The Point, Milton Keynes


The Point, Milton Keynes

The Point is an entertainment complex in Central Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, England. When it first opened in 1985, it included the UK's first multiplex cinema.It was originally best known for the ziggurat-form structure of the front section, with red neon lights connecting the apexes at each side, so that it looked like a pyramid at night.

Current Facilities

As of 2008, The Point houses these tenants:

*Odeon Cinema
*Gala Bingo (located underneath)
*Milton Keynes Council (Youth work team; includes 'The Spot' youth café)
*The Point Kiosk

History

Back in the 1980s, cinema audiences were in decline nationally, due among other reasons to high ticket prices, TV channels and video devices. Smaller cinemas were closing down as they were no longer economic to operate and maintain.

The Point opened in 1985 and included a 10-screen multiplex cinema, the UK's first multiplex [JANUARIUS, M., "Multiplexes multiply" Leisure Management August 1991, pp.33-34 ] . The first company to run the cinema was AMC Theatres in conjunction with Milton Keynes Entertainment Corporation (MKEC). The opening was celebrated with a royal première of Harrison Ford's "Presumed Innocent" and was attended by Sarah, Duchess of York. A year later, the rights to operating this cinema changed to United Cinemas International (better known as UCI) but was still run in part by MKEC who took the profits from the ticket sales while UCI had the profits from the concession stands. The venue was an instant success and its opening caused, at least partially, the closure of the traditional cinemas in Bletchley and Newport Pagnell. The pyramid section of the Point on opening housed "The Brasserie", "The Croc Bar", a games arcade and a nightclub. A Bingo hall (Gala Bingo) underneath and a small newsagents outside the main entrance completed the offer. In 1995, the owners of The Point refurbished the the building and added a pizza restaurant (Deep Pan Pizza, later The Fresh Pizza Company), a Health club and a bar/nightclub (Oasis, later Nexus).

Cinema audiences at the Point dropped steadly in the early 90's, in part due to the opening of Vigin Cinemas in Northamption and Bedford. But by 2002, with the opening of the competitive (and more luxurious) multiplex at Xscape, run by UCI's arch rival Cineworld, the Point became a less important part of the centre and annual visitor numbers dropped to just over 1 million. This lost both revenue for the owners and mostly for UCI. In a drastic attempt to bring its building back to its former glory, ticket prices in UCI were dramatically reduced. But sadly, it did nothing to halt the visitors slide, dipping down to under 800,000. Admitting defeat, UCI announced in 2003 that its part of The Point was up for sale and that its workers would lose their jobs in the process.

easyCinema

The cinema was sold to the easyGroup, renaming the cinema as easyCinema.com. This was regarded as the world's first budget cinema, with ticket prices starting from as little as 20p. In a bold move, it decided to get rid of the foyer's built popcorn, drinks and pic 'n' mix stands, replacing them with a vast empty space and also allowing visitors to bring their own food. It also showed films that had just recently been taken out of the cinema instead of recent ones and it didn't rely on fixed showtimes.

Later ventures within the area included an easyInternetCafe and an easyPizza pick up point. The cinema and business model was unsuccessful and in early 2006, the company was evicted from its site. UCI bought back the cinema site from them in the process and during the purchase, the company merged with rival chain, Odeon. In May 2006, the site reopened as an Odeon Cinema.

External links

* [http://www.mkweb.co.uk/miltonkeynescinema/DisplayArticle.asp?ID=35666 The story of how the cinema opened] - MKWEB.

References


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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