BEHIND THE HEADLINES: Reaction to Chichester Cineworld

Cineworld Ashton Under Lyne in Gtr Manchester premiere Guardians of the Galaxy at their new Imax screen
Cineworld Ashton Under Lyne in Gtr Manchester premiere Guardians of the Galaxy at their new Imax screen

NEWS was officially broken last week of an IMAX screen set to open at Chichester Cineworld.

Planned to be unveiled on November 7, IMAX is hailed by many as being an alternative to 3D films, featuring larger screens, digital sound and projection.

The curved screen is accompanied by a slightly-curved seating plan in the auditorium.

Cineworld is currently investing in IMAX-enabled screens across the country.

The move has been greeted fairly positively by two of the smaller cinemas in the area, New Park in Chichester and the Picturedrome in Bognor Regis.

The chairman of Chichester Chamber of Commerce also welcomed the news IMAX was arriving in Chichester, saying it could help to bring more people to the area.

Chichester is ahead of many other cities in getting an IMAX, with both Portsmouth and Brighton without one.

There is an Odeon IMAX in Southampton and the only other IMAX in the county is currently the Crawley Cineworld.

Christopher Woodhouse, general manager at Cineworld Chichester, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be upgrading our entertainment offering at Cineworld Chichester with the introduction of an IMAX screen.

“IMAX offers a truly unique cinema experience and we’re excited to welcome old and new customers to try it out for themselves.”

Picturedrome reaction

THE POPULAR Bognor Regis cinema is set to begin work soon on a third cinema screen.

The cinema’s owner, Adam Cunard, said he did not think the IMAX would impact on the Picturedrome.

“I don’t see it making any difference to us,” he said.

Instead, he spoke of the optimism felt for next year, following what he said had been a disappointing year in terms of films.

He said work on the third screen was hoped to be completed in the new year, ready for a blockbuster 2015.

“We want to be

well up and running,” he said.

“Think of all the fantastic films next year,” he added. “The films for 2015 are amazing.

“This year is a very flat year for films, to be honest with you. It’s not been a very good year on the whole.”

He also said a fourth screen was in the pipeline, adding it would be interesting to see how the IMAX fared in Chichester.

A number of people head to the Picturedrome as an alternative to Cineworld, as its prices are substantially cheaper – £2.50 during the week and £3.50 at weekends, with ticket prices subsidised with sales of popcorn and other food and drink.

Chichester reaction

THE IMAX announcement was welcomed as helping boost the cinema scene in Chichester even more.

While it may not show the latest films the very first week of their release, the New Park cinema mixes recent film releases alongside independent and lesser-known arthouse films that might not get a showing in the larger multiplexes.

The general manager of the New Park cinema, Walter Francisco, said the arrival of an IMAX was a positive move.

“It will bring more people into Chichester and more people will be interested in cinema.”

He went on to say: “Even though we’re competition, I try not to see it as competition. We operate alongside them and we’ve got a different audience.

“An IMAX would bring more people to Chichester and get more people interested in film. I’m all for that.”

New Park recently finished its annual film festival, which Mr Francisco described as ‘the best one without a doubt’.

He said there was a great range of quality films and the festival also welcomed film directors and actors, including Daniel Brühl, most recently known for playing racing driver Niki Lauda in the Hollywood film Rush.

He said New Park was hoping to expand as well, getting its own auditorium rather than having a

shared one.

Mr Francisco said hopefully this could happen within the next couple of years.

The chairman of Chichester Chamber of Commerce also echoed Mr Francisco’s sentiments, saying she thought an IMAX was

‘unlikely to impact negatively on New Park’.

“They have very cleverly and carefully positioned themselves to appeal to the more discerning and sophisticated audience of Chichester and surrounds, who most certainly do spend their money in the eateries and hostelries of central Chichester,” said Louise Hopkins of New Park.

She also said: “The new IMAX may well bring people into Chichester who otherwise wouldn’t necessarily come to the city, from Portsmouth and Worthing, perhaps, which must be a good thing, as it puts us on the map.

“Also, most people include a meal either before or after a screening, which should increase spend in Chichester.

“But, we can’t ignore the fact that the target market for IMAX is usually younger people, schoolchildren and college and university students, who rarely have enough money to opt for a larger meal.

“So in reality, the money they will bring in will be very limited – likely to be spent in the fast food chains around Chichester Gate and unlikely to hit the city centre at all.”

Price comparison

The nearest Cineworld IMAX to the Chichester branch is in Crawley.

Currently, it costs an adult £15 to see a 2D film at the Crawley IMAX after 5pm and £16 if it is in 3D.

This comprises a base price of £10.30, with an additional charge of £4.70 (2D) or £5.70 (3D) for the full IMAX experience.

Meanwhile, a child aged 14 or under can expect to be charged £13.30 for a 3D IMAX screening after 5pm in Crawley.

This is made up of a basic price of £7.60, with an added £5.70 for 3D IMAX.

A spokeswoman from Cineworld said details of the prices to be charged at Chichester Cineworld were yet to be released.

Currently, the basic price

for an adult cinema ticket is £9.70 in Chichester and £7.10 for a child, the same price which also applies to anyone aged over 60.

In Crawley, a family ticket

can be purchased for a 3D IMAX experience for £55.60, which can be two adults and two children or one adult and three children.