Independent vs. Chain Cinemas

In this day and age the cinema experience is becoming ever more present in the home. With home media stations and streaming websites such as Netflix and Amazon Prime it’s becoming easier to see what we want to watch, when we want to watch it all from the comfort of our own homes. This has led many to believe that traditional cinema as we know it is about to die in favour of the more convenient alternative.

But recent bouts of blockbuster movies have seen a rise in cinema goer numbers and breaking box office records in the process so it’s clear that traditional cinematic experience is here to stay however it does raises some questions.

Are these increased numbers of cinema goers due to the cinema experience in general or simply because of blockbuster movies? If so, then does that mean that independent films could be threatened as a result? What are the preferences of the the individual viewer, do they go to large chains or prefer independent cinemas? etc.


So in order to find out I went to two popular cinemas in Manchester, one a big nationwide chain (Odeon), the other an independent (HOME) to ask cinema goer what they thought about the differences between chains and independents and their personal preferences.

  1. What film are you here to see?
  2. What made you choose this cinema over others?
  3. How do you see the difference between independent and mainstream cinema?
  4. Do you think it’s important to support independent cinema?

Firstly I put the questions to people outside Odeon:


Martin Brunts, 40, School administrator from Salford

  1. “Dr.Strange”
  2. “Just booked the closest cinemas to me”
  3. “I think independent cinema can be quite boring, not enough explosions, ha… Erm, yeah, they just need to show more big films otherwise no one will go, hence I’m here (chain cinema) and not there (independent)”
  4. “Does anyone really watch independent cinemas? Give me superheroes and explosions any day over a drama about loving mushrooms or some crap like that”

I then asked the same questions to cinema goers at HOME, the independent cinema:

Kaylee Frye, 20, engineering student at University of Manchester

  1.  Don’t laugh… The Iron Giant, they’re doing a special screening and it was one of my favourite films growing up so I thought I’d watch it on the big screen.”
  2. “For that reason. No one else is showing it, which makes this place pretty cool. I’ve never been before but it’s nice, so I’ll see about coming again.”
  3. “I think independent films take risks because they don’t have to worry about making back millions of pounds, so they can be experimental with their plotlines. Compare that to mainstream cinema who spend vast amounts, following the same money making formula just because the last 5 movies they made about it worked out, just take a look at the Marvel Cinematic Universe, just sayin’.”
  4. “Yeah, I do. I mean think about it, are the big cinemas likely to show films from 15 years just because it’d be nice? Probably not, because that’s not where the money’s at. So it’s worth investing in somewhere that has a little care.”


Odeon, Printworks:

Boasting an impressive 23 screens, capable of showing 3D, including their very own IMAX screen, you can buy standard tickets at any of their front desk or self service ticket machines or splash out on an exclusive entertainment experience with the ‘VIP Gallery’ and ‘Premier seats’. Standard tickets are what you’d typically expect from a chain cinemas at about £10-£15 a ticket.

Refreshments come in the form of brand deal with Costa, and Bubbleology, Ben & Jerry’s etc. as well as their own concession stand where you can buy your classic popcorn. These concessions can be a little steep in price though as a way to fund the cinema and keep ticket prices lower, so watch out.


A much more humble cinema as it shares it’s space with theater and gallery space and bar/restaurant, only contain 5-6 screens on relatively small size, roughly a 9th the size of the Odeon Imax ones.

Ticket prices are considerably cheaper though with a standard ticket only costing between £5-£10 depending on the film


So whether you enjoy the cozier cinema experience at a smaller screening or the more lively spectacle of the big screen with hundreds of others, give a little thought for what the other is like now and then and maybe give them a try.


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