IMAX screen coming to Blackpool as cinema deal agreed

Developers have signed a deal to bring one of the largest IMAX screens in the country to Blackpool as part of a £6m cinema experience.

By Shelagh Parkinson
Monday, 1st August 2022, 10:13 am
Updated Tuesday, 2nd August 2022, 10:03 am

The immersive screen, which will be 10.8 metres high and 19.8 metres wide, will be the centrepiece of the cinema currently taking shape in Tower Street as part of the £21m extension to the Houndshill Shopping Centre.

Read More

Read More
Work begins on £21m extension to Blackpool's Houndshill Shopping Centre

Called the Backlot Cinema, it will boast nine screens in total, 850 luxury seats and the Backlot Diner which will occupy restaurant space in the scheme.

David King, vice president distribution IMAX, coun Lynn Williams and John Sullivan, owner of Backlot Cinema and Diner.

A deal was signed with the council on Friday July 29 confirming the IMAX screen would be part of the offer, and it is hoped to open in about 12 months time.

The new 22,500 sq ft Wilko home retail store will also be housed in the phase two extension, and is due to open ahead of the cinema.

Alessandra Pavan Bernacchi, vice-president of theatre development at IMAX, said: “We’re thrilled to see this ambitious project come to life and to bring the IMAX experience to new audiences in the Blackpool area.

“We’re excited for movie goers to experience the latest blockbuster films in this new state-of-the-art IMAX theatre, which is sure to become a destination for premium entertainment and events in the community.”

The Houndshill extension taking shape

John Sullivan, founder of Backlot Cinema said: “The backlot of a film studio is at the heart of the film making process – it’s where the action really happens and where creativity is allowed to flourish.

"It seemed an entirely appropriate name for this thrilling entertainmenthub which we couldn’t be more excited to be bringing to this vibrant town.”

Work on site is on schedule with steelworks taking shape to build the structure that will feature groundbreaking IMAX with Laser technology, as well as IMAX 12 channel sound technology.

Mr Sullivan said it would cost around £6m to fit out the cinema once the building is handed over.

Artist's impression of the Backlot Cinema

He said: “Blackpool’s IMAX screen will be in the top 10 per cent in the country in terms of its size.”

He added plans included providing screens for e-sports, film clubs and live theatre streaming as well as showing blockbuster movies.

Blackpool Council leader Coun Lynn Williams said: "“We are delighted to welcome IMAX and Backlot Cinema to the Houndshill Shopping Centre as it will be a major draw for residents and visitors to the town centre.

"For the town centre to prosper we must continue to provide new reasons to attract residents and visitors and to extend the time of visits into the evening with more entertainment and leisure choices that the whole family can enjoy.

"The new multi-media cinema complex will provide something brand new for our residents combining a state-of- the-art cinematic experience but also the availability of new flexible creative spaces that many that many artists and businesses will also be able to benefit from.”

Investment in the extension includes £5m of funding from the Government’s Covid-19 Getting Building Fund, with the council funding the balance of the £21m scheme through prudential borrowing.