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A Huge New Openair Cinema with a Three-Storey-High Screen Is Coming to Howard Smith Wharves

A long-time favourite in Sydney, Westpac OpenAir is making its Brisbane debut.
By Sarah Ward
March 11, 2020
By Sarah Ward
March 11, 2020

UPDATE: MARCH 14, 2020 — Organisers have announced that Westpac OpenAir will no longer go ahead in Brisbane in April "in line with the advice of Australia's Chief Medical Officer and Prime Minister to cancel non-essential gatherings of 500-plus people". It will be rescheduled to a later date this year " the near future when current health concerns have passed".

To find out more about the status of COVID-19 in Australia and how to protect yourself, head to the Australian Government Department of Health's website.


Perched right by the river, boasting views of the Story Bridge and CBD, and filled with plenty of grass, the Howard Smith Wharves precinct lawn was always going to become one of Brisbane's go-to hangouts. Picnics, parties and beer festivals have all popped up there, plus exercise sessions, too — and, come April, so will the city's newest openair cinema.

Already a favourite in Sydney for two decades — and running in Zurich, Basel, Rio, Sao Paulo, Lisbon, Madrid and Okinawa over the past 30 years as well — Westpac OpenAir is finally making the leap to Brissie. Between Sunday, April 5–Sunday, April 26, it'll screen 22 nights of movies on one mighty big screen and with one helluva backdrop.

The screen is as much an attraction as what it'll be playing. Measuring 170 square metres, it'll reach three storeys high. And, it'll be set against the river, so the city's skyline will form quite the striking background — so if whatever flick you're watching doesn't do it for you, you can always marvel at the surrounding sights.

That said, OpenAir's film lineup boasts plenty of exciting titles. Kicking things off is the Keira Knightley-starring Misbehaviour, about the 1970 Miss World competition in Britain, while, at the other end of the season, Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan will eat their way around yet another country in The Trip to Greece. Both flicks will screen before they hit regular cinemas, too — as will Coogan's other new movie, satire Greed, plus Australian music biopic I Am Woman.

For those fond of catching classics under the stars, Pretty Woman and Dirty Dancing are both on the bill, as is an ANZAC Day session of Gallipoli.

Otherwise, Brisbane cinephiles can catch up with the likes of The Invisible Man, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker on OpenAir's spectacular screen — or Little Women, Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), Jojo Rabbit and A Quiet Place Part II.

Food trucks will also be onsite from 5pm each night and, if you're looking for some pre-movie dinner, Felons Brewing Co, Greca, Stanley, Yoko, Ciao Papi and Betty's Burgers are right next door.

Westpac OpenAir's debut Brisbane season runs from Sunday, April 5–Sunday, April 26 at Howard Smith Wharves, 5 Boundary Street, Brisbane City. For further details — and to buy tickets from 9am on Monday, March 23 — visit the cinema website.

Published on March 11, 2020 by Sarah Ward

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