Since it was first unveiled in the last days of the nineteenth century, cinema has become a remarkable cultural touchstone and dominant form of mass entertainment. Even today, despite being connected to an infinite store of video content via the small screens in our pockets, we continue to go to the movies in record numbers. How to explain the enduring appeal of this most old-fashioned of art forms?
The answer lies in its power to unify us around a common experience and its ability to stimulate intense feelings. Crying, laughing, and screaming together in the theatre is generally way more intense than what you feel at home alone on the couch, clutching the remote control or fiddling with your phone.
This insight - that life’s best experiences happen are created by people connecting in memorable places - is what drives the Frasers Property approach to creating retail destinations with social souls. It’s not enough these days to assemble a bunch of brands and hope for the best. The environment must do more for visitors and play a larger, more meaningful role in their lives. It must be a meeting place that offers ‘things to do’, rather than just ‘things to buy’, although happily, retailers always benefit when people have a reason to hang out and bond with friends.
We see the inclusion of cinema as a vital component of our retail masterplanning.
The need to get together and share in storytelling is one of the driving forces of humankind. It’s why we carefully consider the shared benefit of retail and entertainment in our centres. And why we work with progressive cinema businesses like Palace, who are actively engaged in recreating the movie-going experience in Australia to something that’s intimate, unique, and an event-to-remember.
Palace Central - the new Palace cineplex in our Central Park Mall centre in Chippendale - opened to the public in November 2017.
Even for a business as groundbreaking as Palace, this 13-screen cineplex breaks even newer ground.
Three of its cinemas will be Platinum-class - where everything is luxe, from the private lounge and bar, to the plush seating, to the personalised in-cinema wait service. In a lovely quid pro quo, the Platinum-class menu (featuring sashimi, atlantic salmon, and black truffle pork dumplings no less) is fulfilled by restaurants in Central Park Mall, which supports the ecosystem of the centre while offering a unique dining experience that can’t be found anywhere else. Even the ‘regular’ Palace cinemas are a cut above - offering cheese boards, charcuterie, and handmade choc tops.
Adding to the ‘cinema-as-event’ approach, Palace have also added a beer hall with 40 local and international beers, a wine wall, and a prosecco bar. Now there’s a place to hang out both before and after a film to discuss and debate the small nuances and big scenes that make movie-going with friends so much fun. Everything adds up to a place that elevates the cinema experience into something special, memorable, and distinct.
I’m immensely proud and excited about the opening of Palace Central. I believe strongly that it will add further social and cultural capital to this award-winning retail destination in Sydney; its inclusion helps Frasers Property deliver on a foundation principle: the creation of memorable places where people can connect and enjoy shared social experiences.
(I’m also pleased to sneak in a mention that the new cineplex delivers on our sustainability principles too, using recycled water to heat and cool the auditoria, helping Palace to yield a much-reduced carbon footprint.)
Beyond the principles of social and environmental sustainability, the inclusion of Palace Central is great for the business sustainability of the Mall too.
By co-locating and intermingling retail, restaurants, bars, and entertainment under one roof, we’re creating a diverse destination that’s attractive to the widest possible visitor catchment area. Retailers benefit from greater footfall and with more to do, see, and experience, the retail-entertainment mix encourages people to get together and linger longer - creating a natural vibrancy that extends well into the evening, as people enjoy a meal, catch a movie, and do a little shopping.
Our goal with Central Park Mall is to create a retail hub with a social soul. A place that brings people together in pursuit of laughter, fun, contemplation, and inspiration. I’m confident that the new Palace cineplex helps us deliver exactly that.
Frasers Property would like to acknowledge our collaborators and inspiration: Palace Central