Regent Street cinema. Credit: Madi Davis
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is set to be one of the biggest cinematic releases of all time. Yet four independent cinemas in the heart of London are not showing the film on its day of release, if at all.
The new installment in the Star Wars franchise, The Force Awakens, has had some of the biggest hype surrounding a cinematic release in recent years and is set to be a huge hit over Christmas.
With such a highly anticipated film release it would be expected that every cinema in London whether independent or not would be set to screen the film. And at first look, this would appear to be true with many of the popular independents offering multiple screenings. However, four cinemas have excluded Star Wars from their releases.
Regent Street Cinema, situated near to Oxford Circus is among those not showing the film on the release date. Jimmy, 23, usher at the cinema told Westminster World: “we aren’t showing Star Wars as we generally show films after their big releases. We are an repertory, independent cinema that specialises in independent films and classics”.
Repertory cinemas such as the ICA, being those that specialise in screening older classic type films would of course, not be expected to screen a big cinematic release. However, Regent Street cinema has been known to include such films in the past. “I don’t know why we aren’t showing Star Wars straight off, we have shown big films such as Spectre in the past and Black Mass currently” said Jimmy.
It is unclear why the cinema has chosen not to offer the film on its release date but as Jimmy went on to explain “we will be showing Star Wars but not until January where I believe it is just one Saturday with three film times.”
Another independent cinema in London not offering the film is the Prince Charles Cinema near to Leicester Square. Paul Vickery, head programmer, told Westminster World: “The one reason we won’t be screening it is because we don’t screen films on release”. He also added that “we screen 1 or 2 independent films a year on release but big Hollywood titles are exclusive to The Square.”
The Square being a shortened term for Leicester Square, refers to the “mega-plex” cinemas such as Odeon, Vue, Picturehouse and Empire. And as Vickery explains they have priority with regards to huge cinematic releases. “Even if we wanted to screen Star Wars, we wouldn’t be able to due to the film playing in The Square which is why some films never reach our screen.”
Two other cinemas also included in the list are ICA and Curzon Soho. Vickery offered his believed reasons for this by stating “The ICA would seem like an odd place for it to open. And I’d imagine the reason it’s not at the Curzon Soho is due to the Picturehouse & Odeons being close by and being able to offer the film more screens across the country meaning they get preference.”
So if you wish to escape the phenomenon that is the big Force Awakens release, the four cinemas listed are the ones to attend this weekend. It is unlikely you’ll find an escape elsewhere as as Vickery says “I imagine every cinema in the land who aren’t showing it simply aren’t due to industry politics/agreements rather than taking a staunch “hell no to Star Wars” stance.”
Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be showing at cinemas across London from 17th December. Tickets for showings at Cineworld cinemas in London can be found here.