Question of films

A question was asked of Councillor Norman Dingemans at Arun District Council on January 11. The question was seeking reassurance that all councillors would be properly educated and advised of the way that film distribution works, with regard to UK cinemas, before making any major decisions about the proposed new seafront leisure development.

I had therefore thought all Arun councillors would be made aware that a new film will only be released by one film company and would recognise that company has all of the rights and can distribute the film where it wishes to. They would then understand the irrefutable problem; that the big new films (ie the ones which bring in the customers and therefore pay the cinema overheads) are always distributed to the multiplexes.

Why? Because quite simply, they can play them multiple times, on multiple screens throughout the day and night. Something two screens cannot manage.

Since the film companies earn their money by taking a percentage of box office revenue, they will not release the new first-run films to the small independents.

This same scenario has happened over and over again in the UK, and this is the reason for the numerous closures of small independent cinemas. It will happen to the Picturedrome if the multiplex is built on the seafront, of that there is no doubt, and there is plenty of hard evidence and statistics readily available to support this.

In spite of the questioners’ plea for reassurance that this basic fact be explained to all councillors, it would appear that some are still mixed up about it, and don’t realise why building the new one will cause the old one to close.

In the film industry it is not simply a matter of avoiding competition. Without the new mainstream films, there is no competition to be had as they are the sole product which can bring in sufficient income to enable the bills to be paid.

T Hamilton-Graves