Rising energy costs and the pandemic have left small cinemas across the UK fighting to survive.
Via Aisha Zahid, News reporter @AishaZahid
Sunday, May 28, 2023 02:55, UK
According to the UK Film Association, the last full-time independent cinema in the North East has launched an emergency campaign to prevent closures as smaller cinemas around the country are facing with “cliff”.
Tyneside Cinemas in Newcastle is not just the last full-time independent cinema in northeastit is also the UK’s last remaining showreel cinema.
Cinemas founded in 1937 have struggled over the past few years due to the pandemic and now rising energy costs.
Andrew Simpson, director of Film Programming at Tyneside Cinema, told Sky News that “the picture is really clear”.
“We’ve seen a 300% increase in utility costs this year, which creates a huge hole in the budget of an organization like ours, and we’re still around 40% short. audience compared to pre-pandemic.”
“We’ve faced the possibility of closures in the past because places like ours will happen from time to time, which is definitely the most difficult period we’ve ever faced.”
Mr Simpson added that there is a “much broader crisis” unfolding across the industry and a lot of locations are facing similar difficulties in terms of “going to the wall in the next 12 months”.
Tyneside Cinemas has a rich cultural history and has become an integral part of the community after it was established 86 years ago.
It was founded by Dixon Scott, the great-grandfather of Hollywood directors Sir Ridley Scott and Tony Scott.
Mr Simpson said it goes beyond what’s on the big screen and is a “community space”, playing a “hugely important role in the social and community life of the city”.
At Tyneside Cinema, employees launched a fundraising campaign when it faced a threat to its very existence.
Small cinemas across the country are facing these difficulties.
Last year, The Lighthouse in Wolverhampton and Edinburgh’s Filmhouse closed permanently.
People are afraid that others might follow suit.
According to the UK Film Association, between 2010 and 2020, the sector experienced consistent growth and the number of cinemas increased by 15%.
However, this trend has reversed following the pandemic and rising utility costs.
Phil Clapp, chief executive of the UK Film Association, told Sky News: “I think all cinemas, and indeed all businesses, are grateful for the government’s support. government when energy costs began to soar last spring and continued support through early 2023 was warmly welcomed.
“Businesses like cinemas and others faced the edge of the abyss at the end of March when support ended.
“The abrupt removal of that support, especially for smaller operators, who have lower economies of scale, less able to deal with the sudden change, is enough to cause shock, I think. out a shock to the smaller operators.”
Mr Clapp added: “The loss of any cinema is really not just about losing a place for people to go to see a movie, although that is clearly one of their primary purposes.
“It’s also a community property, where parent and child screenings as well as silver screenings for older clients and screenings for clients. Accessible disability allows community inclusion, and there are fewer and fewer places where that can happen.
“While the loss of a smaller operator may not have had a major economic impact on the industry, I think the loss to the local community is far greater.”
This summer there are many anticipated releases, including the latest installment of the Indiana Jones series, The Flash and DC’s Barbie.
Movie theaters are hoping these can help reverse the downward trend seen over the past few years.