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Westway Cinema determined to stay open as film industry struggles

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FROME’S Westway Cinema is determined to stay open with a “fresh” and “exciting” line-up of films to keep the community entertained, despite news that the industry is struggling.

Cinemas across the country have been hit by delays to the release of big-budget films like the James Bond film ‘No Time To Die’ – which has been postponed twice and is now due for release in April 2021.

Recently,  cinema-chain, Cineworld has announced that it is set to temporarily close its UK cinemas in the coming weeks – and the company has told Prime Minister Boris Johnson and culture secretary Oliver Dowden that the industry is now “unviable” due to the impact of Covid-19 and social restrictions.

And Odeon has also recently announced that it would be cutting the opening hours for its cinemas in the UK and Ireland to weekends only, because of the delays to new film releases.

However, the owner of Frome’s Westway Cinema, Beryl Scott, has told Frome Times, that whilst the cinema has been impacted by the delay of the new Bond film and other blockbuster titles, the independent cinema is in negotiations with smaller film companies to secure new films to show on the big screen.

“We are staying open,” said Beryl, “with two shows a night in each screen, and four at the weekend in each screen. Since reopening the support has been not too bad – and hopefully it will be okay, as long as we can make enough to tick over.

“The loss of films like Bond has been a big problem as they are taking all the big films away. So we are trying to negotiate with the smaller film companies as they are more flexible and more willing to show their films.

“But the problem is they don’t have a budget for advertising – so how do you get people to know that they are there? So we use Facebook and our website and promoting the films ourselves (including in Frome Times).

“We are determined to keep the schedule fresh with new smaller budget films. And hopefully there are enough smaller films to go round.”

About the news of Cineworld’s struggle, Beryl said, “They were in trouble anyway and this has almost finished them off – I think it was moving the Bond film that did it, because they were hoping that the Bond film would save them. But honestly, we all needed it! The industry needs more support.

“Hopefully it will be okay once we get past Christmas. And with the evenings getting darker and colder, hopefully more people will want to come out to the cinema.

“People have been shut in for such a long time, they  don’t want to be sat in watching Netflix, you want to be out watching a film on the big screen – and coming to the cinema means that there’s no need to sit and scroll searching for something to watch for 25 minutes!”

For information about films, visit: https://westwaycinema. co.uk/from or see the advert on page 9.

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