After ‘Barbenheimer’, there’s “not enough” movies to help UK cinemas according to Vue Chief

Tim Richards, founder and CEO of Vue International, has been reflecting on the state of the UK cinema industry and there’s not enough movies.

barbie uk cinemas

Tim Richards, founder and CEO of Vue International, has been reflecting on the state of the UK cinema industry and turns out, there’s just not enough movies coming out. 

Barbenheimer, the unlikely double bill of Oppenheimer and Barbie, brought masses back to the cinemas.

The CEO of Vue, Tim Richards, told Sky News podcast that the cinema chain’s advance bookings were the highest since Avengers: Endgame and that a whopping 23% of their customers booked for not just one, but both of the films. 

Both Barbie and Oppenheimer smashed any expectations put on them, scoring historical opening weekend box office numbers, and social media was filled with people hailing the return of event cinema, with both films easily selling out screenings day and night. 

But it might not be enough. 

vue tim richards

Founder and CEO of Vue International Tim Richards and British film star Gemma Arterton attend opening night celebrating the £6.6m relaunch of Vue’s state-of-the-art entertainment venue in the West End on July 10, 2017 in London, England (Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images for Vue)

According to Richards, there simply aren’t enough films coming out currently. The UK cinema industry is still grappling with the aftermath of the global pandemic where streaming services became the no.1 source of entertainment. 

Despite a stellar summer filled with blockbusters, including a new Mission Impossible sequel and the last Guardians of the Galaxy film, cinemas are still struggling. 

READ MORE: Is Oppenheimer controversial? Unpacking the Oppenheimer discourse

“Our issue is a supply issue. Our issue is not enough movies. We know the numbers – 36% fewer films released last year, 20% fewer films released this year,” Richards said.

We’re already seeing a lot of delays for films due to the on-going writers’ and actors’ strikes, which have come at an unfortunate timing, according to Richards. 

Yorgos Lanthimos' Poor Things trailer - Emma Stone

Poor Things is the latest film to move from its original release date due to the strikes. Credit: Searchlight Pictures

“We’re not out and the strikes were very unfortunate from a timing perspective. The Writers Guild were on strike for 100 days the last time and we didn’t really feel it because the studios managed their releases of their films – this time feels a little bit different that if it goes for a longer period of time, then it might feel the impact of it.”

He added: “We are hoping that because the stakes are so high, that there will be a quick resolution on it.”

Cinemas still have a special place in the global cultural landscape despite the streaming wars. It’s a communal experience that should be cherished and preserved. 

“There is no aspiring filmmaker on either side of the camera who grows up dreaming of putting their movie onto Netflix, or a small screen. They want to see people enjoy their movie on the biggest screen they possibly can – people laughing, crying whatever that emotion might be. It’s so much more powerful when they share it socially,” Richards said. 

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