Hoyts ‘CineMotion’ theatre at Highpoint

Over the weekend I was digging around the house and came across a voucher from 1997, giving the bearer $1 off a ticket for the Hoyts ‘CineMotion’ motion simulator ride at their Highpoint multiplex. Fifteen years later the cinema still exists, but there is no trace of the ‘CineMotion’ ride – so what was it?

Hoyts CineMotion

A check of the Australian trademark listings shows that Hoyts still owns the ‘CINEMOTION’ name:

CINEMOTION with trademark number 655590 was lodged on 15/03/1995 and has a status of Registered/Protected. The applicant/owner of the trademark is registered as The Hoyts Corporation Pty Ltd (ACN: 006082551)

Originally approved in 1996, ten years later they successfully renewed the mark, despite the lack of usage.

As for the cinema at Highpoint, this press release from March 25, 1996 has the following to say:

Melbourne, Australia’s Highpoint cinema complex, operated by Hoyts Corp., will house the country’s first Iwerks TurboRide attraction if a deal announced by Burbank, Calif.-based Iwerks and Sydney, Australia-based Hoyts is finalized as expected in the coming weeks.

The $1 million, 32-seat attraction will be the first of as many as 10 “Cinemotion” entertainment centers to be developed by Hoyts in existing and yet-to-be-developed cinema complexes.

The center in the Highpoint mall will contain 12 traditional cinemas, interactive and virtual attractions, and a movie-themed food and beverage concession and merchandise boutique.

And the Iwerks ‘TurboRide’ technology? This press release from March 6, 1996 gives further details:

The first Iwerks TurboRide installation will be located in the first stage of the recently announced redevelopment of the Highpoint cinema complex in Melbourne, Australia. The new development will feature an additional two cinemas as well as the Iwerks TurboRide incorporated into the “Cinemotion” entertainment center. Scheduled for completion in July, Hoyts Highpoint will be the country’s largest trading cinema complex.

The Hoyts/Iwerks 32-seat TurboRide will feature the revolutionary Iwerks Quatro (IQ)(TM) 70mm reversing projection technology, designed by Iwerks co-founder Don Iwerks, to create maximum visual impact in small-to-mid-sized theatres.

The Iwerks TurboRide theatre is the best-selling ride simulation attraction in the world; the company believes that its 114 installed or contracted theatres account for a wide majority of the world market. The Iwerks TurboRide provides a high-tech multi-sensory experience for patrons via high tech motion seats that move in synchronization with five-minute ride simulation films which feature real-life or fantasy experiences.

Films are created in the company’s large format 70mm process to provide images six times larger than conventional movie images, with greater clarity and color saturation. The theatres feature advanced 7-channel sound systems to further envelop the guest’s senses and create an experience unparalleled in the scope of everyday life.

The Iwerks 36-title TurboRide film library is the world’s largest and features titles such as “Aliens(TM): Ride at the Speed of Fright” based on the blockbuster Twentieth Century Fox motion picture, “Days of Thunder” based on the Paramount Pictures release, “RoboCop(R): The Ride,” and Iwerks’ own titles such as “Dino Island,” a computer-generated Jurassic-era adventure romp, and the Alpha One Cowboy series.

Looking up those film titles on IMDB reveals that they can hardly be called ‘feature length’ – the entry for ‘Aliens: Ride at the Speed of Fright‘ says it only ran for four minutes – definite amusement park fare.

So did Hoyts ever build any more Cinemotion rides in Australia? And what happened to the ride at Highpoint?

Car park down on the former quarry floor

On both topics Google doesn’t bring up anything relevant, but I’m guessing that the ride at Highpoint must have been removed by the early 2000s – possibly when the neighbouring shopping arcades were refurbished. Today Hoyts operates a ‘Digital’ IMAX screen at the site, but that is a story for another day.

As for the maker of the ‘Cinemotion’ motion simulator, Iwerks, in 2002 they merged with a company called SimEX and began trading under the name SimEx-Iwerks.


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11 Responses to “Hoyts ‘CineMotion’ theatre at Highpoint”

  1. Gilbo says:

    The Cinemotion screens usually rotated through four different Iwerks movies, each with variable lengths but I think the longest lasted about half an hour. I suppose you wouldn’t really want your seat shaking and moving about for anything longer than that without getting sick. 🙂

    The Cinemotion section was replaced in around 2002-2003 with the Director’s Suite screens and associated bar area.

    • Marcus says:

      Thanks for that extra info regarding the closing date Gilbo! I reckon you’re onto something regarding a feature length motion simulator ride – it would be quite the endurance test.

  2. enno says:

    Thats a good question. I do recall that 1996 was the heyday of hype for a new generation of amusement rides. There was one, which was a virtual roller coaster that didn’t actually go anywhere, and another one where you were supposed to control some kind of hovercraft in a horizontal mine-shaft on Mars.

    • Marcus says:

      Those kinds of rides ring a bell – I remember when the ‘Timezone’ arcade in Geelong introduced one of them: it was only big enough for four passengers and they charged $$$ for a ride in it.

  3. Andrew says:

    Sounds rather like a carnival ride that used to around, maybe still are. They were quite exciting.

  4. Jack says:

    A look at the Highpoint website on the Wayback Machine gave me this:
    “Highpoint’s unique entertainment level is the perfect venue every member of the family will enjoy with Hoyts Megaplex cinemas, Playtime games arcade, Pokies Plus gaming and wagering venue, the Desert Sands skilled miniature golf course, carnival rides and of course, taste tempting foods from around the world.” (c.2000)

    No mention of a Cinemotion ride, and I myself have no memory of it. Maybe asking someone who works/used to work at Highpoint might give some answers?

  5. Tim says:

    There’s one in the CBD now called 4D cinema that was covered on Crikey:

    I can also remember there was a Mechwarrior full scale simulator setup at the Jam Factory in the 90s also.

    • Marcus says:

      That 4D cinema sounds like the ones I found in Sochi during my recent visit to Russia. Along the waterfront there was everything from ‘3D’ up to ‘9D’ cinemas touting for tourists!

  6. Claire says:

    I worked as a projectionist at Knifepoint from about 2001-2004. Cinemotion had already finished and the Director’s Suite was just opening up.
    Happy to field questions in regards to that period!

  7. Cous says:

    Hey there Marcus,
    I remember experiencing Cinemotion sometime in 96 or 97, was about 10 years old. The theatre had about several rows of seats and they shook and swivelled around like crazy. At least, that’s what I thought as a little kid.I was taken to see something about the Bermuda Triangle so you can already imagine. And yes! I very well remember the mini golf course that had a mini train track that went around it! Cool 90’s decor and teens wearing baggy Rusta Colours jeans (any colour you could dream of!). And in the very late 90’s and early 2000’s there was a CD shop called Sanity(the highpoint Sanity store had a connecting section called Dance Arena specialising in dance, electro and hip-hop music, turn-tables etc). Also, if I’m not mistaken, you know the elevator with the spiraling staircase in front of Myers? I think that was just one big spiraling ramp before it got renovated long ago.
    I just thought I’d add my little bit of insight:)

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