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The view of Chorley Empire Community Cinema...

You may have seen Chorley Council has proposed a multi-screen cinema for the Flat Iron market. The 6-screen cinema will be part of a retail and restaurant complex extending from the "Iceland" end of Market Walk.

The cinema will be operated by Reel, who have experience of town-centre cinemas, and feature screens ranging in size from 60 seats to 170 seats. This means Chorley Little Theatre will still have the biggest auditorium in town.

However, this does probably mean Chorley Empire Community Cinema will cease to exist in it's current form. The council planning application has tried to make out that the Reel cinema will be showing different content to us, but we find it highly unlikely they will not be showing The Theory of Everything, Imitation Game, Paddington, Gravity, Skyfall, Frozen, or other similar films we have shown in the last few years. It's just they'll be showing them slightly earlier than us. They also show event cinema, just like us.

We would probably have to show niche art films or classics, but in our experience this is unsustainable in Chorley. CECC was formed in 1986 as Chorley Film Society when the Plaza on Bolton Road closed down. The idea was to show films in Chorley until a new cinema came along - we didn't expect it to take 30 years! 1986 was the lowest year for UK cinema admissions, whereas 2015 is on course to be the 2nd or even 1st best since World War II. It's a good time to open a new cinema and we wish Reel well.

It's just the idea that we'll be showing different films to them (as the planners want people to think) is wrong. We don't even know what they're showing and the prices they'll charge!

More broadly, the idea of a unit that brings people into Chorley is to be welcomed, especially if it boosts the night-time economy. If people go for a meal at, say, Nando's then head to Chorley Little Theatre that's great. As long as the council make visitors aware there is more to Chorley than Market Walk (we'll be trying our best).

For now, Chorley Empire Community Cinema will carry on as usual and will soon announce the Autumn 2015 season. When (or if) Reel opens in late 2016 or early 2017 we'll have to see what happens.


In other film news, there will be no children's films this Summer due to a) wanting some time off, and b) building work improving Chorley Little Theatre for next season. Enjoy the summer!