Chain Pinches Picturehouse

Independent film in Cambridge is threatened as the Arts Picturehouse is taken over by Cineworld.

art film art house Arts Picturehouse cineworld independent film lyn goleby will pithers

The Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge’s only art house cinema, has been taken over by one of the biggest cinema chains in the UK.

Last week, Cineworld bought up the Picturehouse chain for £47.3million, an act that sees an additional 21 cinemas become branches of the national cinema giant.

The cinema, located on St. Andrew’s Street, has become a student favourite in recent years thanks to its student-friendly prices and commitment to showing independent films that may not otherwise have made it to the big screen.

Picturehouse Cinemas was set up in 1989, distinguishing itself from national chains and multiplexes through emphasis on independent, art house and foreign language films. Many Cantabs will be worried that this is the end of independent cinema in Cambridge.

But Lyn Goleby, the company’s co-founder and managing director, has insisted that nothing is to change for the Picturehouse chain: “The unique character of Picturehouse cinemas will remain and our team will continue to bring the widest range of film to customers.”

Furthermore, Picturehouse claims that its cinemas will continue to act independently from Cineworld, including actions relating to its pricing, programming policy and membership schemes.

James Mitchell, The Tab‘s outgoing film editor, has been optimistic about the change. “People were worried when Disney bought Lucasfilm, but most of us now agree it’s in safer hands. Similarly, standards have been slipping at the Arts Picturehouse – with their supposed commitment to quality cinema, I can’t understand how Skyfall ever made it onto their screens. No wonder people have been jerking off in the back. It appears Cineworld have arrived just in time to get a firm grip on the situation.”

“Cineworld have also expressed their desire to expand the Arts Picturehouse. Ideally, this’ll mean more screens and might also spell the end for Wetherspoons. It’s a win-win situation.”