Media Release: HMV and Curzon Artificial Eye join forces to bring cinema back to the High Street

HMV – the UK’s leading entertainment retailer – and Curzon Artificial Eye, leading cinema specialist for independent films, are partnering to reverse the trend towards edge-of-town multiplexes, and to bring cinema back to the High Street.

The first of these new-style cinemas opens this weekend above the existing HMV store in the main High Street in Wimbledon. If the trial proves as successful, the ground-breaking concept will be extended to other HMV locations around the country where there is spare stock room or retail capacity that can be converted, and where there is likely to be strong demand for the independent and World Cinema films that Curzon AE is renowned for across its five cinemas in central and West London.

HMV CEO, Simon Fox, comments: “It;s a sad fact that many independent High Street cinemas have had to close down over the years in the face of fierce competition from edge-of-town multiplexes. Of course, such cinema offers have their place, especially for mainstream blockbuster action films, but so do cinemas that specialise in independent films that are located right in the heart of local communities.

“I believe that many people would like to see such cinemas return, and that there is a real gap in the market for such an eclectic hmvcurzon offer. In combining with Curzon Artificial Eye in this venture, we have the brand appeal, films expertise and resources to make this happen. If Wimbledon proves the success that I firmly believe it will, I can see us rolling this concept out to quite a few of our stores around the country where we have the space and there is strong local demand for such a film offer.

“However, this initiative is also important as it signals a transforming moment in the overall HMV business, as we accelerate the process of moving our stores away from being retail outlets for CDs, DVD and games software to becoming engaging entertainment hubs for popular culture in a much wider sense, where we give our customers access to the music, films and games they love in all its various forms – including through the live experience.”

Philip Knatchbull, chief executive of Curzon Artificial Eye, adds: “HMV is the ideal partner to trial this totally new concept in cinema. Hmvcurzon will expand the cinema experience beyond just film programming by interacting and reacting to our customers’ interests and desires, and providing them with a wide range of film and entertainment in an intimate and high quality environment.”

Wimbledon residents will be treated to a magnificent experience with a brand new, three-screen cinema above the existing HMV store in The Broadway, providing an eclectic mix of entertainment across film and music, including opera. The latest digital technology will enable a flexible and diverse programming schedule with the ability to respond to local demand.

The hmvcurzon aims to become a valued cultural hub for the local community. It includes an engaging café area and fully-licensed bar where cinemagoers can relax and enjoy time with friends. What’s more, guests can browse the adjoining HMV store’s extensive selection of films and visual content on DVD and Blu-ray, as well as CDs and soundtracks, games and other entertainment product such as film posters, books and T-shirts. The hmvcurzon will have something for just about everyone.

The program opens with The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, The Fantastic Mr. Fox and the latest Disney Pixar movie Up in 3D. Future presentations are likely to include such acclaimed new films as An Education, written by Nick Hornby; Taking Woodstock – an Ang Lee film; Palme d’Or winner, The White Ribbon; and Nowhere Boy – the story of John Lennon’s upbringing, directed by celebrated photographer Sam Taylor-Wood in her directorial debut.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.hmvcurzon.com and printed out while at home or at work. The tickets will then be scanned on the door in order for customers to gain admission to any of the three screen auditoriums, which have been themed Red, Blue and Green. Customers will still be able to buy tickets at the cinema or even the hmv store.


About Curzon Artificial Eye

Curzon Artificial Eye is a leading independent film distributor in the UK, with a library of over 200 films. Curzon Cinemas owns and operates the Curzon Mayfair, Curzon Soho, Curzon Renoir, Curzon Chelsea and Curzon Richmond, giving the group nine screens on five London sites, constituting a significant position in London’s independent film market. CAE attracts more than half-a-million cinema admissions per year across its five existing cinema sites in London.

Curzon cinemas are celebrating their 75th anniversary in 2009.

Curzon Artificial Eye

Debbie.Rowland@CurzonAE.com 020 7438 9584

About HMV

HMV is the UK & Ireland’ s leading music, film and games specialist – offering the widest selection of titles across all genres and formats through 280 shops nationwide, online via hmv.com and as downloadable content via hmvdigital.

HMV is the UK’s largest retailer of DVD movies and Visual Product, accounting for just under a third of the total market, with over 50 million units sold last year.

The business has implemented a number of key initiatives in recent years as part of an ongoing strategic plan, including a ‘next generation’ store concept, which brings together ‘physical’ and ‘digital’ content in an engaging retail environment; the review of the HMV brand and introduction of the ‘get closer’ identity; and ongoing investment in HMV’s online and mp3 downloads offer via hmv.com.

In 2008, HMV acquired gamerbase.com – a pay-to-play PC gaming concept, and the company recently made a significant entry into ‘live’ music by partnering with MAMA Group through a joint venture to acquire eleven concert venues, including the renamed HMV Hammersmith Apollo. Last month, HMV acquired a 50 per cent stake in digital services provider, 7digital.

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Contact: Gennaro Castaldo
Phone: 020 7432 2033
Email: gennaro.castaldo@hmv.co.uk
Website: http://www.hmv.co.uk