Bosses at Bristol’s biggest cinema have explained their decision to close it, and confirmed Bristol Live’s report that a breakdown in negotiations over a new lease with Cabot Circus management has led to the closure.
Showcase Cinemas confirmed that the last screening of a film in their cinema will take place on Thursday, November 30 – in just ten days’ time, but they are committed to the Showcase Avonmeads site at St Philips Causeway, which has recently had a revamp.
Bristol Live broke the news earlier on Monday that the Showcase Cinema de Lux – Bristol’s biggest multiplex cinema in terms of numbers of screens – was closing down, and since then, Cabot Circus have issued a statement promising that they were working towards a ‘renewed cinema’ complex.
The 14-screen cinema opened with the Cabot Circus shopping centre in 2008 and is regarded the main anchor leisure attraction for the shopping centre. After Bristol Live broke the news of the closure, Cabot Circus were the first to react, issuing a statement that implied that they would be looking for a different cinema chain, but with the suggestion that they may also mix up the leisure use of that part of the Cabot Circus site. Then, a statement from Showcase itself was issued, confirming that ‘due to our inability to agree terms on a new lease with the landlords, our cinema in Cabot Circus, Bristol, will cease trading with effect from the close of business on Thursday, November 30’.
The managing director of Showcase Cinemas UK, Crispin Lilly thanked staff, who have endured a challenging few years since the 2020 Covid pandemic. “We would like to thank all the customers who have visited since we opened at Cabot Circus in 2008 and we hope they have enjoyed their time with us,” he said. “We would also like to thank our committed team of employees at the site for their passion, dedication and hard work, especially over the last few difficult years.
“We are committed to delivering great cinema experiences to Bristol audiences and hope that customers will visit our other cinema in the city, less than three miles away at Avonmeads. We have recently invested in this site and it now features the only fully customisable recliner cinema seating in Bristol within our state of the art de Lux auditoria,” he added.
Cabot Circus did not respond to questions from Bristol Live about claims that a proposed increase in the rent had sparked the closure, and the shopping centre’s response didn’t directly mention the closure of the cinema itself. In a statement a spokesperson for Cabot Circus talked of the aim being a ‘renewed cinema’ on the site.
“The vision of Cabot Circus is to be a leading, multi-purpose destination that thrives in the heart of Bristol city centre,” a spokesperson for the shopping centre said. “Social, cultural and entertainment uses are a key part of Cabot Circus, and we remain committed to providing a best in class, renewed cinema alongside other complimentary uses. We look forward to providing more updates soon,” they added.
The closure of Showcase Cinema de Lux at Cabot Circus will take place on Thursday, November 30, just four days after another of the city’s multiplexes closes. The Cineworld Bristol cinema at Hengrove Leisure Park will close this Sunday, November 26, and its site and much of the rest of the leisure park already has planning permission to have more than 300 new homes built there. Its closure on Sunday will mean there will be no cinema south of the river in the city.
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