Sunday 22 September 2019

Everyman picks Dublin for first cinema outside the UK

British boutique chain linked to a site on Dawson Street, writes Barry Hartigan

The chain specialises in upmarket cinemas that focus primarily on arthouse films, and 'event' cinema, such as live broadcasts of opera and theatre (stock photo)
The chain specialises in upmarket cinemas that focus primarily on arthouse films, and 'event' cinema, such as live broadcasts of opera and theatre (stock photo)

English boutique cinema chain Everyman Cinemas is to open in Dublin's Dawson Street in the near future. The company currently operates 27 cinemas in England and Scotland, and its Dublin operation would be the first to open outside of the UK.

The two-screen cinema will be located beside the Ivy restaurant, near the Luas stop, and is being developed by the Green REIT property company. It's part of a wider development of the site which was formerly occupied by Royal & Sun Alliance House.

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The organisation had previously applied for planning permission to develop a retail unit at that location, but applied for permission to change the use at the beginning of August. A spokesman for the company declined to comment on the new development. According to the updated planning documents, the cinema would have a licensed bar and a dining area.

The Everyman group was founded in 2000 by entrepreneur Daniel Broch, who bought the original Everyman cinema in London's Hampstead.

The chain specialises in upmarket cinemas that focus primarily on arthouse films, and 'event' cinema, such as live broadcasts of opera and theatre.

Each of the firm's cinemas features licensed bars, food and state-of-the-art projection and sound systems.

Dublin currently has two arthouse cinemas, the three-screen Irish Film Institute in Temple Bar and the four-screen Light House cinema in Smithfield. Both have licensed bars and serve food.

Press Up Group also serves food and drinks in Stella Cinemas located in Rathmines and Ranelagh in Dublin. Crispin Lilly, chief executive of Everyman, joined the company in 2015 and earlier this year spoke about the group's future development.

"I was very much brought in to oversee the expansion," he said.

"Because we just all felt that this lovely little return to cosy, magical cinema was something that wasn't the preserve of north London. Cinema has always proven to be really resilient in the consumer landscape. If you look at the last two recessions, cinema admissions actually went up."

According to cinema trade paper Screen International, it recorded revenues of £51.9m (€57.3m) in 2018, up from £40.6m in 2017.

A spokesperson for Everyman could not be reached for comment regarding the Dublin operation.

Irish audiences are the most frequent cinema-goers in Europe.

In 2018, there were 15.8 million admissions in the country, with an average of 3.3 visits per person, which equates to a total take at the box office of €117.3m.

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