Jon is the location manager at Hoyts, which doesn’t mean he goes scouting around for great places to shoot a film.
“I pretty much oversee all site operations, so I run this building and the cinema down the road,” he explains.
He’s been with Hoyts for almost 14 years, starting at Chatswood Mandarin, then moving to Chatswood Westfield, Warringah Mall, Eastgardens and finally EQ. So is he happy at Hoyts?
“Yeah, I love it!”
A typical day for Jon begins with opening up the building.
“It’s across three levels so it takes a bit of time to do that.”
There’s more to his job than that, though.
“Marketing is a big focus of my job… reaching out to all our local partners, businesses and nurturing those relationships, and then just reviewing business results as well. Just seeing where we’ve been and where we’re going.”
Jon says a surprising number of people come to the cinema during the day.
“Well, more than you think. When we’ve got a big film like Tenet that’s just opened, we actually get quite a number of people coming through….School holidays can double or triple your business overnight.”
Hoyts EQ is not like the cinemas in a big shopping mall, where people might go and see a film on impulse.
“With Entertainment Quarter, it’s a chosen destination – people specifically choose to come here,” explains Jon. There are a lot of older people who prefer to come during the day and a lots of regulars.
“And you really get to know them as they come through each day. Some of them will come through daily to see films, or one film a week. And they’re great people to get to know.”
The building itself is unique. Built in the Art Deco style and retaining much of its grandeur and many original features even after a major renovation recently.
“We did a $10m investment in the site which finished last year,” says Joh. “We pretty much just re-imagined the building all over. So we put recliners into every cinema, we launched new cinema experiences, so we brought out the D-BOX, which is the motion recliner seats, converted three of our cinemas over to Xtreme screens, which is giant screens, surround sound. And we launched Australia’s first Onyx screen which is the Samsung Onyx – it’s a high definition LED screen which completely changes our usual process of screening movies – it’s not rear projection it’s actually done from the front of the cinema now.”
They also added Treat City, which is an immersive confectionary experience, and there’s a Baskin & Robbins at the front of the theatre. Unlike the olden days, you can now bring hot food and alcohol (they’re fully licensed) into the cinemas.
Hoyts EQ is a popular choice for big film premiers, and Jon’s been involved in a few.
“So the biggest one that I’ve worked on so far was for Avengers when that came out. They just pretty much hired out the entire building. We had 650 people throughout the entire building, red carpet arrival, high calibre talent coming to see the film.”
Has he met anyone really famous?
“Kevin Hart recently, he was really great. And Tiffany Haddish. They were really lovely. They were here for The Secret Life Of Pets premier and we got to deal with them, they were fantastic.”
Interesting fact: the cinema used to be owned by Kerry Packer.
“Studio 12 is actually a smaller theatrette that we have. When we first opened we were owned by the Packers and that was [Kerry’s] private cinema.”
Jon admits to being a bit of a tech geek. When he’s not working he likes to wrap his brain around tricky tech dilemmas.
“I’m into anything I can do at home or outside or even going to friend’s places and setting up anything technology related – smart house, smart lighting, iPhones, iPads. I always tinker.”
His immediate goal is to build Hoyts EQ into the must-go-to cinema. He’d love more people to visit the venue and find out what all the fuss is about.
“Come in and experience the site. We’ve invested so much in it and I’d really just love everyone to come and experience it.”