2011. How Was It For You?

It’s over already. Hardly seems anytime at all since I was positively wetting myself at the prospect of The Kings Speech starting on Jan 7th. Now I’m hopeful but managing to hold it in for The Iron Lady a whole year later. Not that I don’t think IL isn’t going to be successful, I just don’t think we’ll hit the heights we hit with KS.  Few films do.

2011 has been a big improvement for us on 2010, actually if I’m honest it was an improvement on 2009 as well.

Why’s that then? Two reasons basically, better films, or at least films better suited to The Picture House and live transmissions of opera, ballet and theatre.

In 2010 we were utterly bereft of anything approaching a posh film, as a result we took a great big hit on the number of admissions. 2011 is 10% up which is a huge jump.

2011 was as it should be, lots of ordinary films with the odd monster thrown in. Exactly how I like it. We hit a few rocky periods of course but that’s normal.

Jan and Feb are usually good, stuffed as they are with awards titles. In fact too many normally, if we could spread them out a bit more we’d all win, distribs and exhibitors alike.  I understand the awards buzz thing, but it becomes self defeating in such a crowded market.

So we had King’s Speech, Brighton Rock, True Grit, Never Let Me Go and Black Swan which all did great business, competing with the February half term mainstream pictures, Tangled and Gnomeo & Juliet.

March to May we seemed to hit a bit of a wall and couldn’t get anything going. Easter was not very good at all. Rio and Hop both disappointing, Chalet Girl didn’t get out of the starting block, and Oranges and Sunshine also tanked. Which surprised me  as I thought it would do alright.

It all started to pick up with Thor. Not huge, but it had a bit of life. Then the Pirates of The Caribbean showed up and we were off again.

The big surprises in June were Bridesmaids and Senna. Very strong for us and both of them not normally films we would expect to do well with. A bonus too as June here is normally appalling.

July to Sept was groovy, Harry Potter said his farewells and Inbetweeners, another “not us” title went bonkers. Super 8 and Cowboys & Aliens were huge disappointments though. Tinker Tailor was massive and Jane Eyre nice and solid.

Thought we would do better with Melancholia than we did. Why? Come on, I want to know.

Oct to Dec it was great. Midnight in Paris surprised everyone but me. Johnny English  and more Twilight.  Although I expected better things of My Week With Marilyn and Hugo.

That is, of course, a rather cursory run through the year. It doesn’t take in the amazing success of the Met Opera and NT Live, where we’ve had some wonderful evenings. Sometimes having to use two screens such has been the demand.

We played a total of 93 films. How many did you see?

So here is the top ten grossing film of 2011 at The Picture House Uckfield:

1. The King’s Speech
20,000 of you made this our highest grossing film of all time. My children still have to stand and salute if it’s mentioned in the house.

2. Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Pt 2
Farewell then Harry Potter. Our bank account is going to miss you terribly.

3. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Not in UK top 10. Proving my patrons have much better taste than the rest of the country.

4. Inbetweeners
Quite a shock this made it so high.

5. Bridesmaids
See 4.

6. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
But Why?

7. Gnomeo & Juliet
I think the British thing worked here.

8. Johnny English Reborn
You came. You seemed to laugh.

9. Jane Eyre
Frocks? Judi Dench? How could it fail?

10. Tangled
Would have made it much higher had evening show insanity not overtaken the situation.

The Wooden Spoon: Lowest take for a new film in one week was Larry Crowne. Oh Tom, where did it all go wrong?

Looking forward I’m pretty confident things should roll on into next year. The immediate future looks fab. Iron Lady, War Horse, The Artist and The Muppets. A big summer with Dark Knight Rises and possibly Men in Black. A Bond in October and The Hobbit at Christmas. So in theory I should still be around to bug you this time next year.

My Turn for a bit..

Now I’m going to give you my films of the year, forgive me the self indulgence, but what’s all this for if not the occasional moment of blogish onanism?

Inevitably all film lovers enjoy showing off with their film lists, but I haven’t seen every film released in 2011 so how can I possibly say these are the best films? I can’t. There could well be better ones out there I haven’t seen.

There are a few that have made most other lists, like Tree of Life or Melancholia, that for whatever I reason I can’t say I enjoyed.  That doesn’t mean I judge them bad films.

There are some I am ashamed to say I have not seen. In the end it’s all horribly subjective, but for what it’s worth, here, and I stress, in no particular order are the films I’ve most enjoyed this year.

I know some of them we didn’t show. Sorry! Some are not released until next year, but I’ve seen them this year. Let the showing off commence..

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (UK Dir: Thomas Alfredson)
Thomas Alfredson follows the brilliant Let The right One In with this utterly compelling waft of cold war chill.
With an almost Kubrick like detached eye he recreates the beige London of the 1970’s where self important men play games with peoples lives.

We Need To Talk About Kevin (UK/US Dir: Lynne Ramsay)
Dazzling and exhausting to watch. Asks more questions than it can possibly answer and Swinton is as usual mesmerising.

Drive (US Dir: Nicholas Winding Refn)
Sometimes too cool for it’s own good but utterly irresistible. Some may find the violence unacceptable.

A Seperation (Iran Dir: Asghar Farhadi)
A window into another world. Subtle and unsettling, it’s grip tightening as it goes on.

The Descendants (US Dir: Alexander Payne)
Maybe too middle aged and maudlin for anyone under 30, but Alexander Payne turns in another heartfelt exploration of ageing and learning.

The Artist (France Dir: Michel Hazanavicius)
Delightful, light and airy, a real slice of pure entertainment.

Animal Kingdom (Australia Dir: David Michod)
I know it’s all been done before, but this so good. Jacki Weaver as the family matriarch is without doubt the scariest thing I saw on screen in 2011.

Midnight In Paris (US Dir: Woody Allen)
Hugely entertaining Woody Allen, a sort of Inception meets Goodnight Sweetheart for smart arses.

Rise of the Planet of The Apes (US Dir: Rupert Wyatt)
I don’t care, I enjoyed it, a lot. Hopefully the painful memory of the Tim Burton apes has now been erased.

The Skin I Live In (Spain Dir: Pedro Almodovar)
Not Almodovar’s greatest achievement, but even so contains more ideas and originality than most film makers could dream of coming up with.

Tyrannosaur (UK Dir Paddy Consodine)
Really wanted to dislike this, more poxy working class suffering voyeurism. Damn you Consodine, it’s superb. Olivia Coleman is amazing.

Pina (Germany Dir: Wim Wenders)
So enjoyable and I know nothing of modern dance. A 3D film that works for a change as a 3D film. Spellbinding.


The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (US Dir: David Fincher)
I’m not trying to flog it to you, honest. Very much better than the Swedish version, Fincher proves he is the best American director of mainstream films working.
Brilliant stuff.

All in all a rather good vintage. We continue to branch out, this year we also started our live on stage comedy evening which has done really well. Some big names have come down, and we have some bigger ones lined up for 2012.

Of course none of it would be possible without the support of our lovely patrons. It truly is appreciated. I know I can get a bit grumpy sometimes, but I mean well and we are all trying hard to bring you the best cinema experience we can.

Don’t forget you can reach me with your ideas and comments anytime at enquiry@picturehouseuckfield.com or contribute to this blog, which I love when you do.

So thanks again, and here’s to a great 2012.

The annoying bit after the credits…
(Which I really wish they wouldn’t do. Some of us just want to go home, we’ve been here all day.).
OK, here are ALL the films we played in 2010. I expect you to have seen all of them. Apart from The Three Musketeers. I wouldn’t subject anyone to that.

King’s Speech
127 Hours
La Fancuilla (Met Opera)
Fela (NT Live)
Little Fockers
Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Gulliver’s Travels
Harry Potter & Deathly Hallows Pt 1
Giselle (Bolshoi)
Black Swan
King Lear (NT Live)
Brighton Rock
Caligula (Paris Ballet)
Gnomeo & Juliet
Never Let Me Go
Nixon in China (Met Opera)
Yogi Bear
True Grit
Iphigeni en Tauride (Met Opera)
Don Quixote (Bolshoi)
The Tempest
Frankenstein (NT Live)
Fair Game
Chalet Girl
Lucia di Lammermoor (Met Opera)
You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger
The Eagle
Coppelia (ROH)
Oranges & Sunshine
Source Code
Le Comte Ory (Met Opera)
Red Riding Hood
Little White Lies
Winne the Pooh
Capriccio (Met Opera)
Il Trovatore (Met Opera)
Water for Elephants
Jamie Cullum Live
Something Borrowed
Flamenco Live!
Berlin Philharmonic 3D
Die Walkurie (Met Opera)
Pirates of the Caribbean 4
Cave of Forgotten Dreams
Hangover 2
Coppelia (Bolshoi)
Kung Fu Panda 2
Green Lantern
Donor Unknown
Die Meistersinger (Glyndebourne)
Cherry Orchard (NT Live)
Transformers 3D
Green Lantern
Life in a Day
Larry Crowne
Enfants du Paradis (Paris Ballet)
Apocalypse Now!
Deathly Hallows Pt 2
Cars 2
Don Giovani (Glyndebourne)
Super 8
Sarah’s Key
Horrid Henry
Cowboys & Aliens
Spy Kids 4D
Turn of the Screw (Glyndebourne)
Glee 3D
One Day
Skin I Live In
Rise of the Planet Apes
The Smurfs
Jane Eyre
One Man Two Guvnors (NT Live)
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
I Don’t Know How She Does It
Mr Popper’s Penguins
Phantom Live
The Kitchen (NT Live)
Johnny English Reborn
Midnight in Paris
Esmeralda (Met Opera)
Anna Bolena (Met Opera)
We Need To Talk About Kevin
Dolphin Tale
Lion King 3D
Lang Lang Live
Don Giovani (Met Opera)
The Help
Siegfried (Met Opera)
Leonardo Live
Ides of March
Wuthering Heights
Sleeping Beauty (Bolshoi)
Satyagraha (Met Opera)
Deep Blue Sea
Collaborators (NT Live)
Arthur Christmas
Adventures of Tintin
Rodelinda (Met Opera)
My Week With Marilyn
Happy Feet
Breaking Dawn
Deep Blue Sea
Faust (Met Opera)
Sleeping Beauty (ROH)
Puss in Boots
Sherlock Holmes Game of Shadows
Alvin Chipwrecked
Nutcracker (Bolshoi)
New Years Eve
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

No animals were harmed in the making of this post.

5 thoughts on “2011. How Was It For You?

  1. I hope I speak for everyone who visits The Picture House, year on year, by thanking Mr Markwick for a) providing a proper local cinema in the true spirit of the medium; b) providing a bit of culture here and there (NT, Met Live etc); and c) writing the best cinema blog currently available. Oh, and while I think about it, his contributions to Radio 4’s Film Programme are always worth hearing.

  2. I agree we are very lucky to have Kevin in Uckfield as the cinema is brill! I’ve recently joined the Film Club …in the 12 years I’ve lived in Uckfield I’ve only just discovered its existence and have really enjoyed the films I’ve watched so far, but was really amazed that the age group seems to be in the majority over 50s …so come on the under 50’s please join in too, as if like me you love films too it’s great! So get involved!

    I’ve also been to a couple of the comedy evenings which were really enjoyable and well worth coming along to…thanks Kevin for providing Uckfield with a lovely
    cinema and a unique venue for other entertainment…here’s to 2012

  3. Hi Kevin
    Love the Picture House – thank god for somewhere that gets the sound right and you can hear the dialogue.
    BTW Melancholia tanked because the trailer makes it look like a load of H’wood BS – simple as, as they say.
    See you for the Iron Lady.

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