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A blockbuster year ahead

Created on 20/01/2012 @ 17:04


As the film industry enters its awards season, Newtown’s very own big screen – the Regent Cinema – has teamed up with mynewtown to prepare for a blockbusting year ahead.
With cinemas set to usher in an expensive digital era and faceless multiplexes opening up seemingly by the month, never has it been more important to support your local cinema and with a year of massive films approaching, we will play our part by keeping you informed.
Every Thursday, we will post the following seven days of films on the site and alert our growing army of Facebook and Twitter users as to what’s on.
It is almost one year to the day that Richard Thacker took over the Regent to join Welshpool’s Pola already under his family name, which has enjoyed a rich historical connection with cinema in Montgomeryshire.
“It has been an incredible year and we are indebted to the support of the town and surrounding communities,” said Richard, who now runs the cinemas with his partner Wendy Lee and with the support of his son, Simon. “The Regent means a lot to the Thacker family. We are a small, family run business so the introduction of multiplex cinemas has made it a tougher environment for cinemas like ours but we are looking forward to the challenges ahead.”
Those challenges include the inevitable introduction of digital technology and finding new ways of ensuring the town knows what’s on just down the road instead of travelling, and spending twice as much, watching the same films in Shrewsbury.
“We are very conscious that times are tough and money is tight so we reflect that on our ticket prices which are among the lowest in the country,” said Richard, whose father had been a mainstay at the Pola since joining from school in the 1950’s as a projectionist and met his mother Nancy there who was working in the, then, Pola Milk Bar.
And a little research shows he is right. Regent prices are £4.75 and £3.75 (Under 12 and senior citizens) compared to £8 and £6 in Shrewsbury. Throw in cheaper pop corn, soft drinks and minimal travel costs and a family night at the movies is almost 50% cheaper on our doorstep.
Being ‘small’ and independent means that offers like the 2-for-1 Orange Wednesdays are simply not practical but the rack rate still makes it tremendous value anyway.
With a season of blockbusters including Mission Impossible, The Iron Lady, War Horse, Sherlock Holmes and the new Twighlight film, 2012 looks set to be a busy year at the box office. But what films have provided their most memorable moments over the years?
Titanic!” says Wendy who admits to “knowing every word” while they both recall Mama Mia “had them dancing in the aisles”. But Richard recalls the impact that one lesser known film had on the area.
“The Hugh Grant film The Man who went up a hill and came down a mountain was filmed in Llanrhaeadr and hired a lot of local people for key roles and parts as extras. I remember the excitement of people pointing themselves out on the screen or someone they knew,” he said.
Films have been shown in the town since the 1930’s when it was known as the Scarlett Cinema and it has changed hands several times until its current name and guardians. These days it has 176 seats in its main theatre and 42 in the smaller screen two.
Keeping the cinema going is tough work and relies on the support of a small team of dedicated people around the clock, but Richard and Wendy admit it has its many rewards.
“When I see people leaving with smiles on their faces and talking about the film they have just watched it makes it all worthwhile,” said Richard.
Look out for what’s on at the Regent through our Thursday alerts