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First look inside Hoyts Cronulla ahead of next week's opening

Sutherland Shire movie-goers are in for a new level of cinema experience when Hoyts Cronulla opens next week after a $5 million refurbishment.

Features include comfortable, powered reclining seats, each costing $4000, and a licensed bar and lounge where patrons can enjoy a drink, light meal and a chat in a relaxed, classy environment.

Another attraction is a display of the Jack Eden Surfabout Collection of surfboards from the '50s and '60s, made by iconic names such Brian "Jacko" Jackson, Bill Wallace, Scott Dillon and Gordon Woods.

The valuable collection was donated to Surfing Sutherland Shire on condition they be displayed in a fitting way, and Hoyts has done them justice.

A small group of media and "local influencers", who were given the first tour of the completed cinema project on Friday, came away extremely impressed.

Advance screenings will be held for Hoyts Reward members on Tuesday November 24 before the complex is opened to the general public two days later.

An official "Grand Opening" will be held on Tuesday December 1.

Tickets go on sale on Monday.

Chief executive Damian Keogh, who led the inspection, was buoyed by a call he received on Friday morning from Village Roadshow, advising one of the year's biggest blockbusters, Wonder Woman 1984, will be released on Boxing Day.

"This is great news for us because it's been a very frustrating time during Covid, with Hollywood movies held back and some have gone to streaming," he said.

The refurbishment of the six-screen Cronulla Cinema has been a "passion project" for Mr Keogh, a Cronulla resident, and the head of property and development Tyrone Dodds, of Caringbah South.

Mr Keogh said, "It has come up even better than we could have imagined".

"It will provide a whole new cinema experience for everyone, from the kids who come here when they are two or three to people as old as 90".

Mr Keogh said the experience started with the interactive Treat City candy bar, which would be exciting for children - "like visiting a theme park or a bit of Willy Wonka".

"Then, there is Artie's Bar and Cafe, which is licensed so you can buy beer and wine and whatever and take it in to the cinema if you wish.

"In the lounge area, we have tried to create a warm setting where people, before or after the movie, can dwell, have a drink and chat about the movie in a relaxed, classy environment.

"It will also be a great little area for private functions - rent out one of the small cinemas and have a little private party."

The six cinemas have been completely renovated with new seating, acoustic panelled walls instead of curtains, new projectors, speakers and screens.

Two small cinemas on the bottom level, called the Sapphire Lounge and Velvet Lounge, have new double or single lounge seats with footstools, while the four larger upstairs cinemas all have reclining seats.

There are 426 seats in total, of which 370 are recliners, at a standard ticket price.

Mr Keogh said programming would be curated to serve the community.

"We will be showing surf movies, classics, we might play Sharks away games, old sporting stuff," he said.

Mr Keogh said prices would include off-peak discounts and very affordable tickets for seniors.

"I think we will be cheaper than Miranda [Event Cinemas]," he said.

"I think our biggest problem is that we might not be able to meet the demand at peak times, but there will be a lot of chances for people off-peak."

Mr Keogh said the cinemas would operate under the four square metre Covid rule, which meant about 50 per cent of seats would be available.

"If you book a seat, you can sit with your family or friends but there will be seats left either side of you," he said.

Mr Dodds said Covid had presented some "interesting challenges, particularly getting items from overseas".

"The reclining seats came from the UK and we had some issues getting them in," he said.

"They are very good quality seats, costing about $4000 each.

"We travelled to London to look at the concept and fell in love with them and brought them back to Australia."

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