Movie magic in 2022 for Whitianga's Mercury Twin Cinemas new owners

Movie magic in 2022 for Whitianga's Mercury Twin Cinemas new owners

CK Updated
Anne-Maree & Matt McDougall

Popular Mercury Twin Cinemas is a perfect fit for new owners Anne-Maree and Matt McDougall who are avid cinema fans from way back when. I chatted with the McDougall’s about what’s hot in movies for 2022, their vision for the cinema and why going to the flicks is so magic.

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As self-confessed lovers of the cinema Matt and Anne-Maree didn’t hesitate to take the opportunity to purchase the popular Mercury Twin Cinemas based in central Whitianga. They’ll be working closely with experienced staff member Kim Rautao and are looking forward to what will be a busy year ahead for their cinema business.
While Covid 19 seriously delayed the filming and production of movies, 2022 is the year that movies that were in the pipeline will now be released. The McDougall’s are excited that movie fans returning to the cinema for the big screen experience have a raft of blockbusters hitting the screens to anticipate.

The cinema really offers an affordable option for people to share and to just have a great night out. And 2022 is THE year to go to the movies! Over this year cinema goers can expect to be treated to multiple Marvel movie releases, the long-awaited Maverick from the Top Gun series, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Minions, and Jurassic Park sequels to name a few. Honestly, it's almost an embarrassment of riches between now and the end of the year!

Anne-Maree McDougall – owner Mercury Twin Cinemas

Plans for the popular Whitianga cinema

Anne-Maree and Matt have exciting ideas on how they will grow and develop Mercury Twin Cinemas. While the tried-and-true things will remain as is at the cinema, they will introduce new experiences over the coming year. Excellent customer service, affordable movies, and access to the latest release movies at the same time as cinemas elsewhere remain core to what the cinema will always offer.
Giving cinema goers more input about the kind of movies they would like to see is something the McDougall’s will be introducing. Their excellent relationship with distributors gives them access to all the latest release movies for their viewers. There is also an opportunity to request more speciality films or to bring back favourite titles if the public would like these as well.
One thing the pair will introduce soon are “Choose-Days”. From Monday-Thursday evenings groups of 10+ will be able to request a particular movie to be re-screened at the usual cinema pricing. They see this as a perfect opportunity for people who missed a screening to contact the cinema to set up a time to suit, or alternatively for a special private screening for a special occasion like a birthday.

The big screen experience at Mercury Twin Cinemas

People have asked why Anne-Maree and Matt decided to buy the cinema when there is easy access to streaming films at home. They see the simple answer as what is on offer. The experience of viewing blockbusters at the Mercury Twin Cinemas offers a special experience that a television at home does not. Major studios have also committed to exclusive windows for blockbuster movies to be shown at cinemas. And the public are certainly responding as Covid restrictions are relaxing and cinema goers return in large numbers to view films on the big screen first.

A huge appeal of visiting the cinema is that it really shows off the landscape and action scenes, and the massive size of the screen does matter. There are movies that are just better experienced at the cinema. To be immersed in the atmosphere of the big screen, with all the surround sound, and the action! Going to the movies is also about having a collective experience of watching a film with a larger audience. To laugh with others during a movie, to clap, to share the silence and to hear the chatter pre and post movie is pretty special.

Matt McDougall – owner Mercury Twin Cinemas.

Incidentally, the appeal of the candy bar with the time honoured freshly made popcorn, choc dipped ice creams, and options for adults to purchase a wine or beer are a serious complimentary drawcard.

Automation and customer service

In the time they owned it, previous cinema owners Gisella Colquhoun and Glenn Parker completely refurbished the cinema. The old film projection machines were replaced by digital projecters for a much-enhanced viewing experience.
The McDougalls are thankful that the days of changing cinema reels have gone and that the changes Gisella and Glenn made have been a credit to them and has made running the cinema relatively easy. The digital projectorsprovide high quality screenings, and more automation has meant that it takes a lot less staff time to run the films. Via a scheduling system everything is automated from the lights going on and off, the curtains opening and closing, and the timing of the trailers and films showing.

Customer service is a big focus, so apart from the technical aspects we want to focus on the meeting and greeting of cinema goers and have a great variety of food and drinks available to purchase. And of course, there are systems in place to do a thorough clean in between sessions to make sure people are coming into a nice clean cinema each time. So, while there is a certain amount of automation, you can't forget what you're doing because if you don't get these things done in time, those curtains are still going to go up!

Anne-Maree McDougall – owner Mercury Twin Cinemas owner

Six quick fire movie questions

All About Whitianga: What do you like about owning the cinema so far?

AM: Our customers are made up of so many lovely people, arriving with smiles and the anticipation of seeing the movie. It’s a lovely social aspect to the business and it's a nice way to get to know other people in the community. It’s a really joyful business as people are coming in to enjoy themselves.
Matt: The popcorn. 

How has the transition been going from Cinema goer to Cinema owner?

AM: I think my biggest worry is about being careful that we're not choosing films based on what we might like to see!
Matt: My biggest worry is making sure the correct movie is starting at the right time.

What is your favourite movie of all time?

AM: Oh, I really couldn't answer that because it depends! I've got some big favourites. One of my big favourites, which I think we're going to try and re screen is The Princess Bride which is just an all-time classic. And, as you know, we are massive Star War fans.
Matt: Highlander

Favourite actor and/or director?

AM: Ryan Reynolds is a fave at the moment and Taika Waititi - both for their humour.
Matt: Pedro Pascal. His non-verbal acting is just so good.

Is there a ‘type’ of movie or genre that you prefer?

AM: I have a real love of New Zealand, Australian, and Irish movies because I think there's a similar kind of sense of humour. There is something familiar about them that I just appreciate. Whether they are comedies or more serious subjects there is something quite specific to our cultures.
Matt: Sci-fci 

What movie have you watched the most and how many times?

AM: This is a shameful confession - Grease 2. My friends and I watched it many, many times. Princess Bride and The Never ending Story are also right up there.
Matt: Star Wars - A New Hope…uncountable times.

Contact Mercury Twin Cinemas

To see what is on at the movies or to contact the team at Mercury Twin Cinemas click on the link below.

Related Links

Mercury Twin Cinemas

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