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VUE founder: ‘Second Golden Age of cinema is coming as streamers become studios’

·2-min read
The years between 1929 and 1945 - when stars such as Humphrey Bogart graced the silver screen - have been labelled the ‘Golden Age’ of cinema   (File)
The years between 1929 and 1945 - when stars such as Humphrey Bogart graced the silver screen - have been labelled the ‘Golden Age’ of cinema (File)

Bond just took £5 million at the UKbox office within 24 hours, and today Vue founder and CEO Tim Richards said the world is "about to embark on the second Golden Age of cinema".

Richards, the recently-installed chair of British Film Institute (BFI), played down the threat of streaming giants to screen operators.

Pointing to Amazon buying MGM for $8.45 billion, he told this paper’s The Leader podcast: "Tomorrow they [subscription services] will most likely be called studios like the more classic studios. I expect to have films and high quality content from Amazon, Apple, Netflix and others on our screens within the next six-to-12 months."

Tim Richards founded Vue in 1999 (Vue)
Tim Richards founded Vue in 1999 (Vue)

The sector veteran, who founded Vue in 1999 before overseeing its growth to over 220 screens worldwide, said he “would love” to air both high quality TV shows and films from streamers.

"I think we’re going to have a really exciting future as an industry,” he said.

Even before the No Time To Die release Vue’s UK sales had recovered to nearly 80% of pre-Covid levels, the founder revealed, and said: "There has been a lot of press about half a dozen movies that went [directly] onto streaming services, but the rest were shifted and delayed.

“So for the next 12-to-18 months we’re going to have almost three years of movies released, and it’s going to be extraordinary."

The founder has already experimented with screening media other than film, including Wimbledon tennis matches.

He has said the multiplex chain will now look to create a model for hosting e-sports events as the sector grows rapidly. Goldman Sachs has tipped it to near £2.5 billion in global revenues by 2022.

Speaking on the podcast, Richards expanded on how people have been predicting the end of cinema for decades - when the internet came, when Blu-Ray came, when streamers came.

"There’s a pattern developing there,” he said. “We’ve been through and extraordinarily difficult time the last few years... but I think that it’s a business that has survived for hundreds of years and we have proved that we are going to be around quite a while."

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