Following a full review of the commercial viability of Giant Screen Cinema, Millennium Point has taken the decision to explore alternative uses for the auditorium and event space.
Millennium Point – The Future of the Giant Screen Cinema
By Philip Singleton, CEO, Millennium Point
When science and technology centres were conceived as projects and began to open from 2000, many included designs for large format, single screen cinemas. Since its inception, it was always envisaged that there would be a large scale cinema experience at Millennium Point.
These screens were initially a novelty – showing huge creatures from long ago, the wonders of the universe and the natural world and later Hollywood Blockbusters – all in 3D and on a scale never before seen.
Increasingly, 3D and large screens have become more commonplace with many multiplexes now presenting content in this format. The West Midlands has above the national average for cinema screens per population – and more are planned. In this crowded marketplace, it has become more and more difficult for the Giant Screen as a single screen, purpose-built facility to find its niche amongst audiences.
Over time, these large single millennial screens have found other purposes, closed or been demolished. Declining audiences and increasing costs now means that as a charity, Millennium Point Trust can no longer operate a full time commercial cinema and it is now time to look to the future.
We are consulting fully with those of our team who may be affected by our proposals and we fully appreciate that this will be a difficult time for colleagues – many of whom have been with Giant Screen for a number of years and their passion and enthusiasm has ensured that visitors have had an amazing experience.
It is time to celebrate and remember the delights Giant Screen has brought to many over the years. For people in the city and region, their first experience of contemporary 3D technology, digital projection and big screen action happened at Millennium Point. It is also time to look towards the future, recognise the challenges we face in our existing facility and ensure that we start the process of developing our offer to maximise the opportunities of tomorrow. This area of the city continues to evolve and, as we all know, there are big and exciting plans starting to come to fruition right on our doorstep.
Millennium Point is home to Thinktank – Birmingham’s Museum of Science, faculties of Birmingham City University and Birmingham Metropolitan College. We are at the heart of Eastside – the city’s burgeoning learning quarter and we strive to create a great place to experience the future. By diversifying and evolving the use of our purpose-built auditorium we can continue to achieve our aims and ambitions, and deliver our charitable objectives.
It is our intention to continue to screen large documentary films to school audiences to assist their learning and understanding of the world around them. We have enjoyed success in using our 370 seat auditorium with state-of-the-art presentation technology for seminars and conferences as well as increasing popularity amongst independent filmmakers seeking to premier their latest projects and those seeking to reconnect with events based cinema.
If our current proposals proceed, however, our plans would mean that from January 2015, the Giant Screen would cease to be a permanent, seven day, 12 months a year cinema operation competing with a proliferation of commercially-run cinemas. From February 2015, Millennium Point would continue to engage and thrill visitors with the former Giant Screen evolving into a more flexible space with a wider range of uses, reflective of our future plans for development.