Film-lover lives on in new theatre

19:00, Jan 21 2013

Rodney Cook's influence in Christchurch's cinema industry will continue despite his death with the opening of a new Academy theatre.

The 64-year-old died last Thursday after a battle with cancer.

Cook, who emigrated from England to Christchurch when he was 14, had an apprenticeship as a shoe designer but was always passionate about films.

He worked as a shoe designer and in theatres for several years until he was laid off from his designing job in 1996. That year he bought the Academy cinemas.

Son-in-law Charlie Loughnan described Cook as hardworking, dedicated and passionate. "They worked really hard to build it up to being a successful enterprise. He really knew his stuff."

He said people would often turn up to the cinemas without knowing what was on as Cook had the knack for picking great films.


Cook lost the Metro Gold cinema near Cathedral Square in the February 2011 earthquake and was evicted from the Academy and Cloisters cinemas at the Christchurch Arts Centre which was damaged in the quakes.

Loughnan said Cook was desperate to get cinemas running again after the quakes.

At the time of his death he was in the process of opening an Academy cinema in The Colombo shopping mall.

Loughnan said Cook's wife, Annette, and his two sons, Darren and Glenn, would forge ahead with plans to open the cinema as they were all involved in the business.

As Cook's health declined, Loughnan would be shown pictures and design ideas on the computer to get his input.

Loughnan said Cook's input would be noticeable in the new theatre.

Nick Perry, of Alice in Videoland, said Cook had been integral to the Christchurch and New Zealand film scenes.

"He could sniff out a good film from a mile away."

Cook is survived by his wife, three children, six grandchildren, his mother and two brothers.

The Press