The research was conducted across four English regions, each of which has a specific composition (discussed below). The selection of regions was tied to British Film Institute (BFI) regional Film Hub geographies, which have since changed:
- The North East has the smallest population of the four regions at 2,669,900 with a mixed socio-economic profile with a low ethnic diversity, it has lower educational levels and higher unemployment levels than the national average (2019, ONS).
- Newcastle, the largest city in the region has three independent cinemas, Tyneside Cinema, Star and Shadow Cinema and Side Cinema, but no major film festivals.
- The slightly smaller city of Sunderland has no independent cinemas, but it does have an annual short film festival.
- Large towns such as Middlesbrough, Darlington and Hartlepool do not have any independent film exhibition, but some smaller towns have mixed art form venues that show films or small independent cinemas such as Jam Jar in Whitley Bay, The Maltings in Berwick, The Forum in Hexham and the ARC in Stockton-on-Tees.
- Throughout the region there are a small number of well-established film clubs, film societies and festivals such as Berwick Film & Media Art Festival.
- New ‘boutique’ chain cinemas have opened in the region in recent years including an Everyman cinema in Newcastle and an Odeon Luxe in Durham.
- Adults in the North East are less likely to go to the cinema than those in any other English region. 47.8% of adults in the North East watch films at the cinema at least once a year while the highest cinema attendance is in the South East where 66.3% of adults going to the cinema at least once a year (DCMS, 2018).
- Although there is multiplex mainstream provision across most of the region the number of specialised film screenings is below the national average. Overall the North East has 160 cinema screens (6.1 per 100,000 people) across 27 cinema venues, of these screens 137 are located in multiplex cinema chains, with 23 in traditional and mixed-use cinemas.
- Only five of these screens are classified as ‘specialised screens’ – those that show predominantly specialised programmes including arthouse film. This is 1.5% of the total specialised screens in the UK, where 34.6% are located in London (BFI, 2020).
- Film exhibition development in the region is supported by Film Hub North with the Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle acting a lead organisation for Film Hub North. Northern Film + Media promotes the screen industries in the region.
Yorkshire and The Humber
- Yorkshire and The Humber is the second largest region of the four with a total population of 5,503,000 (ONS, 2019).
- The region has a mixed socio-economic profile with slightly lower educational levels and higher unemployment levels than the national average, but with greater ethnic diversity than the North East with the third highest Asian population in England after London and the West Midlands (2019, ONS).
- The largest cities are Leeds, Sheffield, Bradford, Hull and York – but across these cities there are different levels of film provision. Sheffield has the broadest film exhibition led by cinemas such as Showroom and festivals such as Sheffield Doc/Fest.
- Leeds, Bradford, York and Hull all have high mainstream film provision in the form of multiple multiplex cinemas. In addition, the ‘boutique’ cinemas chains have grown across the region in recent years there are now Curzon Cinemas in Sheffield and Ripon, Everyman cinemas in Leeds, Harrogate and York as well the PictureHouse City Screen in York, and Odeon Luxes in Bradford and Hull.
- In addition, there are some independent organisations, venues and events such as, the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford including the Pictureville Cinema, Aesthetica Short Film Festival and the Yorkshire Film Archive in York, Hyde Park Picture House in Leeds along with Leeds International Film Festival.
- Yorkshire and The Humber has a total of 358 cinema screens (6.6 Screens per 100,000 people) across 56 venues. 313 are located in multiplex cinema chains, with 23 in traditional and mixed-use cinemas. 27 of these are classified as specialised screens showing predominantly non-mainstream films (8.3% of the UK total) (BFI, 2020).
- Yorkshire and The Humber is covered by Film Hub North (with Showroom in Sheffield acting as a lead organisation) and Screen Yorkshire promotes regional production. Along with Northern Film + Media, Screen Yorkshire is one of the few remaining regional screen agencies created by the UK Film Council in 2002.
- The North West has the largest population of the four regions with a total population of 7,341,200. The region has a mixed socio-economic profile with slightly lower educational levels and higher unemployment levels than the national average (2019, ONS).
- The largest cities have the broadest film exhibition such as Manchester where HOME is the central independent venue. There are also mixed art form venues that show films such as The Dukes in Lancaster.
- Smaller cities and towns such as Warrington, Blackpool, Preston, Stockport, and Bolton have limited independent or non-mainstream exhibition but a range of mainstream multiplex provision.
- Across the region and outside of the central urban areas there are a number of festivals, film societies and events such as Leigh Film Society, Keswick Film Festival and the Plaza Community Cinema.
- As with other regions the ‘boutique’ chains have expanded recently in more affluent areas and there are now Everyman cinemas in Altrincham, Clitheroe, Liverpool and Manchester and a Curzon cinema in Knutsford.
- There are 480 cinema screens in the North West (6.7 per 100,000 people) across 73 venues. 412 are located in multiplex chain cinemas, with 68 in traditional and mixed-use cinemas. 20 of these are classified as specialised screens showing predominantly non-mainstream films (6.1% of the UK total) (BFI, 2020).
- The North West is the third region that makes up Film Hub North, where HOME is the final lead organisation along with Tyneside Cinema and Showroom Cinema. There is no longer a regional screen development agency but there are film development offices for the cities of Liverpool and Manchester.
- The South West has a total population of 5,624,700 . The region has a mixed socio-economic profile with educational levels close to the national average and lower unemployment than the national average (2019, ONS).
- Bristol is by far the largest city in the region and has the broadest range of film exhibition. The main independent venues are the Watershed and the Cube and there are many festivals such as Encounters, Afrika Eye, Palestine Film Festival and Radical Film Festival.
- Smaller towns and cities such as Exeter, Gloucester, Plymouth and Swindon all have multiplex chain cinemas but limited independent provision.
- Across the region in a range of different urban and rural areas are many community cinemas, festivals, film societies and events including organisations like Moviola and The Bath Film Society, Stroud Film Festival and Cheltenham Film Festival.
- There are 380 cinema screens in the South West (6.9 per 100,000 people) across 88 venues. 259 are located in multiplex chain cinemas, with 121 in traditional and mixed-use cinemas, the region has the lowest proportion of multiplex screens of any region in the UK. 16 of these are classified as specialised screens showing predominantly non-mainstream films (4.9% of the UK total) (BFI, 2020).
- Film exhibition development in the region is supported by Film Hub South West that is led by the Watershed Cinema in Bristol. Creative England national screen development agency is based in Bristol.