Hollywood Cinemas in Norwich and Great Yarmouth closed as chain ceases trading
PUBLISHED: 16:51 07 February 2019 | UPDATED: 10:19 11 February 2019
Archant Norfolk © 2014
Norfolk's Hollywood cinema chain has fallen into administration with two of the three theatres closing immediately.
The chain has appointed administrators Nick Cusack of Parker Andrews who are looking for offers for Great Yarmouth and Norwich, but say Dereham has been sold and will continue under new ownership.
It means 28 mostly part-time jobs are at risk.
Director Trevor Wicks, said there were multiple reasons for its demise including “a very poor 2018 with the “Beast from the East” in winter, the World Cup and the long, hot summer, plus high levels of competition in the local area and a number of poor-performing films in recent months.”
He added: “It is with a very heavy heart that I have had to place the company into administration.
“I would like to thank the millions of loyal customers that we have had over the last 30 years and, most importantly, the wonderful staff, both past and present”
A statement said: “The administrator has commenced the process of selling the business and assets of the company and any interested parties should make contact with his agent, Roger Cutting of Charterfields on (0330) 2020116.
“A sale has been completed for the Dereham site and offers are invited on the remaining sites at Norwich and Great Yarmouth.
“The administrator is hopeful that any sale will include the honouring of gift vouchers.”
People working near the Yarmouth cinema said they understood staff turned up this morning to find out it was not opening.
A dementia club of around 25 members reportedly arrived for its monthly outing to find the building closed.
At the end of 2017 a revamp at the Yarmouth site comprising new seats and screens was hailed as “a vote of confidence” in the resort with Mr Wicks saying things were looking up in the town.
He said: “Trying to revamp a building like this is not easy. It is huge,” he said.
“I have a big attachment to Great Yarmouth, particularly the buildings. When you are in this industry you do get an emotional attachment. We need to cherish these buildings and they have seen a lot of action, particular with the elements.
“It is not a total re-brand because we are keeping the Hollywood name but people like the idea of it being the Royalty too because they remember it and they remember the live shows.”
The impressive landmark building was chosen as a filming location by Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle last year when he was shooting his Beatles’ inspired film at multiple venues across East Anglia.
It is owned by circus impresario Peter Jay, and although it is not listed it has a colourful history.
Originally the building was the Royal Aquarium, conceived as a single storey attraction set in gardens in 1883.
However as early as 1896 it became a 2,000 seat theatre hosting a string of famous names.
Movies were first shown in the theatre in 1914, but became full time in the 1930s.
The cinema in Anglia Square used to be an Odeon cinema and dates back to the late 1960s. It was once a single screen cinema, but became a multiplex in 1991.
Under the Hollywood name it served as the premiere for the Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa film in 2013.
A new cinema is proposed as part of the £271m revamp of Anglia Square, with the current cinema building due to be demolished in one of the phases of construction.
The city council granted permission for the scheme, but Historic England has asked for it to be called in, so a final decision may yet rest with communities secretary James Brokenshire.