Eastbourne’s Curzon cinema has announced its final curtain call after it says business has been ‘killed’ by the new multiplex at The Beacon.
The independent cinema in Langney Road says it will not make it to its 100th birthday next December, and will instead close at some point after summer 2020.
House manager Salam Niwa said it was ‘very sad’ but the smaller cinema can simply no longer compete – with some screenings having only a handful of people showing up to them.
He told the Herald, “The new cinema has killed us. We are still going to be here in Easter and summer but not after then.
“Two weeks ago there was no one here one evening, three screens were empty. We closed at 8pm which we never do.
“One Saturday night there were only four people in a 500-seat screen for a big film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. It’s very sad.”
The new eight-screen Cineworld opened in the second floor of the multi-million pound shopping centre expansion on July 12 this year. On the same day, the Cineworld at Sovereign Harbour Retail Park closed.
Salam said, “Our regulars said they would keep coming but they haven’t. Young people don’t come any more.
“We had been planning to stay open until next Christmas as it’s our 100 year anniversary, but we are not going to reach it. The rent is killing us, and the heating. We have been struggling.”
But the manager wanted to thank loyal customers. He said, “Thank you to everyone who has been supporting us.”
The cinema first opened its doors as the Picturedome on December 21, 1920. It had 1,100 seats and showed silent films such as A Man’s Flight, The Swindler, and Mr Wu.
It was forced to close during the Second World War when a bomb hit Marks and Spencer opposite on December 18, 1942, and the entire street had to be closed.
Despite this, it survived the war without much damage. Then in 1966 the cinema was acquired by the Classic Cinemas circuit and became The Curzon.
It was closed the following year for major modernisation and in 1970 celebrated its Golden Jubilee.
Around this time the cinema was split into three screens, which it still has to this day. Roy Galloway took over the cinema in 1987.
It is the longest surviving cinema in Eastbourne.
• Research about Curzon’s history from Temples of Dreams: An affectionate celebration of the cinemas of Eastbourne, by Peter R. Hodges.