We’ll be bringing you more on this story, but it was announced on Saturday that the Astor Theatre will screen its last double feature in May 2015 – making it the latest of a stack of classic venues forced to close.
The announcement came with the release of the Astor’s latest schedule:
“The Astor Theatre regretfully announces that this is our second last calendar.
It is with heavy hearts that we make this announcement. In early 2015 the Astor Theatre as you know it will close its doors.
By way of explanation we should clarify the distinct difference and separation between the landlord of the building we lease, Ralamar Nominees Pty Ltd, and the business that you know as The Astor Theatre, our tenancy that, since 1982, created and operates the business within the landlord’s building.
The Astor is so much more than just the bricks and mortar that has become Melbourne’s spiritual home for film. Without a lease renewal, the expert repertory programming we have cultivated for a community of Melbourne moviegoers, and the ‘Astor Experience’ will come to an end. We were offered a lease that would have been financially and operationally crippling, but negotiations failed to resolve the key issues.
We do not know what the landlord has planned for the future of the building, only that we are not included in those plans.
We hope that you can embrace the final leg of our journey after 32 years of memorable movie experiences at The Astor Theatre.”
The Astor specialises in old favourites (it’s one of the few in the country that screens 70mm prints), cult classics and rare releases, but more than that it’s a beautiful Art Deco venue – the sort that’s harder and harder to find. Fortunately, it looks like owner Ralph Taranto has plans to continue to run the Astor as a cinema, even though current operator George Florence could be taking the original projector, screens, carpets and fittings from the building when his lease ends in May 2015.
More updates to come.
The Astor Theatre, 1 Chapel St, St Kilda