Two former Empire cinemas might be about to reopen

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Do you live in Basildon? How about Swindon? Either way, we’ve got some good cinema news for you! More below…

When Empire cinemas crashed into administration earlier this year, the news came as a huge blow, not just to the 150 or so employees who lost their jobs, but the state of the UK cinema industry as a whole. With Cineworld seemingly also on shaky ground after entering administration in June, for fans of the cinematic experience (we reckon you’re probably one of those, since you’re here) the future looked a little bleak.

Now, though, there’s a bit of projection peeking through the clouds, as one of the six existing sites in Swindon, along with a completed, but never used, site owned by Empire in Basildon, are both on the verge of finding new owners. The better news? They’re both staying as cinemas!

According to the BBC, Vue has applied for a Premises Licence from Swindon Borough Council to redevelop the Greenbridge Retail Park site, while local councilor Craig Rimmer says he’s hopeful a deal on the Basildon site will be completed by Christmas, with interested parties believed to include Odeon and Vue.

“We’ve got between four and six cinema operators that have submitted interest to us, and this gives us hope to get something done and dusted by Christmas,” Rimmer told the Basildon Echo last week. See, we told you.

As cinemas enter another risky phase following the mass exodus of big-name movies (most recently, Jeff Nichols’ The Bikeriders) out of the winter release period due to the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike, the news that we’ll be getting another couple cinemas sometime soon is a welcome surprise.

Have you got a local cinema (a big chain or otherwise) that you’re keen to shout about? Drop a comment below – it might cheer us all up a bit.

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