Visiting Peter Jackson’s amazing cinema in Miramar, Wellington

The other day She Who Must Be Obeyed and I went to have a look at the Roxy Cinema in Miramar, Wellington. It was done up a while back in classic golden-age cinema deco by Peter Jackson and Weta Workshop, among others.

Dr Grordbort golden-age sci-fi frieze on the upper floor.
Dr Grordbort golden-age sci-fi sculpture on the upper floor. I took this photo hand-held, incidentally, and apart from adding copyright info and scaling back for the blog, it’s unedited.
Upper floor atrium with Greg Broadmore artwork - Dr Grordbort himself in action.
Upper floor atrium with Greg Broadmore artwork – Dr Grordbort himself in action.

There is a magic about the cinema that we’ve lost, these days. Except here – where it’s been recaptured with a vengeance. And more. It was like stepping back in time – not just to the magic of the 1940s, but the magic of the 1940s as they never were, a bronze-and-gold world of deco-infused dieselpunk, streamline moderne spaceships and fantastic planet-scapes.

Exterior of the Roxy.
Exterior of the Roxy.

Inevitably, it featured heavy Weta Workshop influence. Not least in the Hobbit Hole entrance leading up to the second floor atrium with its amazing Greg Broadmore ceiling featuring his iconic Dr Grordbort dieselpunk artwork.

And if that wasn’t wow enough, we also found a model of the Wotwot spaceship – and a glass-encased Lego model of the cinema, which was simply extraordinary.

Even the facilities had been finished with full attention to period detail, down to the shape of the handbasins – though it’s unlikely, I suspect, that 1940s cinema bathrooms had hand-movement sensors to turn the water on and off. But maybe, in the dieselpunk alternate world of this cinema, they did.

I had only one thing to say about the whole thing. OMG!

And when can I watch the Dr Phibes movies here?

Copyright © Matthew Wright 2014


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6 thoughts on “Visiting Peter Jackson’s amazing cinema in Miramar, Wellington

  1. That looks like a fascinating place to visit. I love that ceiling painting. I reminds me of the golden age of scifi from the 30s and 40s. The art of the time, like that found on the cover of Astounding, has a particular look to it.

    1. It was a tremendous restoration. Not the first Jackson’s been involved with either, he also backed the re-built Embassy theatre in central Wellington – a 1927 Golden Age edifice in classic style. That was finished in 2003 and I saw Return of the King there at the time. Unfortunately the seats, though re-covered, remained the rather tight and upright variety that 1920s cinema goers were happy with. The cinema originally sported a Wurlitzer, which had been long removed when the restoration was done. It wasn’t returned – but it’s still in the district, at a car museum up the coast. ( – it’s a stunning place, even has Marlene Deitrich’s car in it).

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