Electric Cinema in Birmingham has confirmed that its reopening date will be later this month – nearly two years after the first screening of its last film before the start of the lockdown.
Now under new ownership, the two-screen cinema on Station Street will reopen its doors on Friday, January 21.
The first two films will be Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast and Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley.
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The Electric was originally built from a converted taxi rank and made its first film appearance on December 27, 1909, 112 years before the pandemic closed its doors in March 2020.
This was done through several incarnations, including Select Cinema, Tatler News Theatre, The Jessie and the Classic and The Tivoli, before becoming The Electric again in 1993.
Having survived the multiplex revolution of the 1980s and 1990s, The Electric was falling on hard times again after the turn of the century.
But it was saved in 2004 by entrepreneur Tom Laws, who turned it into a thriving business for more than a decade.
After its doors closed in March 2020 due to Covid-19, there were concerns that the cinema would never open again.
New owner Kevin Markwick began revamping the heating in November and had hoped to open before Christmas.
Now that the New Year’s pre-Oscars season is underway and the government shows no signs of moving beyond Plan B restrictions, a decision has been made to reopen on 21 January, as first revealed by BirminghamLive on 19 December went.
Kevin inherited his father’s now 104-year-old and award-winning Uckfield Picture House cinema in East Sussex in 1994, and his 32-year-old daughter Katie has moved to Birmingham, ready to run the electric, which they have decided to take. His own team can “spread its wings.”
Katie said in the blog this week: “If I have any philosophy, it’s that a cinema is somewhere where you can have a good time and while it’s a little stressful for all of us behind the scenes and in front of the house Maybe, after all if the team is having fun and seems happy doing their job then it’s going to rub off on the customers and vice versa.
“I want Electric to be a place that everyone involved – customers and employees – can have a great time in.
“There’s really nothing like a packed-out Saturday night when everything is working exactly as it should, with everyone ordering drinks and food and excited to see their movie,” Team One working well together and feeding the energy of customers.”
Tickets for the first films to be shown on Electric will be available for sale online starting Tuesday, January 11.
The relaunch program includes:
- Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast – The story of a young boy growing up in 1960s Belfast, which also stars Judi Dench. The film has been shot in both black and white, a feeling that will echo ‘old and new’ for anyone who rewatches The Electric.
- Nightmare Alley – A psychological thriller screened in 35mm format, directed by Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth) and starring Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett and Toni Collette.
Electric retains its unique mix of standard chairs and sofa seats, but is launching a food service. The new menu will include ‘premium hot dogs, falafel bites, nachos and desserts available to order from a fully licensed bar or directly on your couch.
Following the example of Uckfield Picture House, Electric is launching a subscription plan.
For £40 per year (Bronze – just for you) members will get three free movie tickets per year, £1 on every ticket purchased and ten percent off on screen food and drink and art.
For £80 per year (Silver – Bring a Friend) you get six free tickets per year, £2 on two tickets per movie trip, 10 percent off on food and 15 percent on screen art discount is available.
For £380 per year or £35 per month (Gold – The Ultimate), you can get a pair of movie tickets, 15 percent off food and drink and 20 percent off screen art any day, any time can do.
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