Village Roadshow commenced operating in 1954, owning and managing one of the first drive-in cinemas in Australia in the Melbourne suburb of Croydon. From these modest beginnings, the Company gradually expanded its drive-in cinema circuit with the addition of more traditional or "hardtop" cinemas in major population centres. To strengthen its position through business diversification, Village Roadshow entered the vertically related businesses of film distribution in the 1960’s and film production in the 1970’s.
In the eighties Village Roadshow was a pioneer in the development of state of the art multiplex cinema complexes. The Group’s developments raised cinema exhibition standards to new levels by utilising stadium seating, the latest sound systems and advanced projection technologies. These cinemas were the forerunners to the high quality multiplexes that operate in Village Roadshow’s cinemas today.
In the late eighties Village Roadshow’s growth strategy required greater access to capital. This was achieved through a "back door" stock market listing and additional capital raising through the takeover of De Laurentis Entertainment Limited in 1988, which then changed its name to Village Roadshow Limited, still under the majority ownership of the Kirby and Burke families' holding company, Village Roadshow Corporation.
In the nineties, Village Roadshow sought to further strengthen its position by diversifying into complementary media and entertainment businesses. This included the purchase and development of theme parks: initially Wet’n’Wild (originally Cades County) in 1989, then building Warner Bros. Movie World which opened in 1992, the acquisition of Sea World followed later in 1992 and opening Australian Outback Spectacular in 2006.
Also in the nineties Village Roadshow expanded its cinema exhibition business internationally, operating cinemas in up to 20 countries, although now the circuit includes just Australia, Singapore and the USA. Village Roadshow also purchased the Triple M radio network in 1993 and subsequently integrated it to create the Austereo Group. This was a separately listed company on the ASX in which Village Roadshow had a majority shareholding until March 2011.
The company also owns 47.6% of the Los Angeles based entertainment division, Village Roadshow Entertainment Group which includes the Village Roadshow Pictures film production and distribution business, and, from February 2008 to March 2013, the Concord Music Group.
More recently Village Roadshow expanded its Water Parks to the USA with Wet'n'Wild Hawaii, Phoenix and Las Vegas, with Wet'n'Wild Sydney opening in December 2013.
In addition Village Roadshow has pursued Theme Park opporunities in Asia.