Entering the age of the hypermarket cinema’: the first five years of the multiplex in the United Kingdom
Jim Higgins, managing director of distributor UIP, commenting on the imminent opening by American Multi-Cinema (AMC) of Britain’s first multiplex in Milton Keynes; summarised the future attraction of the multiplex when he observed that AMC had ‘identified and made us all aware of the need for cinemas to be well-situated, to provide for the car owing, highly mobile population of today’ (Screen International, 1985: 86). In general, one of the major points of divergence between traditional cinema and multiplexes has been their relative geographical siting. Historically the cinema had been seen as an urban experience, though with the advent of the multiplex it could be best described as a “suburban experience”. From the mid-1980s new multiplexes were built all over the country with the initial wave sited either on the outskirts of major conurbations on greenfield sites close to motorways and large suburban populations, or as part of existing out-of-town leisure and retail developments. This paper will consider some key developments in the first five years of the multiplex cinema’s introduction in the UK with particular emphasis on the opening of three complexes in: Telford in Shropshire, Dudley Merry Hill, in the West Midlands and Sheffield in South Yorkshire. All in various ways highlight a range of issues and concerns that help account for the rapid diffusion of multiplexes in subsequent years.
Citation : Hanson, S. (2016) Entering the age of the hypermarket cinema: the first five years of the multiplex in the United Kingdom. HoMER@NECS Conference - Connectivity in the History of Moviegoing, Exhibition and Reception, Potsdam, Germany, July 2016.
Research Group : Cinema and Television History Institute (CATHI)
Peer Reviewed : No
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