The multiplex giant Cineworld acquired the Arthouse group Picturehouse this week. Is this good news or bad?

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  • Comment number 123. Posted by Paul

    on 6 Jan 2013 16:55

    I can see these point are being made separately elsewhere, my selection would be:

    1 - Maximise customer choice, this does not mean using each screen to show the 2D and 3D versions of a film, show a different film on each screen and default to 2D if there is a clash

    2 - Customers rarely want to pay a premium to see a 3D film and wear additional glasses. There is a recession on, the customers don't like it, so develop a programme of surcharge free films

    3 - Do not let the cinema degenerate into people's frontroom, instead provide an environment conducive to film watching rather than another place to use smartphones and make a lot of noise eating your overpriced junk food.

    4 - Support the English and European film industry, we do not have the gun lust or interest in American tropes but we do like films closer to home too

    5 - Take more chances and give a regular slot or a screen to a film that may not be be such a winner on paper.

    6 - Invite a guest to select a month of films and run a promotion to bring together the fans of the theme

    7 - Publish a magazine worth reading or don't bother at all

    8 - Let Cineworld Unlimited owners book online with their friends who are not cardholders.

    9 - Discourage the audience from leaping to their feet the moment their think a film is over, there are often final moments to savour (Argo) or great music to listen to whilst the credits roll. Ask your staff to respect this too and keep the lights off until the last customer stands up.

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  • Comment number 122. Posted by youngian

    on 4 Jan 2013 19:32

    Cineworld could learn to show films that don't appeal to snotty nosed teenagers and can therefore treat adults like adults; allow to them to take a drink into the film, serve decent food and allow people to go to the toilet without having to check your lost chewed up ticket.

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  • Comment number 121. Posted by i_satan

    on 28 Dec 2012 20:07

    Tonight I had a watershed moment. For the first time in my lifetime the price of going to the cinema stopped me seeing a film. I just emailed Vue Cinemas with this (not that it'll do any good) ....

    I've always enjoyed going to the cinema, and would like to go several times a month. Its cheaper to stay at home, sure, but watching a film on TV doesn't compare to watching a good movie at the cinema. Price has never really put me off, until now.

    Tonight I wanted to take my family to see "Life of Pi" in 3D. After pricing up the tickets for the family (2 adults and 2 teenagers) the total was £44. Thats simply too much money for a quick trip to the cinema.

    We went out for meal instead.

    The last few times I've been to my local cinema (Vue in Southport) its like a ghost town. There are very few customers, the place is totally dead. I don't know how much money it makes but I wouldn't be surprised to hear that it is closing due to poor attendances. Its the only cinema in town, so that would be a real shame.

    I am not alone. Many people I speak to say they no longer go to the cinema due to the cost. I would urge you to lower your prices. At the moment you are not competitive

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  • Comment number 120. Posted by Ross

    on 16 Dec 2012 12:01

    "...and you take into account toys & merchandise, TV, cartoons, computer games - hey, even theme parks (Indiana Jones ride at EuroDisney?) - it's very significant indeed."

    True enough, but this is a film blog not one about games, theme parks, toys etc...

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  • Comment number 119. Posted by spektijim

    on 14 Dec 2012 14:20

    I haven't had the privilege (yet) of visitng a picturehouse cinema, however thinking about my local art cinemas compared to big chains there is one word that springs to mind: cleanliness. The state of many multiplex cinemas, particularly the floors, is atrocious. I understand that with such large floorspace it is a big job, but it is important to overall experience of cinema. Maybe they should pay the cleaners more.

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  • Comment number 118. Posted by Lunar_Man

    on 13 Dec 2012 22:19

    The obvious question here is "what is the actual business rationale behind the acquisition?".

    If it's a question of acquiring premises (seems unlikely, given the scale differential), then the statements by both companies are meaningless (given that they're statements of intent, and not legally binding). If it's a question of removing a competitor in a challenging market, then the statements are meaningless also. Both scenarios are bad for the cinema-goer.

    If, however, CineWorld's reaction to the aforementioned challenging market is to branch out into those areas in which it lacks expertise, then it would be reasonable to assume that the statements by both companies are (for the immediate future, at least) accurate.

    If this latter possibility is the case, then it would make a welcome change from slavishly following the studio 3D-is-the-only-future line (no, I'm not a fan either...)

    What could the the two companies gain?

    CineWorld - expertise in a niche they are unfamiliar with.

    Picturehouse - collective bargaining muscle.

    Given your previous comments on an earlier post regarding the studio plan to increase 3D demand by increasing the price of 2D admission (pretty concrete admission of the failure of the 3D format, really...), I'd have to say that were I a CineWorld exec, this kind of diversification would look like a pretty sensible hedge.

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  • Comment number 117. Posted by Rich_Wareham

    on 13 Dec 2012 17:56

    I am not angry that they have taken over Picture House cinemas, nor the fact that when I went to see Argo, ticket prices went from £5 to £8.50, but the fact that I was not notified by their email newsletter in advance about this change.

    I'm afraid this will steer me into the cheaper direction of my local Odeon rather than the Little Theatre in Bath if they were showing the same film.

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  • Comment number 116. Posted by Joel_Cooney

    on 12 Dec 2012 19:59

    Ross,

    "It's not like Lucasfilm was a going concern anyway"

    You've not been in a toyshop recently then? :-) Seriously though, if you think of these companies as trans-global, trans-media "Entertainment Conglomerates" rather than *mere* film producers, and you take into account toys & merchandise, TV, cartoons, computer games - hey, even theme parks (Indiana Jones ride at EuroDisney?) - it's very significant indeed. Disney now controls Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm - the only bulwark against this sort of influence is (nngh) Universal (Potter) and Time Warner (DC, Newline, WB). In the world these players work in, the production of a film is just the jumping off point - a necessary marketing tool for the "real" business.

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  • Comment number 115. Posted by lostInthedetails

    on 12 Dec 2012 17:42

    I think Cineworld could learn to join in with it's local community a bit more like Picture House. The Cineworld's in Edinburgh are great but chains in general can be a bit soulless. I think it could also learn to do more events, what I love about Picture House is the All Nighters and playing Die Hard at Christmas I don't want Cineworld to mimic this but to do it's own take on it by maybe doing more main stream events like playing the dreaded Love, Actually around Christmas.

    Anyway I think this 'acquierment' is a good thing. Picture House is good but sometimes it will play films that the multiplexes are playing (like The Dark Knight) and by joining maybe Picture House can drop that and focus on maybe playing more foreign films? Especially from Japan or South Korea. since they get no love here in the UK.

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  • Comment number 114. Posted by Ross

    on 12 Dec 2012 13:52

    "The story isn't "New Star Wars films to be made"; it's "et another big 'Independent'(sic) studio swallowed up by Disney". The real issue concerns the gradual merger of the big entertainment conglomerates into fewer, larger (hence, more powerful) corporate entities."

    I'd argue that distribution monopolies are more of a concern than production monopolies. It's relatively straightforward to set up a production company (as long as you have the money) but setting up a rival chain of cinemas is a lot harder. That said, cinema isn't the only way to see films. Video, DVD and Blu-ray have done wonders for making non-Hollywood films accessible.

    Disney taking over Lucasfilm is in fact just Disney restarting the Star Wars franchise. It's not like Lucasfilm was a going concern anyway. They've released four films in the last ten years and most people weren't expecting him to make any more.

    This news really is just about new Star Wars films being made.

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