George Street’s cinema strip has undergone many drastic facelifts and overhauls, particularly since 1971, when the Trocadero dance hall was demolished to make room for the Hoyts cinemaplex. In 1983, two more cinemas, the Rapallo and the Paramount, were razed by their owner Greater Union to make way for a more modern moviegoing experience: the Greater Union cineplex above.
By the early 1990s that west side of George Street contained only the big three cinemas: Village, Greater Union and Hoyts. Around 1999, the Village was demolished and all three joined forces in the greatest union of all to form one giant megaplex. The Greater Union above was absorbed by the Hoyts complex and until 2005 operated as a joint venture. Now, Event Cinemas (formerly Greater Union) runs the entire cinema.
When the Greater Union building became a part of the Hoyts complex, the facade was brought into line with the Hoyts look. Today, almost nothing remains of the Greater Union building…
…but if we look in the alley around the back of the buildings, not only is the dated triangular awning still present on the Greater Union building, but even the Hoyts building retains its older style. When the complex became Event Cinemas, an expensive overhaul for the entire George Street face of the building was undertaken. I guess they decided the back alley wasn’t enough of an event.
How does the front of the Greater Union look today?
Big, faceless and grey: just like the rest of George Street.