Auckland’s cinematic gems go above and beyond the mainstream expectations. With a fine selection of film theatres for art house aficionados and curious movie buffs to cherish, anyone who visits New Zealand’s largest city will be spoiled for choice when it’s time to find the next set of flicks to put on their watchlist. Here’s a peek at some of the best alternative cinemas in the area.
The Academy Cinemas is an underground theatre in every literal sense. There’s a set of stairs right next door to the Auckland Public Library on Lorne Street that will take you to this art house movie mecca. Inside, you’ll be welcomed by a cosy venue with a boutique 16-seat cinema and a larger-sized theatre for major screenings. Wednesdays are five-dollar ticket nights and the cinema hosts a number of special documentary showcases and events thoughout the year.
Located in the inner city suburb of Epsom, Lido Cinema is as true to art house conventions as it gets. You can catch a small selection of mainstream flicks, but the focus is definitely on the lesser-known films that we should be talking about. The cinema’s classic atmosphere, a lavish waiting lounge, La-Z-Boy-type seating and generous screen sizes also make for a memorable movie-watching experience.
Howick’s historic Monterey Cinemas has been marvelling its patrons since 1929. It was originally called La Scala Theatre before re-branding as The Monterey in 1930. These days, the homey suburban theatre is renowned for hosting a trove of special screenings as well as showcasing a nice variety of blockbusters and international films. There’s also a cafe on-site if you want some hot food to complement your spectator experience.
Out of all of Auckland’s art house cinemas, Rialto Newmarket is the biggest — boasting seven massive theatres with plenty of luxurious seating. Naturally, this chic Newmarket venue also comes with an extensive movie list. Regular promotions include Ladies’ Film Nights, a series of advanced screenings and its famous Films for Foodies sessions.
If you’re on your way to Devonport, this iconic theatre is not to be missed. The Vic is more than just a boutique cinema, it’s also a place that prides itself on its live performances and community-driven events. Music, comedy — anything goes! Visiting film buffs will be treated with a blend of art house must-sees, mainstream hits, documentaries and the occasional classic.
Waiheke Island is most famous for its vineyards, but it’s also home to a thriving artistic community. For those who love their moving pictures, the Waiheke Island Community Cinema has earned a reputation for bringing forth a variety of cinematic greats and a wonderful assortment of international films. What makes this theatre unique, though, is the fact that every screening is accompanied by a short documentary feature made by local filmmakers with full funding from the Cinema Trust, a testament to this venue’s enduring community spirit.