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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 May, 2003, 12:26 GMT 13:26 UK
Hundreds snap up 20p cinema seats
Stelios Haji-Ioannou
Entrepreneur Stelios Haji-Ioannou is behind the plan

Some 1,200 film fans have bought 20p cinema tickets online in three days, in the first round of "no frills" seats offered by discount firm Easycinema.

The company is cutting admission costs by asking customers to book on the internet days and weeks in advance.

It described as "promising" the early interest shown in its first cinema opening for business in Milton Keynes on Friday.

Easycinema is trying to strike a deal with the major Hollywood film distributors to show the latest blockbusters at the same time as traditional cinemas.

The Point cinema, Milton Keynes
The Milton Keynes cinema will employ 12 staff
It wants to pay distributors a flat rate in order to show the so-called "first-run" films for an agreed period.

Unless it can reach agreement it will be restricted to showing second-run films - not made available until some weeks after their initial release.

Its opening titles for Friday include Bulletproof Monk, Evelyn, The Heart of Me and L'homme du Train.

Easycinema, run by Easyjet airline entrepreneur Stelios Haji-Ioannou, says its website has sold the 1,200 seats in three and a half days of online trading.

The company has leased a loss-making 10-screen cinema in Milton Keynes from the UCI chain as its test venue for the project.

It plans to charge between 20p and 5 per film, with an average price of about 1.50, depending on what day and time of the week the film is shown.

In line with its no-frills policy, refreshments will not be on sale - instead, customers are encouraged to bring their own popcorn.




SEE ALSO:
Cheap films legal battle looms
14 May 03  |  Entertainment
"No-frills" cinema comes to town
07 Apr 03  |  Beds/Bucks/Herts
Net cafe settles over music rights
09 Apr 03  |  Entertainment
Easyjet profits soar higher
26 Nov 02  |  Business


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