Last December multiplex giant Cineworld acquired the Picturehouse arthouse chain. Now it has been ruled anti-competitive in certain places and they are being forced to sell some of the cinemas. What do you think of this development?

 

 

 

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Cineworld and Picturehouse

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  • Comment number 46. Posted by DenTarthurdent

    on 10 Nov 2013 09:52

    Just saw this in the Torygraph of all places. Now I know that EVERYONE thinks the Competition Commission is wrong:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/film-blog/10433044/Arthouse-cinemas-are-facing-the-last-picture-show.html

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  • Comment number 45. Posted by Rosko

    on 23 Oct 2013 16:50

    Strange that the competition commission can't do anything about the price-fixing cartel that runs the energy companies yet seems to think it can delve into the the subtle factors which effect cinema attendance at opposite ends of the country. As already stated, how can two cinemas which show completely different sets of films be used to create a monopoly for the sale of a particular product. That's like saying that a shoe-shop can't be owned by the same person as a hat-shop in the same town because they might collaborate and sell and hats and shoes that are the same colour. The consequence is obviously likely to be closure of these Picturehouse cinemas and if the three cinemas mentioned do not have a large turn-over, I doubt very much that Cineworld will have any major complaints. For me, independent cinema is not defined by where it is shown, but rather by who makes the films and where their backing comes from and there is a war on this type of cinema via the distribution network, a network which is owned by the same people regardless of cinema chain. Independent cinemas therefore, are cinemas which do not entirely comply with this distribution system, regardless of who actually owns the building and pays the staff. Film festivals are a good example of independent cinema. The competition commission should be looking at issues like this, issues that actually effect the choice of product and price, rather than interfering in ownership issues which are not directly related to how the cinema is run. What they have done instead is like the equivalent of trying to reduce oil prices by forcing Esso to sell one of it's garages to a local businessman. Not exactly realistic.

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  • Comment number 44. Posted by Thomas Murrow

    on 23 Oct 2013 16:22

    Bury St Edmunds is my hometown and is also the place where I currently live. I am a massive movie fan and have been going to the cinema since I was very young, the very first film I ever saw at the cinema was Toy Story when I was only 3. I'm a recent university graduate and I decided to live at home whilst I was studying for my degree so having two cinemas in the town has been great for me in these last few years. I would say I am a fairly open minded cinema goer and I am up for seeing any genre of film, which is why I really like having both the Abbeygate Picturehouse and the Cineworld cinema. The Abbeygate Picturehouse has thrived under the ownership of the Picturehouse chain and I have enjoyed many different aspects of the cinema such as their new cafe, the free Slackers Club screenings they do for students and showings of smaller films that you wouldn't necessarily see at Cineworld. I also really enjoy the services of the Cineworld cinema as I own an Unlimited Card and I also like that Cineworld has just started to have unique screenings such as movie marathons, live theatre broadcasts, re-releases of old films and midnight screenings. I also feel that people can be a little bit snobbish when it comes to Cineworld when in actual fact they do provide a great service.

    As an ex-business student, I can understand why the competition commission has taken the action to sell off these few cinemas but I can't help but feel disappointed by the news of the Abbeygate Picturehouse. In the past the Abbeygate Picturehouse was the only cinema in town and been under the ownership of other chains which put my family off from going there and instead we used to go out of town to see new releases. Since Cineworld arrived and "the little cinema" became the Abbeygate Picturehouse the town has been provided with a great variety of films and being under the ownership of the Picturehouse chain has turned the Abbeygate Picturehouse into a wonderful little cinema. It's a real shame that the competition commission can not see that these two great cinemas offer a unique service from one another but with any luck the Abbeygate Picturehouse will be brought by another chain who will respect the way both the way the Picturehouse operates and the audience this cinema attracts.

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  • Comment number 43. Posted by youngian

    on 18 Oct 2013 16:48

    Picturehouse does show mainstream pictures it thinks its regulars will like. I saw Skyfall and Alan Partridge film at the Cambridge Picturehouse and judging by the large audiences they are good bread and butter income for Picturehouse to take chances on interesting features.
    But if these features take audiences away from Cine multiplexes aren't Picturehouse in danger of having an important revenue stream cut? Not only that but there could be a situation for the same reason that Cine doesn't want Picturehouse expansion.
    The staff that made up Picturehouse cinemas were doing a fine job before Cine bought them so I don't see why they can't again.

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  • Comment number 42. Posted by markofcain

    on 15 Oct 2013 10:36

    Having visited a handful of Multiplex cinemas on rare occasions,Cineworld included,it is becoming more evident that slowly but surely a growing emphasis is to morph into "Costco/Cinema"
    Outrageous prices,attached to all products,food and drinks,and other sales pitches that are evolving in the foyer,such as dvd's and miniture arcades catering for an X-Box experience give the impression your in a superstore,not a Cinema foyer.
    These are the traits of an experience i have never warmed to,i know your not forced to buy these products,which i don't,i go to Home&Bargain first,but what it smacks of,is corporate greed,but if supply is meeting demand,then from the suppliers view point,it's a job well done.
    I am old school,undoubtedly and prefer the intimacy of a less chaotic environment,we have a splendid venue in my home town called F.A.C.T. that provides a good balance of mainstream and minority interest to suit all tastes,but prior to that project arriving there was nothing here on a scale that matched it.You had to go back to the late 70's/early80's when there was an international film club showing foreign language movies at a beautiful heritage site protected building called The Bluecoat in the city centre,but sadly that venture ceased operating,leaving a loyal patronage rudderless.
    Taking my own city into consideration,it irks me no end that,a massive Odeon can be built from scratch in the heart of consumerland Liverpool 1,yet for the best part of,must be getting on for near on 30-35 years three majestic traditional Picture Houses on Lime Street-The Scala,The Futurist and the ABC Lime Street still to this day lie abandoned,it is quite simply scandalous that infrastructures of this beauty and purpose only offer it's outside decor to serve as a bill posters paradise for cheap drinks nights at a local bar.
    My spidey senses are indicating that like what America does,we copy has influenced a jaunt to the cinema,i dread the day when constant talking will happen throughout a viewing and to top it all,the last advert before the main feature will remind all patrons in the auditorium to please kindly"Remember to keep your Mobile phones turned on throughout the Screening"!

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  • Comment number 41. Posted by DenTarthurdent

    on 15 Oct 2013 10:18

    Although my local Picture House is in Greenwich, South East London, I know and love the Picture House on Hatter Street in Bury St. Edmunds. I have been to both Hatter Street (a comfortable sofa with cushions, shared with my Mum during Tinker, Tailor) and the Cineworld in Bury (clean, modern and incredibly uncomfortable seats for Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, also with Mum). To echo the apparently unanimous opinions on this post, there is no competition betweeen the two - Mum and I fit the Picture House audience and not the Cineworld audience.

    The frustrating thing is that Cineworld clearly understands this and the Competition Commission doesn't. You'd expect and hope that it might be the other way around.

    This is also evidenced by the fact that Cineworld is seriously considering shutting the CW cinema in Cambridge and not the Picture House - doubtless a reflection of the rarefied tastes of the audience in that fine place.

    Good luck to all you campaigners. One question for Mark - have you ever asked for comments on this blog which have provoked such an extraordinarily unanimous response?

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  • Comment number 40. Posted by simon gray

    on 14 Oct 2013 21:10

    Apologies for this, though I am not directly commenting upon the Cineworld debacle (- although I wish it had never happened), I have just met Mark at The Cameo Cinema in Edinburgh this eve, and he asked me if I could forward a link to my blog site:

    http://spacemonkireviews.blogspot.co.uk/

    To explain I started in the summer of 2012 at the request of others, and decided I would start by reviewing everything I saw at the cinema, review albums and live performances. This year I have honed this down to new films and live performances. I found it hard to motivate self to write about films I am already substantially familiar with and albums I found too difficult.

    I would be intrigued to hear what Mark thinks, if he has time to have a look - busy man and all. I am prepared to be dammed.

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  • Comment number 39. Posted by Epitome

    on 14 Oct 2013 19:12

    Hi Mark (Liversidge, not Kermode...) - I think you've done a great job with petition (just found your twitter feed, so thanks for posting with your real name!) and I don't think you need to worry about misrepresenting anything at all - everyone really just wants it to remain open! I definitely agree with a multi-pronged approach, but I do fear for the likelihood of the CC changing it's mind - I just worry that there would be too many possible consequences to future investigations that they would shut option of backtracking down. I've dealt with it in the food world, and self-reflection was not one of its dominant characteristics... But, I know literally nothing about the legal situation of CC rulings or appeals, so I could be completely wrong.
    But, I've just worried over last few days that no-one is talking about the choice Cineworld has and how to ensure they make the right one if the CC doesn't budge. Just think it needs to be the next stage of the campaign, in our back pockets if the first stage fails. It looks like you are the right person to voice those concerns to, so I'm glad I found you!
    Thanks for your work on all of it, really appreciated.

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  • Comment number 38. Posted by pxwilliamson

    on 14 Oct 2013 18:25

    The Cinema business has to open up. Too much profit is based around refreshments, and with high ticket prices, we end up with palaces of consumerism and not of art. It is similar to the pub business, where local pubs are squeezed out by big chains who sell us the same plastic nothingness as the multiplexes. I would like to see cinemas become more affordable and open so people will chance their arm with an indie movie they have not heard about. A couple can easily pay £25 for tickets and some refreshments, and are channeled to the mediocre safe choices. Personally, I think the venues will need to diversify, and business models change. I would like to see independents focus on combining with independent coffee houses, making monthly subscriptions, etc. I would never get value from the a cineworld subscription, but put on a load of World/Indie cinema and I would be interested

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  • Comment number 37. Posted by Russ

    on 14 Oct 2013 14:53

    I live in Aberdeen and I am horrified that The Belmont may close. As others have said, Cineworld now own 3 of the 4 main cinemas in town, and if any should close due to competition then it should be the last Cineworld to open which was another multiplex: a carbon copy of the other multiplex owned by CW. The Belmont isn't vaguely in competition to the multiplexes, it offers very different viewing to the usual fare (as well as the occasional blockbuster), and it is really a film lovers cinema run by people who love film. The staff are always friendly, and more importantly stay in the job so we as punters get to know them. If The Belmont closes it will be a sad sad day for art in Aberdeen.

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