The historic HM Prison Pentridge is set to become the latest home for movie-lovers in Melbourne, as it will reopen as a cinema in December, just in time for Christmas.

The prison was first established in 1851 in the northern Melbourne suburb of Coburg, and it replaced the Melbourne Gaol as the main remand and reception prison for the metropolitan area. It officially closed in 1997, and a number of its heritage buildings are protected in the Victorian Heritage Register and are being integrated into a new community precinct.

A render of the interior of Pentridge Cinema in Melbourne
The cinema is due to open in December © Palace Cinemas

The Pentridge restoration project built within the historic site includes contemporary architecture and engaging public spaces, including a 6500-square-meter piazza. It will transition into a community inclusive space that champions adaptive reuse architecture, as well as the iconic heritage aspects that feature stories from the former prison.

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The 15-screen Pentridge Cinema is presented by Palace Cinemas and will hold up to 1100 guests across its auditoriums. It will have fully-reclining seats and Dolby Atmos surround sound, and will open with a full slate of new release films, including Death On The Nile, Coming 2 America, Free Guy & Wonder Woman 1984 along with family-friendly favorites such as Peter Rabbit 2, Connected and Soul.

The exterior of Pentridge Cinema in Melbourne
The cinema will have 15 auditoriums © Palace Cinemas

When the cinema opens in December, there will be safety procedures in place to keep moviegoers protected from COVID-19. These include checkerboard seating allocation, allowing friends and family to sit together in groups of two while being physically distanced from other cinema-goers. Pentridge Cinema will stagger session times to avoid unnecessary congestion in foyers, provide hand-sanitiser stations at cinema entrances and points of sale, and offer contactless payment and online and phone booking.

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“Cinema is a window to see the magic of the world, a safe place where communities meet for shared powerful experiences that move them to laughter, thrills and tears," says Benjamin Zeccola, Palace Cinemas CEO. “More Australians go to the movies than any other venue or event, reminding us how vital cinema is to our way of life and we can’t wait to open the newest edition to the Palace Cinemas family - Pentridge Cinemas.” Further information is available on the website here.

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