It has been almost three years since the Greater Union Cinema shut its doors in Wollongong and young people are calling the cinema to be reopened.

The only cinema in the city centre was shut down in March 2020 due to the lack of attendance in the peak of Covid -19.

University of Wollongong student Minh Trinh, 20, said there is still no sign of the cinema reopening.

“A cinema is one of the places that encourages youth to explore more experiences because after the pandemic, a lot of people have become more isolated,” Mr Trinh said.

“I also think it is a good thing to have in the city as it may facilitate a new industry within the regional economy.”

At the time of the closure a Greater Union spokesperson told the Illawarra Mercury that the cinema would close temporarily and that the company was looking forward to reopening it soon, however three years later and it remains shut.

Wollongong City Council is unaware of the continued use of the building in Burelli Street.

A report from Screen Australia in 2022 stated that people ranging from 14 to 24 were most likely to attend the cinema.

“Whenever I go to watch a movie at a cinema, it provides me with a better experience than watching at home,” Mr Trinh said.

The UniMovies founder and president, Peter Castle said that when Covid striked, movie theatres were at risk of shutting down.

“If you go back just after the 2000s, our average audience was 600 and this year it is 50,” Mr Castle said.

“It all relates to popularity because with Covid, cinemas had to be closed but the industry has never recovered.”

Established in 1971, the UniMovies has been fully run by UOW volunteers to offer a variety of movie choices for UOW students at a reasonable price on campus.

“This will provide a safe environment for students to watch films,” Mr Castle said.

University of Wollongong student Ananyalak Kalamek, 19, said that the only way for her to watch movies is to travel all the way to Warrawong or Sydney.

“I think it is really convenient for students that they don’t have to travel anywhere else other than the university to watch movies,” Ms Kalamek said.

The closest cinemas are at Warrawong and Shellharbour, with UOW also screen movies every Wednesday and Friday.

Image: The old Greater Union cinema in Wollongong. Credit: Minh Thieu