Take the origin of the name ‘odeon’ literally and you start to imagine a radically different way of marketing cinemas.
Small Greek theatres in which dramatic artists submitted their works to the public for approval. The idea of cinemas as theatres is a simple but directive one. Theatres and cinemas share so much but differ so widely.
They are both places where drama unfolds. Places of consumption for art and entertainment, festivals of spectacle.
Places of more intimate connection with the content of the film screen… or stage.
But theatres have identity. Their names, locations and histories mean something; The Adelphi, The Old Vic, Haymarket, Palladium, The Globe…
Cinemas, originally housed in the famous homes of their theatrical forebears also enjoyed this sense of identity. Now that is largely lost, save for ‘Everyman’ and a few others.
But the exact location at which and within which, an audience consummates it relationship with the screen should matter. The magic of the screen should not just be reserved for the screen itself but through all those glorious, often ritualistic moments leading up to, during and after the screening itself.
The cinema is as important as the film. Perhaps more. The showings of every cinema should feel like a curation. The experience of visiting an individual cinema must be be more than that for any chain- Tesco, Nando’s or All Bar One.
Films are unique experiences, the places that facilitate them should be also.
Showing films is not the definition of the market cinemas are in. They are much much more than that.
And to mean more and be more important to consumers, there is a need to think more imaginatively about the nature of the magic that comes before the screen, to build cinemas as brands, as powerful as the films they project.