easyCinema, the UK no-frills exhibitor which sells tickets for as low as £0.20, has secured a range of previously-released titles from Warner Bros, including the first two installments of the Harry Potter franchise. But none of the titles are first-run, and all are available on DVD and video in the UK.
Several weeks after opening its first cinema in Milton Keynes, easyCinema has been unable to secure any first run titles with several distributors reluctant to supply easyCinema with new titles.
Entering the cinema market with its low cost concept has proved frustrating for easyCinema, with outspoken chief executive Stelios Haji-Ioannou, who also operates bargain basement businesses easyJet and easyRentaCar, instructing his lawyers to discuss the issue with UK anti-competition body the Office of Fair Trading.
Dispensing with the revenue sharing model easyCinema has been offering distributors cash in advance, at what it claims is the market rate, for films.
In a statement, the company said: "easyCinema is still unable to get first run films from the main six UK film distributors who control more than 90% of the market'consequently easyCinema has decided to start showing former blockbusters that date from a few months, or even a few years ago."
easyCinema had originally planned to show a range of films, including first-run titles. "We have been forced into this situation by the Hollywood studios," said Stelios Haji-Ioannou. "But it could be a very interesting experiment in our ability to increase cinema-going in Milton Keynes."
The titles that Warner Bros has agreed to supply to easyCinema, subject to availability, are:
Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone
Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets
Cats And Dogs
Pokemon The Movie