The Oatmill Cinema opened it’s doors on the 18th of December 1997. The first film to show in Cinema One to the public was “Titanic”, an apt title considering the amount of work involved in creating a first class home for movie entertainment in Mount Gambier. “Titanic” went on to play at the Oatmill Cinema for 21 weeks and over 13,600 people watched Jack and Rose fall in love on the Atlantic ocean and … well, you know the rest…
But like all good stories, the history of the Oatmill Cinema begins well before December 1997, seven years earlier actually, when in September 1990 Landmark Pictures screened it’s first film “King Ralph” at the TAFE theatre on a Friday night at 7pm, to two customers – only one of whom paid (the other now works at the cinema…)
Those early screenings were projected from 16mm film in glorious mono, a presentation that would be totally unacceptable in today’s world of Dolby Digital Surround sound, Digital Cameras and home theatre DVD systems. However, the people of Mount Gambier wanted the same things that the original founders of Landmark Pictures wanted – to experience the magic of the movies on the big screen, anytime. Add in the classic touches of POPCORN, PEPSI and FRUCHOCS, and you have an experience starting to resemble a great night out.
Eventually the old projector was replaced, as was the sound system that almost vibrated out of the wall during the packed “Dances With Wolves” screening. We couldn’t do anything about the seating (sorry), the auditorium was cold in winter and hot in summer (again, sorry), tickets on a busy night were sold out of the cleaning closet and the candy bar was a collection of school desks, but slowly a loyal group of patrons began to build.
This must have been noticed because in 1994 not one but two multiplex cinemas were proposed for Mount Gambier. Fortunately one of the developers was an ex-local businessman and he approached Landmark Pictures to lease the development he was proposing. Sounded great. One court case, countless loan applications (for a very large sums of money) and many council meetings later the site was finally cleared for development and a great big hole dug. It would be another six months before that hole began to look like anything other than a hole. It was then that the local business, Versace Home Builders stepped in and saw the development of the Oatmill Cinema building through to it’s final stages. Actually it all sounds easier than it really was…
Today, the Oatmill Cinema really is home of the movies in Mount Gambier. We have fantastic staff who create a fun and inviting atmosphere, they love the movies and are constantly working to bring a wide variety of films to as many people as possible. We have great screens with superb sound and comfortable seating. Our popcorn is legendary and our choc tops are the best in the business. We’re also part of this community and that’s important to us and hopefully to you as well.
But don’t just take my word on any of this…
I look forward to sharing an experience with you and two hundred other fellow strangers as we share a laugh, a cry, a journey to the next middle earth or galaxy far far away or perhaps Titanic 2…….
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