.
|Industry||Film exhibition, film distribution, cinema advertising|
|Australia, New Zealand|
Damian Keogh (Group CEO)|
Vincent Lloyd (Group CFO)
Dan Hill (MD – Val Morgan)
Number of employees
In the exhibition business, the largest part of the Hoyts Group, their main competitor is Event Cinemas (partnered with Village Cinemas in Victoria and Tasmania) and smaller competitors include Wallis Cinemas, Palace Cinemas, Dendy, Reading Cinemas and the Avoca Beach Picture Theatre (whom operate on a small scale in Australia).
At the start of the 20th century, Dr. Arthur Russell, dentist and in his spare time, a cornet player and a magician, purchased a share in a small American travelling circus, known as Hoyts Circus, and travelled with them as the resident magician. After a financially disastrous run, Russell returned to dentistry.
Undeterred, he leased the old St. Georges Hall in Bourke Street, Melbourne (later known as the Hoyts Esquire), and in 1908 began showing short films on Saturday nights. Unlike his previous venture, it was successful, and as a result, he formed a new company called Hoyts Pictures Pty. Ltd. By the time he died at the end of World War I, Hoyts had expanded into the suburbs of Melbourne, and into Sydney.
On September 29, 1926, Hoyts and two other companies, Electric Theatres Pty. Ltd. and Associated Theatres Pty. Ltd., merged to become Hoyts Theatres Limited. On March 27, 1936, the Fox Family Pictures logo (now Twentieth Century Fox) secured a major shareholding in the company.
In August 1982, Twentieth Century Fox sold Hoyts to a group of four Melbourne businessmen. In April 1985, the Fink family subsequently bought out the other partners to become the sole owner. The Finks began to expand the company, into areas such as film distribution, home entertainment, and cinema operations in New Zealand, the United States, South America and Europe.
In 1987, the corporation was restructured and two of the companies in the corporation were listed on the Australian Stock Exchange: Hoyts Media and Hoyts Entertainment. However, the company that owned the cinemas, Hoyts Cinemas, was not floated until 1996. The years between 1987 and 1996 saw considerable expansion, so that by 1994, Hoyts was the 10th biggest cinema chain in the world and was owned by an American investment company—Hellman and Friedman—directors and senior management, and the Australian company Lend Lease Corporation.
In 1996, Hoyts Cinemas was floated and in 1999, the late Kerry Packer's private family company, Consolidated Press Holdings, bought the chain for $620 million (A$745.3 million). After that, Hoyts began to sell off cinemas. This trend began in 1999 when their Polish operations were sold, and in 2000 when their UK operations were also sold. In 2003, Hoyts sold its Hoyts America operations to Regal Entertainment Group and National Amusements with the remaining cinemas sold to Boston, MA-based Northeast Cinemas (which acquired US rights to the Hoyts brand name) or sold to independent operators or closed. As of 2017, multiplexes in Simsbury, CT and Linthicum Heights, MD still operate under the Hoyts nameplate.
In 2004, it joined forces with Village Roadshow and AHL to bail out Val Morgan Cinema Advertising, eventually taking their stake to 100% in 2005. In December that year, PBL and West Australian Newspapers purchased the company from Consolidated Press Holdings.
In October 2008, Hoyts announced a takeover bid for Australian Multiplex Cinemas (AMC). The purchase did not proceed, although at the time Hoyts still hoped to return to Queensland, where previously they had owned theatres in Brisbane and a three cinema complex in Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast.
On 17 March 2010 Australia's Hoyts Corporation announced its intention to expand its New Zealand cinema operations with the purchase of Barrie Everard's Berkeley Cinema Group. The two companies completed the transaction in June 2010 after regulatory approval, adding four multiplexes to Hoyts New Zealand presence in Auckland.
In October 2010 it was announced that Hoyts will acquire Australian Multiplex Cinemas. This purchase was successfully completed in November 2010.
In December 2014, Hoyts was bought by Chinese billionaire Sun Xishuang, who is believed to have paid up to A$900 million through his investment company ID Leisure Ventures, based in the British Virgin Islands. Most of the Hoyts management were expected to be retained. Sun has links to the Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda, which in 2012 bought the American cinema chain AMC Theatres.
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HOYTS LUX offers ticket holders use of an exclusive bar before or after their chosen film, with a selection of food and drinks. Food can also be delivered to a customer's seat during the screening.
In 2015, Hoyts were the first to market with powered recliner cinema seats. The powered recliners are in 25 Hoyts cinema locations across Australia.
Xtremescreen cinemas boast the biggest screen and best sound, with the screen at Hoyts Blacktown being the largest at 28 metres wide. The cinema uses 4K digital projection for these screens. Xtremescreen primarily uses Dolby Digital Plus as the system sound format, although Dolby Atmos is used in the newer cinemas. Many movies can be screened with Xtremescreen, if they meet the chain's requirements.
In 2008, Hoyts launched the first joint venture with IMAX outside North America and opened three Digital IMAX screens retrofitted into existing theatres at their Carousel, Entertainment Quarter and Highpoint multiplexes. The first film shown in IMAX was the 2008 remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still. Both 2D and 3D films are shown in Hoyts IMAX. Only selected IMAX films are shown.
D-Box is a motion experience introduced in Hoyts Te Awa, located in Hamilton, New Zealand. The seats are coded via Motion Code, and move interactively with the movie. This is not the first time the company has experimented with motion simulation. In the mid-1990s Hoyts previously operated a motion simulator ride at the Highpoint cinema(in the location currently occupied by Imax), though it used ride films instead of commercial blockbusters. It was called "Cinemotion" and was created by Iwerks who also supplied the films used.
Digital Cinema capital investment plansEdit
Hoyts Exhibition replaced all film equipment with Digital Cinema equipment within an ambitious 18 month window, in preparation for the sale of the Hoyts group. The modernization of the equipment to the current Hollywood mandated Digital Cinema standard, is expected to cost the group somewhere in the order of 30 million AUD. This amount is subsidized by the Virtual Print Fee received from the participating Hollywood Studios. This 30M AUD cost is also expected to be offset by the significant reduction in staffing requirements (exhibitors in the USA are claiming a 90% reduction in projection staff post-modernization). If Hoyts follow through with their capital investment plans, they stand a chance of relinquishing their position as the lowest capital investor in the Australian cinema exhibition industry.
Hoyts Distribution was the film distribution arm of the Group until 2012. It existed in its own right in the 1980s-early 1990s, and was later merged with the distribution operations of Sony Pictures and 20th Century Fox. In 2002, the company was brought back to life, distributing primarily films produced by Nine Films and Television, Channel 9's film production arm, and major independent studios, such as Lions Gate Entertainment. In July 2012 it was acquired by StudioCanal.
Hoyts Exhibition, the largest and most well-known arm of The Hoyts Group, manages cinemas in five Australian states; the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia.
Hoyts Exhibition also operates 8 cinemas across New Zealand.
Hoyts were the original operator of the multi-screen cinema at the Bluewater shopping mall in the UK, having been signed up by Bluewater developer Lend Lease Corporation (also an Australian firm). Hoyts also operated the 'Gallery' upmarket subsection to the Bluewater cinema. A couple of years later, Hoyts decided to exit the UK market to concentrate on their operations in Australia and New Zealand, as the Bluewater site was their only UK operation, making the operation uneconomical. Showcase Cinemas, an established UK cinema operator, took over operation of the Bluewater cinema, though retained much of the fabric, layout and design that had been introduced by Hoyts, including The Gallery. (Showcase also operate the Cinema de Lux brand of upmarket cinema but did not introduced this branding to the Gallery at Bluewater) until November 2011, following a two month refurbishment after an events venue was built next to it.
Val Morgan holds the advertising rights to virtually all advertising screens in Australia and almost all screens in New Zealand. In Australia, this includes the circuits of Hoyts, Greater Union, Village, Birch Carroll & Coyle, Wallis, Reading Cinemas, Australian Multiplex Cinemas, Skycity Cinemas, Regent Cinemas and the majority of independent cinemas.
In addition to on-screen advertising, Val Morgan is involved in such cinema-based advertising opportunities as co-branding, poster boxes, foyer displays and live advertisements. The company also operates about 1000 digital advertising panels in over 200 shopping centres, and the same number of TV screens in over 100 Australian petrol stations.
Through a joint-venture with Motivate Publishing, the Gulf's leading publisher of magazines and books, Val Morgan expanded its operations into the United Arab Emirates, representing the advertising interests of many key cinemas in the region.
In the 1980s and early 1990s, Hoyts operated the local operations of RCA/Columbia Pictures International Video, known as RCA-Columbia Pictures-Hoyts Video.
RCA/Columbia Pictures/Hoyts released approximately 12 new video titles every month. These titles were typically made up of 2 A titles, 2 B titles, 6 C titles (which would have included a "kids" movie and a "classic" movie), and one or two "sell-through" titles. "Sell-through" was the name that was given to the videos that were put on sale to the public via their local video store.
Potentially one of the most successful video titles released by RCA/Columbia Pictures/Hoyts in the late 1980s was the original RoboCop, starring Peter Weller (via an international distribution pact RCA-Columbia had formed with Orion Pictures) .
By the 1990s, it was known as Columbia TriStar Hoyts Home Video, but Hoyts soon dropped out of the venture. Hoyts Distribution releases are distributed on DVD and Blu-ray by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
There were also three imprints the company had: First Release Home Entertainment, which released B-movies, music, Thames Video, and some mainstream releases; Video Box Office, which handled other B-movies, content from HBO in the US, and other mainstream releases; and Magic Window , which handled children's videos (the sub-label was used for the same purpose by RCA-Columbia in North America).
Hoyts also had a joint venture with Polygram, forming Hoyts Polygram Video at the around the same time as their joint venture with RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video. Their only well known release was the film version of New Zealand comic strip Footrot Flats, entitled Footrot Flats: The Dog's Tale.
- "RPT-China's Dalian Wanda buys Australian cinema chain Hoyts". Reuters. 2 June 2015. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
- "St Georges Hall / Hoyts De Luxe / Esquire, Melbourne". Cinema and Audience Research Project. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
- "Private equity firm swallows Hoyts Group". The Age. Melbourne. 24 September 2007.
- Gibson, Nevil (17 March 2010). "Hoyts to buy out Barrie Everard's Berkeley cinemas". National Business Review. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
- Lynch, Jared (23 December 2014). "Hoyts sold to investment firm ID Leisure Ventures". The Sydney Morning Herald. Sydney. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
- Frater, Patrick (2 June 2015). "China's Wanda Buys Australia's Hoyts Multiplex Chain". Variety. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
- Hoyts http://www.Hoyts.com.au/cinemas/Hoyts_lux.aspx. Retrieved 19 April 2018. Missing or empty
- Hoyts Bluewater development
- Showcase Bluewater website
- "History". Val Morgan Cinema Network. Archived from the original on 29 March 2013. Retrieved 20 March 2013.
- "Val Morgan Outdoor". Val Morgan Cinema Network. Archived from the original on 29 March 2013. Retrieved 20 March 2013.