Cinemas in Southend

southend odeon

My apologies to anyone who, flicking through the Southend Echo this morning, and came across the “Big Coversation” section. Yep, my ugly mug front and centre.

The issue was cinemas, and whether there is demand and room for a second cinema in Southend (I was also asked about Basildon, but not really knowing the town or using its cinema I declined to comment). What I did say, for those not blessed (Cursed -Ed) with my smiling face in their morning paper, is as follows:

My fiancee and I go to the cinema a lot. I think a second cinema in Southend is a great idea because it would be competition for the Odeon.

I have had issues with it not showing films I want to see, for example The Dallas Buyers Club. That was an Oscar-nominated film but wasn’t showing in Southend. I certainly think there’s room for competition.

I’m slightly concerned for the location, as it’s a built up area and I’m not sure there is room for a sizable cinema. Somewhere out of town would be better placed for it with a bigger cinema and less chance of it putting the Odeon out of business.

I haven’t been misquoted, but I do want to make a couple of clarifying points.

Read on…

An(other) Open Letter to Southend Odeon

ron woodroof

Dear Southend Odeon,

I’d like to open by saying that I am a fan. I love film, and I love cinema as a medium for experiencing it. Most often I pass through your doors at least once a week. But sadly, I don’t expect to be gracing your establishment this week.

Why? Three words:

Dallas Buyers Club.

Read on…

An Open Letter to Odeon Cinemas

The Awakening, the film I wanted to see at the weekend.

Dear Odeon Cinemas

I write to you as not only a fan, but an enthusiast of modern film as an art form and as entertainment. As such, I frequently avail myself of your services, watching the latest films in your cinemas. I should stress, initially, that this is not some sort of brand loyalty, but rather largely stems from your mainstream cinema monopoly in the town of Southend (where my girlfriend lives, and where I most frequently visit the cinema). However, I do regularly spend my money at your establishments, and even possess a loyalty card, so perhaps that counts for something.

This weekend, my girlfriend and I were quite looking forward to seeing The Awakening, a newly released horror film which has had an extensive national advertising campaign. Remember that, it’s important. Unfortunately, this wasn’t able to happen, since you weren’t showing it.

Now, as you are doubtless aware, over Halloween you didn’t show a single good quality horror film. Paranormal Activity 3, eing the sequel to two dire offerings and only marginally better itself , does not count. I have no idea why the makers of The Awakening chose to delay its release until 11th November, when it could have cleaned up over the Halloween weekend, but that is irrelevant to this discussion. So soon after the traditional time for horror film, didn’t it occur to you that if you showed The Awakening people would quite happily come and watch it?

Of course, it isn’t as clear cut as that. It wasn’t that you made a corporate decision not to show the film. Oh no. A scant few of your cinemas did show it. The nearest to us being either Chelmsford (at least 1 hour away), or Barking (again, about an hour away). I like film, but sadly I do not like it that much.

So why did you make the decision that the people of Chelmsford and Barking deserved to see The Awakening more than the residents of Southend? The cynical might conclude that you wanted the cinema space free to flog The Immortals, which was another new release, but was a rather flashier (and more vapid-looking) Hollywood affair.

(Incidentally, you should probably have a look at how you schedule that, too. I can understand that you want to make the most of 3D technology, but there are many like myself who would rather see no film than a 3D film. Thus, having only one 2D showing a day, and at 1:30pm of all times, is moronic and infuriating.)

The Awakening is a British film, with a British writer- exactly the sort of thing we are continually told we must support. You make it very difficult to do so, even for those of us who passionately want to.

But, since I suspect that matters little to you, let me finish on this. You have lost out on money. I fully intended to visit your establishment, and spend money on tickets and possibly (though probably not- let’s face it, your prices are extortionate) drinks. But I didn’t. And you’re to blame.

Yours faithfully


Matthew S. Dent