A most successful year (for cinema anyway).


Me, over-egging it earlier.

2018 is dead. Long live 2019. It’s been quite a year for us lot, it started with a Darkest Hour and ended in the most practically perfect way.

The high point for me (see above) was winning Cinema of the Year (24 screens and under) at the Screen awards in December. That’s it, put a fork in me, I’ve peaked.

I realise we shouldn’t covet this sort of thing, but we’ve worked long and hard to get where we are and the approval of our peers was really thrilling to receive.

In November we swept the board at the Uckfield Business Awards too, winning Business of the Year, Male Business Person of the Year and an Outstanding Achievement award. Go team, and all that.

I also completed a season of shows on Uckfield FM about the 1970’s that has proved popular. It’s a year by year look at what it was like keeping a cinema like ours afloat during a period of shocking decline, with music and daft opinions of films that I encountered as a child. You can podcast them here, or wherever you download your favourite podcasts.

We installed new projectors too, brand new Sony 4K beasts, which throw a great picture but support from the distributors in supplying 4K content is appalling. It’s frustrating to invest in giving audiences the best picture and sound technology we can and not get any backing from the other side of the business.


Sony 4K projectors being delivered earlier.

The other two seismic events were the launch of a £125K brand new website. anyone who has ever launched a brand new site this complex, will know how stressy and thankless that can be.

There was a big refurb of the restaurant. It looks fabulous even if I say so myself, and it’s given me more opportunities to show off the poster archive.

back section

The restaurant earlier.

This post is starting to sound like one of those insufferable Christmas cards  listing the perfect family’s staggering achievements over the previous year, so I’ll stop now.

What did the good people of Uckfield come and see this year? Here is our top 10 for 2018. with the national chart position in brackets.

  1. (2) Mama Mia: Here We Go again.
  2. (13) Darkest Hour
  3. (5) Bohemian Rhapsody
  4. (7) Peter Rabbit
  5. (3) Incredibles 2
  6. (-) Mary Poppins Returns *
  7. (1) Avengers: Infinity War
  8. (8) The Greatest Showman
  9. (11) A Star is Born
  10. (25) Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

* The Screen chart runs from Jan to Dec 13th so Mary Poppins doesn’t appear. If we followed their dates everything would move up one and Fantastic Beasts would appear at number 10.

Not way off the rest of the world as we are some years. Darkest Hour stands out as performing better for us than most and Avengers stands out for performing less well than most. Honorable mentions should also go to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and Finding Your Feet which came in at number 12 & 13 respectively but didn’t even make the UK top 50.

Event Cinema is still as big as ever, but there is a definite shift in the types of shows that are topping the charts. Here is the event cinema top 10 in Uckfield.

  1. The King & I
  2. Andre Rieu Maastricht 2018
  3. My Generation with Q&A
  4. Cliff Richard Anniversary Tour
  5. Spitfire – World Premiere
  6. An American in Paris
  7. Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella
  8. Lady Windermere’s Fan
  9. Nutcracker (ROH)
  10. Macbeth (RSC)

Nationally, as you have probably seen in the press, cinema admissions are now the highest since 1971. We showed a smaller growth than nationally, I surmise that is because our growth last year was miles ahead of the UK overall, and some of the films that hit big highs nationally were a tad limp. Titles like Black Panther and Jurassic World, were not big hits here.

So all in all a rather splendid time was had by all. Looking forward to more bonkers projects in 2019 and working with my great team.

What were your favourite films of 2018?




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