Magazine article Variety

U.K.'S Secret Cinema Is a Growing Hit

Magazine article Variety

U.K.'S Secret Cinema Is a Growing Hit

Article excerpt

THEATER OWNERS HAVE bemoaned declining audience numbers for years. So it might be a surprise to learn of one exhibitor that packs them in despite showing old movies and charging upward of $85 a ticket.

Secret Cinema has been putting on films in London since 2007. The latest, 1987's "Dirty Dancing," wrapped July 24 after six days of sold-out screenings that raked in $2.5 million. The company offers an "immersive'" interactive experience, with sophisticated sets, actors, and staged events. Audience members are encouraged to wear costumes.

For "Dirty Dancing," 30,000 attendees descended on an East London park that had been converted into a fictional Catskills resort. Decked out in'60s attire, they indulged in outdoor games and laughed at cheesy stage acts for hours before the film finally lit up the huge outdoor screen.

Some of Secret Cinema's previous productions have been even more ambitious. Its 2014 "Back to the Future" extravaganza re-created a '50s-era American town. Last year, "The Empire Strikes Back" wowed the crowds who sipped drinks in a version of the famous "Star Wars" cantina, and watched Storm Troopers, rebels, and assorted aliens mill about. …

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