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Cinema industry trends
Screens and theatres

Total screens, seating capacity and theatres in Australia, 1980–2023

Next update February 2025

Cinema infrastructure has changed significantly over the last 44 years. The number of theatres has fallen by 35 per cent, while the number of screens has almost tripled. In 1980, the average number of screens per theatre was 1.2, but as the industry transitioned from single screens to multiplexes, that has now increased more than fourfold to 4.9 screens per theatre. 

The introduction of premium seating has seen a gradual decline in the number of seats per screen. In 1980, the average number of seats per screen was 456. In 2023, the average had dropped to 164.

While there are fewer theatres than in the 1980s, the significant rise in the number of screens per theatre, and the transition to digital projection, gives exhibitors greater flexibility in the number and diversity of titles they can screen and the scheduling of those titles.