BUY a packet of dried cuttlefish, turn off the mobile phone and settle down for the latest double-feature action on the widest screen in town, thanks to Hongkong film-maker and distributor, Joe Siu. But this isn't Hongkong - this is downtown Melbourne, where every week more than 5,000 people, 90 per cent of them Chinese, are flocking to the city's new Chinatown Cinema complex. The complex, which opened on March 31, is the latest and largest venture of Joe Siu International Films Ltd's wholly-owned Australian subsidiary, Chinatown Cinemas Pty Ltd. After 25 years of screening Hongkong films in Australia and New Zealand, and with cinemas in Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra, Adelaide, Perth, Auckland and Wellington, Mr Siu paid A$5.5 million (HK$30.5 million) earlier this year to move from the one-screen, rather scruffy cinema on the edge of town he opened 12 years ago, to this new complex in central city Bourke Street. He has paid another A$1 million to fit out its three cinemas, which were stripped bare by the previous owners, local distributors Hoyts. Cinema 1, presently screening the hit All's Well, Ends Well Too, which showed in Hongkong in early March, plus Pantyhose Hero, seats 600, has surround sound and the largest movie screen in Melbourne - perhaps Australia. Cinema 2, showing First Shot, also a March release, plus Once A Thief, seats 350. There will also be a 120-seat art-house cinema, screening non-commercial films and some from China, opening within two months. Winston Leung, overseeing the complex opening for the Siu organisation, says they'll buy 80 movies a year, 99.9 per cent of them Cantonese, at A$10 for a double-feature. ''Every week we show a new film in Cinema 1 and if it goes well we will roll it over to Cinema 2 for a second or third week. Some customers come once or twice a week. Most are students and Saturday and Sunday are our biggest days.'' Hongkong-born Mr Leung, who migrated to Sydney at age 13 and is a Sydney University graduate, said the main street location was designed partly to attract more non-Chinese customers. But, in fact, the number of Chinese customers has grown rapidly, thanksto passing trade. ''It's hard to say whether the numbers will stay at the 5,000 to 6,000 we are getting now. Our target is 4,000 minimum, but we are new now. However, March and April are usually our quietest time as students come back from their holidays in Hongkong wherethey have seen the latest movies,'' he says. ''A lot of people thought the old Lonsdale Street cinema was a bit rundown, not much different to watching videos at home. This new cinema will make a lot of difference.'' Mr Leung has plans to turn the complex and entertainment centre into a laser games arcade. The ground floor shopping arcade will be refurbished and, if the Melbourne City Council approves, the entrance will move from the street front to the arcade centreto lure customers to the shops. He says the Jack Siu organisation, whose latest Hongkong release was Never Ending Summer and which has two new films due out this month, makes about five films a year, with profits from the Australian ventures helping fund them. Leading stars are to be brought to Australia for the complex opening later this year - just who, is not yet final - and promotions will include free Hongkong trips. Mr Leung hopes the luxurious art-house cinema will attract non-Chinese, plus non-Cantonese speaking Chinese who don't appreciate Hongkong's finest. But the complex's profitability rests with Cinemas 1 and 2, which have the capacity to expand seating to 1,350. ''But that's a long way in the future,'' he admits. ''We feel if we don't grow we will fall behind. From my own calculations, we're doing only five to six per cent of the Asian population, so we are trying to create demand rather than respond to it.'' ''A lot of people from Asia are a bit homesick, a movie brings back memories. And they catch up with what's happening at home.'' The cinemas screen a total of five double-features a day and are open from 1.30pm to 1.30am. The dynamic and enthusiastic Mr Leung, who lives in an inner city apartment, works from 10am to 2am and says he's a genuine movie buff. His hobby on his days offproves it: he goes to the movies.