Ending months of speculation, the UK's easyCinema has leased the first site in the roll-out of its innovative low cost cinema concept: UCI's 10-screen multiplex, The Point in Milton Keynes.
EasyCinema, part of Greek entrepreneur Stelios Haji-Ioannou's no-frills empire easyGroup, will sell tickets for as low as 20p if booked a month in advance, applying the company's yield management pricing structure used in businesses ranging from car rentals to plane tickets. Prices will rise nearer showtime.
The Point, which will start showing films at the end of May this year, will have no box office: tickets will be sold online at www.easycinema.com, and there will be a computer to purchase tickets in the lobby. Savings will be made by reduced staff numbers.
In a statement, the venture is described by easyCinema as a controlled experiment: "The lessons learned in Milton Keynes will prepare easyCinema for further expansion in the UK and Europe."
Although an historic cinema in the exhibition industry - The Point was the first UK multiplex to open in 1985 - at 18 years old the site is showing its age and faces competition from a 16-screen CineWorld multiplex nearby. EasyCinema has a five year lease on the site, and a marketing budget of £300,000 for the first three months.
"I've made many mistakes in other industries by rolling things out too fast," Stelios Haji-Ioannou told the Financial Times, "so I'm going to sit on my hands for six months to a year before I try another cinema."