The Astor Theatre is a cinema in the grand, old manner. The theatre’s proud boast is Fine Films and Atmosphere and it is now the last single screen cinema of its kind in continuous operation in Melbourne, still standing since its grand opening over 75 years ago.
When you walk into The Astor you are transported back to the days when going to the cinema was an EVENT. The cinema was built in the 1930s and still retains the art-deco charm of that period. You are greeted by soft lighting and gentle music – you can relax in the somewhat-overstuffed chairs and enjoy some of The Astor’s famous cake.
The Astor Theatre is a classic, single-screen cinema with stalls and a dress circle – the overall seating capacity of 1,150 is reduced from the original 1,700 – and the magnificent auditorium has the same, soft ambience that you will have enjoyed in the foyers. Beautiful golden curtains cover the screen, which part majestically to begin the evening’s (or matinee’s) entertainment.
There is nothing “old-fashioned” about The Astor’s facilities however. The fully-air-conditioned cinema boasts a state-of-the-art sound system and a giant screen.
Long famous for its presentation of classics, cult favourites and select new releases, The Astor projects a range of mediums including 35mm prints and the now rare 70mm format (over three times the size of 35mm, with glorious detail and clarity). The Astor is also home to the Barco 4K Digital Projector, the highest quality projector of its kind in Australia. When you see a film in 4K (up to four times the industry standard resolution!) or 2K format at The Astor, you are seeing a presentation that is unmatched.
* WHAT IS DCP?*
DCP stands for Digital Cinema Package – the worldwide industry standard file delivery format for cinema digital projection. Universally this is 2K (resolution measure). The files are ‘ingested’ into one of two large servers in the Astor projection room. There is a storage server and a playback server, of about 13 TB (terrabyte) in capacity. The average 2K DCP is about 200GB in file size. 4K is four times the resolution of the industry standard 2K.
Our programming is for a different double feature (yes, a DOUBLE feature – two movies for the price of one!) on most evenings of the week with regular matinees on Sundays. There are also some special, single-feature sessions (many at a reduced price), plus ongoing film maker retrospectives, film collections and festivals.
The Astor Theatre is home to an extraordinary roster of re-released classics in their original 35mm print format (like Casablanca and Some Like It Hot), lush Technicolor restorations (including The Wizard of Oz, Singin’ in the Rain and Rear Window), exquisite 70mm epics (Ben Hur and Vertigo), through to new digital remasters in 2K and 4K format (titles as varied as Dr Strangelove, Taxi Driver and Ghostbusters). Many of these films sit in our archive, a treasure trove of rare prints that we are committed to preserving for future generations.
There are many choices to see a movie out there, but the aim of everybody at The Astor is create a unique and special movie going experience that you will never forget! Remember to enjoy one of our world famous Astor Choc-Ices (and keep an eye out for our resident Theatre cat Marzipan, she’s always looking for a lap to watch the film on)!
The Astor Theatre is an independently run business that presently receives no government funding. The future of Melbourne’s most iconic film house however, remains uncertain. It is our aim to continue to preserve and protect the integrity of the Astor Theatre as integral to Melbourne’s lively film-going community by continuing to do what we do well into the future. To this end, we have set up an incorporated body, the Friends of the Astor Association, whose aims are to preserve and protect our grand old dame from becoming anything other than Melbourne’s most iconic home to cinema-going. If you love what we do, please join FOTAA and our endeavour to preserve and protect our historically, socially and culturally significant cinema culture – before it’s too late.