Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Gennaro Castaldo Watch: The kid stays in the movie

Thank god for that: Having failed to turn up in yesterday's story about HMV opening cinemas in unused space above its stores, Gennaro Castaldo has finally caught up, telling the Irish Examiner:

"Obviously, it if proves successful, as we hope and believe it will, we can consider rolling the concept to other appropriate HMV stores in the chain, and it’s possible some of our larger stores could be considered — although it’s still very early days and I’d say that such a prospect is quite a long way off right now."

I'm no expert, but I suspect that Gennaro is less-than-excited about this idea because it was launched with his boss doing the summation for the papers.

The Examiner has more detail on exactly what HMV are planning:
The first 200-seater, three-screen cinema will open in Wimbledon, London, in autumn. It will be kitted out with luxury seats and an area selling films.

As well as showing new releases the cinemas, which will open at 9am, will screen films for local schools and could beam live music events from concert venues.

Access to the cinema will be through the HMV store during the day and there will be a separate entrance in the evenings.

I'm not familiar with the Wimbledon branch of HMV, but I'm surprised there's room for three screens (and three screens with 'luxury' seats, which tend to be larger.) I can't imagine there's going to be much room for many paying customers in these theatres.

Which makes me wonder if they're really going to be able to offer "new releases" - Stelios tried to break in to the cinema market, he had enormous trouble getting hold of the latest releases because distributors were less than keen on shafting their regular, massive customers by sharing new prints with small operators, especially one that was doing cut ticket prices. And if HMV has to charge the same as proper cinemas, why would you choose a place with a smaller screen?

It's great that HMV is trying to think of ways of staying afloat; it's just a little depressing that their ideas are starting to look like crazy, straw-grabbing crazy plans.


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