Wellington cinema closures hinder school holiday Blockbuster season

Wellington is down nearly 20 cinema screens because of earthquake damage, affecting families wanting to catch movies during school holidays.

Up to 100,000 people lined Wellington streets in 2012 for the world premiere of The Hobbit, Sir Peter Jackson's movie, putting the capital on the world stage.

But last week 10 Reading movie screens were taken out of service when the building was closed due to earthquake risk.

Nine screens were already closed in Lower Hutt after suffering structural damage in the Kaikōura earthquake in 2016.

And this is meant to be Blockbuster season.

"From Boxing Day, it's a busy time for theatres because it's when the big films come out," Roxy Cinema owner and operator Valentina Dias told Newshub.

The closure of Reading comes in the middle of the school holidays, but one cinema-goer says there's one positive outcome.

"The independents, they will have more people, but they will have to go to the suburbs," said cinemagoer Anayibi Loboa.

The manager of Island Bay's Empire Cinemas is hoping to build a new audience.

"It's great for business, it's a chance for independent cinemas like us to shine and show an alternative type of experience," said Nicholas Payne.

But Ms Dias says fewer cinemas "actually doesn't mean any one of us benefit, we need more cinemas."

Movie distributors, who have the rights for films to be played, are left with fewer options.

"It's usually a percentage from each seat, usually 50 percent or more per ticket price goes to the distributor, so for them, they will be wanting locations to put films into, so hopefully these cinemas re-open soon," Ms Dias added.

Reading says its closure is temporary. 

Work on rebuilding cinemas at Queensgate has started, but they won't open until next year.