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Cinema in line for ‘six-figure’ upgrade
THE handover of Knutsford’s cinema to the new operators is to take place next week – and bosses have told the Guardian they have a few surprises up their sleeves.
In May Cheshire East Council handed cinema and film distribution company Curzon a 25-year lease to run the civic centre and the Studio cinema.
It followed a tendering process which lasted more than two years after the Guardian first revealed in March 2010 that the authority was looking for someone to take on the running of the centre.
Rob Kenny, director of cinema development at Curzon – who run seven cinemas in London – told the Guardian on Monday that the handover for the site was due to take place ‘at the end of next week’.
“It’s got a tiny way to go, but Cheshire East have been really good, and I’m involved in a few other projects which have taken 10 times as long,” he said.
“There’s a few dotting the ‘i’s and crossing the ‘t’s, and I hope to have the handover at the end of next week. These things take time, but it’s about making sure we can go in there and open up as soon as we can.”
Rob revealed the company was planning on spending a ‘six-figure’ sum on the Studio cinema, which would include new digital projectors and improving the furniture.
“We plan to install the digital projectors in December and then we can look at a satellite dish which means we will be able to put on live theatre and opera,” he said.
“We have many big names at our London cinemas who do question and answer sessions, like Kylie Minogue and Martin Scorcese, and while we may not be able to get them up to Knutsford we can beam it back.
“It is about building on the great base that is already there and bringing a more varied programme.”
Rob said a second screen could be a reality but only if it was financially viable.
“We haven’t made a decision on the back rooms yet, but we will be upgrading what we have and then look at adding another screen if it is financially viable,” he said.
“We won’t be kicking the people out who use the back rooms though – all the bookings will be honoured.”