Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

Some readers, tweeters and people at the cinema have asked me lately about the Dukes. I realise that sometimes this blog focuses on the wider picture, and that stuff that goes on down at the cinema might be of interest to y'all (as they say in Texas).

So I thought I'd give you a brief update of what's going on down at the Dukes lately.

For starters, 2009 was a pretty good year for us. We sold about 110,000 tickets, which for a single screen cinema is not only not bad, it's way above average (50,000 for a single screen). We won the Brighton and Hove Business Award for Best Customer Service second year in a row, we raised loads of money for Picturehouse's water charity in Niger, enough cash to save our clock, and some money for a beleaguered little cinema in Central America.

On a more technical note, the transition to digital really came together this year for us, with our ads and trailers arriving in USB pens instead of reels, and about 80% of the films we showed coming off our HD projector. This has changed our work practices significantly, with Jimmy (who's been here 30 years!) remaining our only full time projectionist, and the Duty Managers, including me, filling in the rest of the hours.

Christmas was a real revelation for us as we counter programmed against AVATAR with family friendly, seasonal stuff like IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, WIZARD OF OZ and THE RED SHOES and did great business. Then two smaller but really popular films, NOWHERE BOY and THE WHITE RIBBON (which hadn't played anywhere else in Brighton) opened. So there is room for everyone on this boat.

Our dearest Monica had a baby. She's called Maya and is very cute. Abi and Jonathan were promoted to Duty Managers and a whole new team of Front of House Staff joined, so you've probably seen some new faces behind the counters. I hope they were all smiling!

I'll post more updates and stories as they come along. If there is something about the cinema you are particularly interested in, please let me know.


  1. Brilliant stuff, thanks Jon. And big love to Monica, Maya, and all the new faces at the Dukes. You don't know how wonderful you are!


  2. Another fantastic year of Cinema at the Duke Of York's! For me, a decent Local Cinema is as essential as Good Friends, Good Food, etc. (If anyone's ever in Northamptonshire, they should pay a visit to The Forum in Weston Favell - northampton.gov.uk/film - my sanctuary during 10 Years in "exile")
    Digital Cinema is a bigger leap forward than 3-D, in my opinion (even though, I know, they come hand-in-hand.) For this reason, Public Enemies was arguably more important than Avatar.
    The digital re-issues of The Godfather and Once Upon A Time In The West were the highlights of my film-going year - however good the new movies were. Please keep this up!
    Great Coffee, too...