Curtain could go up at more cinemas

Potential scope for more new cinemas in the North East is shown in research published ahead of the opening of a complex in Gateshead on Friday

Cinema fan Jess Leighton makes her Hollywood-style handprints outside the new Vue cinema complex at Gateshead's Trinity Square
Cinema fan Jess Leighton makes her Hollywood-style handprints outside the new Vue cinema complex at Gateshead's Trinity Square

Potential scope for more new cinemas in the North East is shown in research published ahead of the opening of a complex in Gateshead on Friday.

A seven-screen Vue cinema will open in the Trinity Gardens development in Gateshead town centre on Friday and this follows the opening of a new multi-screen complex in Cramlington, Northumberland, earlier this year.

The study by planning and economic consultancy Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners (NLP) shows that following decades of decline in the cinema market many more North East towns are in line for new venues, creating scores of new jobs.

Planning permissions have recently been granted for new cinemas in Bishop Auckland and Murton, and there is also a current planning application for a multiplex on the Feethams site in Darlington.

And the research by NLP has highlighted both Blyth and Peterlee as towns with the potential to support new venues.

With each development creating up to 50 jobs they are also playing a major part in boosting the region’s employment opportunities.

NLP director Jonathan Wallace, who heads the firm’s Newcastle office, said: “Traditional high streets are having to evolve in order to meet changing consumer demands and economic conditions. Our research is showing that cinemas can become key anchors in the high street of the future.

“Our model highlighting potential development opportunities in the region is proving popular with developers and we expect to see further cinema schemes in the North East over the next year or so .”

A 1,300-seat nine-screen Vue cinema in Cramlington opened in early July, as part of a leisure and restaurant extension to the existing Manor Walks Shopping Centre – making it the 16th cinema in the North East region.

Cinema-going is becomingly increasingly popular leisure activity in the North East. Since 2007, UK cinema admissions have increased by 6%, despite the impact of the economic downturn.

Box of?ce revenue has increased year-on-year since 2007, with an overall increase of 25% from 2007 to 2012.

Latest ?gures show revenue of £1,099m in 2012 - a 5.9% increase on the previous year

NLP’s CINeSCOPE model details existing cinema provision against population densities across the North East, identifying cinema development opportunities where there is a high population density but little cinema provision. It has identified potential development hot spots in Blyth and Peterlee.

The model unveils other potential cinema hotspots in Darlington, Murton and Bishop Auckland where there is already con?rmed interest.

Wallace added: “The cinema is the anchor tenant in many of the new and emerging leisure and retail developments, making cinema operators a key partner for developers.

“NLP understands the importance to cinema operators of associated uses and the mutual commercial bene?ts of developing cinemas alongside retail and other leisure uses. Cinemas can generate footfall for food and drink operators, driving up value for developers. Vue, Odeon and Cineworld, accounting for 60% of cinema screens in the UK, share this perception of the future cinema market.

“Vue has identi?ed further opportunities for multiplex cinemas in the UK, with the intention to explore new acquisition opportunities. Odeon is continuing investment to improve and expand its estate, including new food and drink partnerships with Costa Coffee introducing outlets in cinema foyers.

“Cineworld sees the market for new sites as encouraging and is actively re-locating older cinemas into new premises.”

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