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Odeon takes over running of BFI IMAX

Odeon takes over running of BFI IMAX

Odeon takes over running of BFI IMAX

The BFI is turning over the running of the jewel in its exhibiting crown, its IMAX screen on the Southbank, to Britain’s biggest cinema chain, Odeon.

Under an arrangement, scheduled to run for at least five years, Odeon will programme Britain’s biggest cinema screen – starting with the final instalment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises, which begins its run nationwide this weekend.

The Office of Fair Trading was asked to consider whether Odeon – which already runs three of the other four IMAX screens in London – should be allowed to operate the BFI’s site too, but ruled that the arrangement didn’t come under its remit.

The BFI says the screen has grossed almost £25 million in box office takings over the past five years, but it believes that Odeon, and the economies of scale that would come with it, will be able to “take it to the next level.” It says cinema-goers will notice little change, apart from a change in the food and drink available and having to book seats on the Odeon’s website, rather than its own.

The Odeon’s first moves will include bringing in its own catering, including franchises that already operate in some of its other cinemas, including Costa Coffee.

Under what it describes as a “concession” arrangement, the BFI will be guaranteed a minumum income from the box office receipts and will still be able to use the screen for some of its educational projects.

The BFI’s chief executive officer Amanda Nevill says its IMAX screen, which will retain the BFI branding, is in great shape and the Odeon can help it build on its success.

The head of Odeon & UCI Cinemas, which owns Odeon, Rupert Gavin, says it will be a pleasure to be working with the BFI, which supports and encourages the development of the UK film industry.

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