Noted the other day that the UK cinema business having a pretty gruesome 2014, leading to speculation that financier Guy Hands’ Terra Firma outfit, which seems to own it, might need to raise some more money. Guy also had his problems with EMI you might recall. Maybe he should drop entertainment and stick to property.
The Hands gang blamed the fall in numbers on the good weather (we do occasionally have a decent summer in the UK). More likely it’s the ever-rising prices in multiplexes (purveyors of sticky drinks, sweets and then films) and crap films. Hollywood doesn’t seem to have a creative idea these days that didn’t originate at Marvel Comics.
Another factor might be the ease of watching new films and new blockbuster TV series (the HBO ones are better than nearly all films) courtesy of new-style operators like Netflix and pay-TV companies like Sky (below). When this is coupled with enormous high definition screens in most homes, you can see that old-style cinemas have a big challenge on their hands – one they may not be able to overcome.
Sky’s advertising, split more or less between Brothers and Sisters and WCRS, is almost uniformly excellent. Here are a couple of new ones from Brothers and Sisters, showing what the cinema boys are up against.
It would be easy for Sky to take the view that it’s talking to a captive market and therefore do this on the cheap. But it’s given Brothers and Sisters enough budget to afford the UK’s favourite macho man Idris Elba and director Vaughan Arnell of Stink.
And it shows.