We’ve staged a takeover of our local cinema. But the good news for anyone who doesn’t want to watch back-to-back Wes Anderson from now until 2036, so have you.
Actually, it wasn’t us at all but Ourscreen, our new favourite movie platform that lets the people - that’s you - set up and schedule cinema screenings by meeting Groupon-style thresholds.
It works like this. Choose from the initial selection of 230 or so movies, the 18 independent UK cinemas on board so far (in 13 cities, mostly Picturehouses) and the time and date you want to see the film. There’s also the choice of a public or private screening and the price you and everyone will pay depends on well, everything: the film, the location and the time of day. If enough people book tickets, the screening’s on.
You can also jump in on public screenings set up by other Ourscreen users but no matter which way you do it, it’s no pricier than usual. A quick browse around the ourscreen site shows there are plenty of tickets available for less than £10 - National Theatre Live screenings, reruns of classics such as The Blues Brothers and newer films like Under The Skin.
“It would be great if all cinemas in the UK were part of this service,” says Ian Cartwright, ourscreen co-founder. “For us, it’s been borne out of a love of seeing films on the big screen. Whether that’s Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid for a private party or it’s a Lars von Trier film and you’re a real auteur, it’s great to watch it at the cinema. It could be the Clapham Picturehouse or it could be a multiplex in Wakefield.”
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People-powered premieres and Pulp Fiction parties
Ourscreen has been in beta since the end of March but it’s already held the UK’s first ‘people-powered premiere' - for footie flick Next Goal Wins. Like the genius Songkick Detour platform, which lets you vote to get your favourite band to come to your city, Ourscreen spread the word in big football cities around the UK then screened the premiere at the cinema which hit the ticket threshold first - in that case, the Hackney Picturehouse.
As well as private Pulp Fiction parties, Ourscreen users have also set up screenings of Terry Gilliam’s The Zero Theorem. The director of the sci-fi movie posted it on his Facebook page after the regular cinema release was over and the shows sold out.
So what’s next? Ourscreen will be adding more independent cinemas to its roster before eventually working on bigger chains. And if there’s a film you want to see you can of course request titles, as well as new locations, on the Ourscreen website.
“We’re working very closely with film distributors and exhibitors,” says co-founder Marc Allenby. “So we’re not actually that disruptive. It’s not about just having a scattergun approach of loads of titles, we want ones that people are passionate about.”
“We want films that have an energy behind them,” says Cartwright. “Going to the cinema is an event in itself but actually that’s been lost because people are so used to doing it. It’s really nice when we’ve seen screenings set up - there was one of about 30 people and I think the cinema holds 70. And rather than sitting in different corners of the cinema, they all sat together in the middle. There’s this realisation - we made this happen."
Drop everything and head to ourscreen.com now to give it a go.