British cinemas get free digital equipment

CinemaSeats.jpgThe UK Film Council have joined with the Government and the UK Lottery to allow 209 UK Cinemas to be upgraded to brand new digital projection equipment, but at a price.

In a cleverly aimed scheme any upgraded cinema will have to pledge to show British, classic and arthouse movies, i.e. non Hollywood. This means that a cinema traditionally showing nothing but Hollywood movies will now have to show on average, two movies a day that fall into that category. To be honest there’s not enough good British movies to go round, so classic and arthouse it is! The BBC have the story:

The 209 cinemas will share £11.7m – equivalent to £56,000 each – to install state-of-the-art digital projectors…

…Half the chosen cinemas are owned by two multiplex chains – Cine-UK, which runs Cineworld and UGC, and Vue…

…The scheme will mean more than four million extra tickets sold for specialist films per year by 2009, the UK Film Council says.

I actually think this is a superb idea and will force cinemas to get some variety in their programmes, and give smaller movies a good chance at getting more exposure. However this isn’t going to be good for those arthouse cinemas that already out there, they make their living from showing these films and not really getting hold of the big blockbusters. In Edinburgh we have two, the Cameo and the Filmhouse. How will they cope with the local cinema chains getting free digital equipment and showing more of their movies?

On the face of it this is a great idea, but I’m really concerned how this could hit the real arthouse cinemas, why didn’t this consortium consider the smaller cinemas too? What do you think?

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