Port Moresby to finally get Cinemas…again

If you’re now in your early 20’s then most of you will probably have never heard that we once had a cinema and a drive in theatre in Port Moresby.

The complex was opened around the 1960’s and is currently where Ford Motors is now located along that Wards strip. So you had the indoor Wards Cinema and the outdoor drive in Skyline. It was fun, it was exciting and I watched all the classics there like Superman PartIV, Jaws and Bobby Tear Drops. Back then Uncle Bernard had a small white suzuki bus which my cousins and siblings used to all pile into for the trip to the movies on friday nights.  

The drive in was pretty cool, so we’d put a mattress on the floor of the bus and we’d lie there with the huge speakers that you could hook onto your car doors and then we’d munch away on hot chips in paper cups with tomato sauce smothered all over the chips.

Then something weird happened and as I recall it when the government started the first TV station National Televsion Network (NTN) in the 1980’s everyone suddenly felt that we didn’t have to go to the movies anymore because now we could get our video fix free of charge right in our living rooms. Well that was silly???!!

Whether the story is true or not, I’m not sure because I don’t have any market research at hand but more than 20 years later, it appears that we may be getting our cinema’s again. HIP HIP HOOORAYYEEEE!!!!!!!!!

The new cinema will be a joint collaboration of CPL Group, PNG FM Limited and Damodar Group from Fiji. There will be 2 standard theatres with seating capacity of 210 for Theatre 1 and 180 seats for Theatre 2. But the third theatre will be for Gold Class members, with a seating capacity of 100 people.

Speaking at the media launch held recently, CPL Group Chairman Mr. Mahesh Patel said, “We will install the most advanced digital equipment at the Paradise Cinema. We have started testing the equipment and are busy training the staff. With its digital aspect from Dolby Digital Sound, one can view a film in crystal clear, near to perfect quality and with the best sound system.”


COMMUNICATIONS Fiji Limited announced yesterday that Papua New Guinea-based subsidiary PNG FM Limited will partner with Damodar Brothers (Films) Fiji Ltd to set up PNG’s first cinema multiplex.

Operating out of Vision City Mega Mall, the biggest shopping complex in the South Pacific, the three cinema complex will set the benchmark for entertainment in the country.

CFL has also taken up a 33.3 per cent stake in Paradise Cinemas the entertainment management firm that will own and operate the multiplex.

“Word of the multiplex has spread and excitement is high in Port Moresby as this is the first complex of its kind and there are not a lot of other family-based entertainment options in Port Moresby.”

“We have been looking for opportunities to develop a multiplex in Papua New Guinea for some time with our partners and the new Vision City complex provides us with the perfect venue.”

“As this is the first of its kind in PNG, forecasting returns is difficult but early feasibility work is very positive. CFM will also be looking to expand its newly-established Cinema Advertising arm CFL CinemADs to PNG in support of this venture”, said CFL managing director William Parkinson.

Work on the project has begun and first screenings at the cinemas are scheduled for mid this year.

Details on the investment and projected returns will be provided closer to the opening.

Image from http://michie.net/pnginfo/drivein.html



15 thoughts on “Port Moresby to finally get Cinemas…again

  1. We enjoyed the Drive-in with our kids in the 70s. Lots of couples enjoyed it for other activities, too, I was told.

    I remember going to Papuan Theatre [Cinema] opposite POM Police Stn, when staying at Papua Hotel next door for a course or something in the 60s, while living in the Sepik, I think, or maybe Rabaul. I saw the never-forgotten Jane Fonda doing her weightless strip in space. Don’t remember anything else about the movie.

    Have been to a few multiplexes in different places in Au. My impression is that there is a lot of investment for small audiences, except for the occasional block-buster movie. I saw one in Melbourne in January with only 20-25% seat occupancy

    1. LOL …but in terms of return on investment I think you’ll see higher seat occupancy rates in Port Moresby. Our population has boomed, EMTV Sucks, Kundu2 is still finding themselves, All the American reality shows on Hitron can get brain numbing and I’m tired of buying DVD’s in shops then holding my breath at home in case its a bad pirated copy. Plus finally Mum & Dad can get the kids out of the house on a Friday night.

  2. I remember going to the old wards cinema as a kid to watch the latest James Bond movies. As to why they closed well TV would definitely have hurt its takings as would the evening curfews that were intermittently imposed during the 80’s. There was also quite a capital flight out of PNG at that time as a lot of wealthy expatriates left the country and their spending power took too long to be replaced by a rising class of PNG consumers.

    However as you point out we are currently going through a boom in population and incomes in Port Moresby so this could well be a profitable idea. Television will still be a compelling and cost effective rival though.

    Personally I would be keen to check it out as long as they had decent movies and kept the theatre clean and free of rubbish particularly buai.

    1. Yes, I remember going to the Skyline Drive-In and also Wards Cinema when I was just a kid, gosh – it was lovely to just go out in the night with the family, have some pop corns and watch King Kong and some other movies, cannot vividly recall. However, the city is now in a population boom and to think of it, there are some very crazy people who do not have respect for others, let alone respect for rules set out.

      I just hate the sight of buai spittle everywhere, I hope that PNGeans will take pride and keep the cinemas clean and buai-spittle free. Please we need some tougher meausres on cleanliness in public places.

      Yeah, definitely I would love to take my family out to the cinemas and have a good time – in a clean environment and no crazy nuts inside who do not have regard for others.

  3. It’s high time for this!

    One the reasons this would have become do-able now is new digital distribution platforms. In the past they would have had to be flying extremely expensive high-demand prints in and out every week, the new technology allows much easier distribution of secure digital files. Which is great, it helps gets cinema to more people.

  4. The Fijians are running EMTV, Nau/YumiFM and now our theatres…seems they’ve got a monopoly on our entertainment industry LOL

  5. These days, does LOL mean lots of love [as originally, on bulletin boards] or lots of laughs, or something entirely new? I’m past teens, and have no teens at home. Is there a current glossary? I can use extracts [polite ones] on my radio programs

    regardz .. jaymz

  6. Thanx, Danger. Now you’ve really messed with my brain! Too addictive! 42 pages of ‘lol’ alone. I’ll never be stuck for a small filler in my ‘BookWordz’ radio program with millions of definitions to choose from. In the same vein, have you seen ‘apostrophe abuse’? Marvelous.

    Sorry for the digression, Emmanuel

    regrdz .. jaymz

  7. Nobody goes to movies for the movies.If I wanted to get the latest movies I’ll download them from the internet.

    Its the experience that we go for.

    I think the Fijians are doing a good job.I have a cousin who dropped out of high school and afert doing a certificate in business landed herself a job at City Pharmacy.She in her first month she’s already been sent for some in house training on customer service.

    I don’t care if they are from Mars.Any firm that spends monet to train staff (who are mostly Papua New Guineans) gets my vote.

    Cheers and God Bless


  8. I met the Old couple which used to run the Wards about 15 years ago in Brisbane, and gave them updates, will have to tell them about the latest here! when next travel there, (if they’re still kicking!).

    The house I live in Port Moresby was I believe the TV Clubhouse in the 80’s, and the TE Green co-ax cable was where the cable started from!, had to take all the extra cables off! Obviously Videos & TV was it’s former demise…!

  9. I remember Utz, Livija, Pat and me seeing Casino Royale at the Port Moresby drive-in during 1968.
    Pat and I went to the cinemas in Port Moresby a few times : Bonny and Clyde and The Taming of The Shrew. The sound on the latter was abominable, very hard to follow the dialogue: Boroko from memory.
    We saw Gone with the Wind,among others, at the Port Moresby cinema, in town, also 1968.

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