Grand Cinemas in administration as coronavirus restrictions have ‘substantial impact’ on finances

Covid claims another casualty: Family-owned cinema chain goes bust as owner blames Mark McGowan’s pandemic restrictions

  • Western Australia’s Grand Cinemas has gone into administration as of yesterday
  • Covid-19 restrictions have had a ‘substantial impact’ on the business financially
  • The company posted on its Facebook yesterday announcing the changes
  • Bunbury, Currambine, and Warwick locations will remain open in the short term

One of Australia’s oldest independent cinema brands has gone into administration after years of Covid restrictions left it struggling to make end’s meet.  

Grand Cinemas, which runs a number of establishments across Western Australia, took to Facebook on Monday to share the ‘difficult news’ and announce administrators had been appointed to the business.

It said the coronavirus pandemic and the associated restrictions had had a ‘substantial impact on the financial health’ of the much-loved theatre chain.

The ‘family-owned and focused’ Grand Theatre Company will be keeping its Bunburry, Currambine and Warwick locations open in the short term, whilst the Joondalup and Armadale theatres screened their final film on Monday night. 

Grand Theatre Company closed two locations yesterday, announcing it was in administration

Todd Stiles (pictured) is the general manager of the Grand Cinemas chain

 Grand Theatre Company closed two locations yesterday, announcing it was in administration

The newly-appointed administrators Ian Francis and Daniel Woodhouse told The West Australian the movie industry had bore the brunt of public health orders and restrictions. 

Mark McGowan (pictured) announced COVID-19 measures across WA last year, with mandatory vaccinations, capacity limits, mask mandates in entertainment venues

Mark McGowan (pictured) announced COVID-19 measures across WA last year, with mandatory vaccinations, capacity limits, mask mandates in entertainment venues

‘Although Western Australia, compared to other Australian jurisdictions, had less length of time subject to health orders or capacity limits, globally the movie industry produced significantly less product over 2020 and 2021 leading to less movies able to be shown in cinemas for many years,’ they said. 

‘Even when movies were made, they were often delayed multiple times in releasing, potentially received less marketing, reduced distribution or were quickly distributed to streaming services.

‘These impacts have contributed to Grand finding itself facing a working capital shortfall.’

Grand Cinemas general manager Todd Stiles told The West Australian in December he believed patrons had an appetite to return to cinemas, but would not do so if subject to restrictions like masks, given they could often watch new movies on streaming services.

The administrators confirmed operations of some of the Grand Cinema locations would stay open whilst they review the financial health of the company and looked at recapitilisation options. 

Grand Cinemas was originally formed as a family business in 1928, launching in the heart of Perth before expanding into the suburbs in the drive-in era. 

The theatre then returned to its roots in the CBD, as a part of the construction of Cinema City opposite the Perth Town Hall, expanding out as a chain into the suburbs. 

Grand Cinemas (pictured) opened in 1928 and remained 'family owned and operated' since

Grand Cinemas (pictured) opened in 1928 and remained ‘family owned and operated’ since 

The Joondalup and Armadale sites closed immediately after the company shared the news

The Joondalup and Armadale sites closed immediately after the company shared the news

It took over the Joondalup and Whitfords City complexes from Great Union in 2003 and added Armadale in 2005.

Outstanding gift cards and member benefits will be honoured at the remaining theatres, the company’s Facebook post said, but the company would not be selling any further memberships at this time. 

Locals shared their shock and disappointment at the news, commenting on the company’s Facebook post that it was ‘absolutely devastating’. 

One commenter shared an inspiring message, saying ‘Come on WA don’t give up on this WA owned business. Get some friends together and go and watch a movie.’

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