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Cromer cinema competing with the big boys in national awards

PUBLISHED: 11:54 20 October 2017 | UPDATED: 13:22 20 October 2017

Cromer Moveplex cinema is up for a national award. The photo shows the interior.  Pictures: Occasions Photography

Cromer Moveplex cinema is up for a national award. The photo shows the interior. Pictures: Occasions Photography

Archant

It might not be as famous as some of its competitors, but the Regal Movieplex Cinema, tucked away in Hans Place in Cromer town centre, has been nominated as best cinema for a national industry award.

Cromer Moveplex cinema is up for a national award. General manager Mike Lodge and assistant manager Angie Wordingham. Pictures: Occasions Photography Cromer Moveplex cinema is up for a national award. General manager Mike Lodge and assistant manager Angie Wordingham. Pictures: Occasions Photography

It’s up against 13 other establishments in the Screen Awards 2017 category for best cinema, 24 screens or under, including such well-known venues as the Edinburgh Filmhouse and Tyneside Cinema.

The four-screen multiplex, which is part of the Merlin Group, is on a site which has housed cinemas for 100 years, and shows the latest big-name releases, plus art-house and independent showings.

The awards recognise excellence in UK film distribution, exhibition, marketing, publicity and brand partnerships, and the winners will be announced at a ceremony hosted by Edith Bowman on November 30 at Grange Street Paul’s Hotel in London.

General manager Mike Lodge and assistant manager Angie Wordingham will be at the ceremony.

Cromer Moveplex cinema is up for a national award. Exterior. Pictures: Occasions Photography Cromer Moveplex cinema is up for a national award. Exterior. Pictures: Occasions Photography

Mr Lodge said: “This cinema category is judged on performance, growth and commitment to the industry. At this year’s Merlin conference Cromer won cinema of the year for continued growth, and in August hit a Merlin house record. With a slight downward swing across the group, Movieplex Cromer is the only cinema showing admissions growth this year.”

Opened in 1916 originally as a combined music hall/cinema venue, it shortly after changed its name to Regal and became a popular cinema.

By the early 1970s attendance had dwindled and the cinema closed to films. A few years later films were resumed but by the 1980s the cinema’s future was in doubt. Chris Green then acquired Regal and went about a refurbishment programme including the conversion to a four-screen complex. It was also renamed Movieplex.

It was then sold to his former CIC colleague Geoff Greaves, who absorbed it into his Merlin Cinemas brand. But by 2012 Cromer was the only cinema in the Merlin Group not to show admissions growth. However, by 2015 this had completely reversed and it underwent a complete redecoration and recarpeting, and the foyer facilities were demolished to build a new sales counter and licensed bar.

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