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Cinema industry trends
Screens and theatres

Total screens, seating capacity and theatres in Australia, 1980–2021

Next update February 2023

Cinema infrastructure has changed significantly over the last 41 years. The number of theatres has fallen by 38 per cent, while the number of screens has risen by 169 per cent. 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 five screens per theatre.  The number of seats has remained comparitively stable, increasing by just 7 per cent over the same period.

While there are fewer theatres than in the 1980s, and seating has remained relatively unchanged, 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.