Sydney has its fair share of icons: Bondi Beach; the Sydney Opera House; the Harbour Bridge. But while it might not hold a candle to our fair city’s prettier wonders, the Event Cinemas on George Street can nonetheless be counted as a quintessential Sydney institution. One that will soon be consigned to history to make way for a new tower.
Sure, to the casual observer, this unremarkable outpost of a major cinema chain, flanked by a Hungry Jacks, a Maccas and a Bread Top, may not appear to hold much cultural significance. However, a multiplex has stood on this stretch of street in the heart of the CBD since 1976, making it hallowed ground for Sydney's seasoned film buffs. Countless Sydneysiders have shuffled across this cinema’s sticky floors over the past 44 years, where hearts have been lifted, pulses quickened, tears jerked and laughs LOL’d courtesy of the defining cinematic moments of the past four decades.
It’s also been the de facto home of cinematic premieres in Sydney in recent years, with many a star-studded debut showing gracing its silver screens, and as one of the main hubs for many of the city's film festivals, it's also shown plenty of avant garde, art house, foreign language and experimental flicks.
For the many, many Sydneysiders who have crossed its threshold over the years, it’s a place that holds fond movie memories and enduring nostalgia. The lineage of picture palaces that have stood on George Street is due to be broken with a major redevelopment planned for the site, featuring a 270-metre skyscraper. The $690 million complex will feature a restaurant and bar on the 80th floor, a shopping centre and 507 plush residences. What it won’t feature is overpriced popcorn, chewing-gum marked carpets and seats with cup-holders woefully undersized for today's XXXL buckets of soda. And it’ll be all the poorer for it.