Vue and Universal still seem to be at loggerheads, as Downton Abbey screenings finally become available on the cinema’s website.
The story so far on this one, if you’re not familiar with this particular tale. At the start of the year, Vue Cinemas and Universal Pictures in the UK had a bit of a disagreement that neither went on record to discuss.
It’s believed that at the heart of the problem is Vue’s policy of low ticket prices across its near-100 sites around the UK. That movie studios have argued that if Vue wants to cut its prices, that’s fine, but it shouldn’t unfairly impact the take of the people who made the films they show in the first place. Again, this is me filling in blanks, as neither party has officially confirmed this.
Earlier this year, then, Vue didn’t show Universal’s Mary: Queen Of Scots at all for its first week of release. Then, when it came to How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, whilst it did list the film for its opening week, it was only two screenings a day at each of its venues, whereas every other major chain was programming ten or more showings of the film.
In the case of Downton Abbey, widely expected to be one of the box office successes of the year when it lands in cinemas at the end of this week, until recently, Vue wasn’t offering prebooking of seats at all. Again, every other major chain has had seats up for booking since the back end of August.
Now, with just a few days to release, screenings of Downton Abbey had finally popped up on the Vue website, but again, not very many of them. You’ll find just two screenings a day available at Vue sites around the country. By way of contrast, my local cinema – the Empire in Rubery – had 14 showings on day one, across multiple screens.
Vue had previously clashed with Warner Bros last year, resulting in it holding back on screenings of A Star Is Born. But this year, it’s been Universal with whom it’s been pushing against, and presumably vice versa.
All eyes on whether more screenings of Downton Abbey are added later this week.
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