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Electric cinema misses biggest crowd of year

Date

Megan Doherty

Palace Electric Cinema's General Manager, Lavanna Neal, in the near completed cinema 4.

Palace Electric Cinema's General Manager, Lavanna Neal, in the near completed cinema 4. Photo: Graham Tidy

Putting aside the disappointment of not being able to open on Boxing Day as advertised, the workers behind Canberra's newest cinema are forging ahead to meet a new deadline of the Australia Day long weekend.

The $5 million Palace Electric Cinema in the new Nishi building at New Acton will not open on Wednesday as planned due to problems that include running out of time for the inspection and certification of its permanent electricity supply,

The delays forced the cinema to cancel a gala premiere of Les Miserables.

No exact date is being given yet for the cinema opening although a spokesman for the chain said most of the infrastructure is in place.

Palace Electric Cinema general manager Lavanna Neal is remaining upbeat, certain the new eight-screen, 800-seat complex will meet a need in Canberra, saying it will suit the well-educated population.

The complex includes the licensed Prosecco Bar, and seats in the cinemas have a small table and wine bottle holder attached. Films will be arthouse and ''left-of-centre'', and some of its silver screens will show 3D films. Other plans include having quiet, acoustic music playing in the bar.

''It's a grown-up environment so you can have your little cheese platter, you can have a great bottle of wine, sit in the cinema for a couple of hours and if you don't finish your bottle of wine, go and sit in the Prosecco Bar,'' Ms Neal said.

The cost of an adult ticket to the cinema will be $18.50. Members of its movie club will pay $13.50.

''These days people always say, 'Why would I pay $18.50 to go to the movies?'. Really, it's $13.50, because most people will become a movie club member,'' she said.

''And you get a great experience. It's not your popcorn-and-soft-drink kind of cinema.''

Although the cinema will sell popcorn, it's the kind that has won a healthy-eating award for using extra virgin olive oil. Ms Neal said the olive oil would be sourced locally, local bakeries would provide goods and local wine would also be sold, including the Clonakilla and Helm labels.

There will also be a babes-in-arms screening for parents with young children on Thursday mornings.

While the cinema will miss showing the Boxing Day blockbusters, it expects to open with films including Quentin Tarantino's western Django Unchained, Steven Spielberg's epic Lincoln and French romantic comedy Paris-Manhattan. The Lavazza Italian Film Festival will also show for a week from February 5.

In the meantime, the cinema is snaked with electrical wires as workers toil to get the lighting finished.

''They're working around the clock to get this stuff done,'' Ms Neal said.

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