Taupō movie theatre to close with no suitable alternative building in CBDPosted by On


Peter Smith, owner of Starlight Cinema Taupō for 43 years (centre) with new owners Tammy and Charlie Prince.

Taupō’s only movie theatre is shutting at the end of the month and the operators have yet to secure a viable alternative venue.

Starlight Cinema’s closure has as much to do with a series of unfortunate events and bad timing as financial viability.

The building which houses the theatre and five retail shops, comes up well short of modern earthquake standards and is set to be demolished, as early as next month.

Previous cinema owner Peter Smith had plans for a brand new purpose-built theatre building in Taupō, but then Covid-19 struck and put a halt to proceedings.

In the meantime, with plans for a new theatre in place, landlord Glynn Pointon purchased the building to knock it down and replace it with three shops at ground level and six subterranean shops accessible from a fully enclosed Starlight Arcade.

In May 2022, with plans for a new theatre building shelved, Smith – who had run the cinema for 43 years – sold it to local couple Tammy and Charlie Prince. Charlie said they were fully aware at the time that the lease on the building would be short-lived.

“So it was coming down either way. We were only guaranteed 12 months in here so we got lucky and got an extra nine months. I didn’t pay a lot for the business. I basically bought the equipment and the stock.”

The building that houses Starlight Cinema in Taupō is old, not up to modern earthquake standards and is set to be demolished. Photo / Dan Hutchinson
The building that houses Starlight Cinema in Taupō is old, not up to…

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