Frequently asked questions about the BFI and ODEON concession agreement
What is the relationship between the BFI and ODEON?
ODEON – the largest cinema group in Europe and the BFI have a concession agreement for ODEON to operate the BFI IMAX at London Waterloo.
Why did the BFI put the running of BFI IMAX out to tender?
The BFI has a very broad range of management responsibilities, increased by taking on some of the UK Film Council responsibilities and, in line with many other organisations, less money to carry them out with. We are therefore seeking to identify areas where an effective commercial partnership can make it more cost efficient.
The income from the BFI IMAX is a significant sum of money and contributes directly to the running of the charity. Securing this income and so reducing its risk, when public funding is reducing, is a further important driver.
How did the BFI decide that ODEON was the best partner for this concession agreement?
The BFI has carefully selected ODEON, following a rigorous tender process, as its new partner in order to boost its commercial offerings and safeguard its income through a guaranteed revenue stream. The quality of the BFI IMAX operation is currently very good, but there are economies of scale that ODEON has that the BFI cannot match – for example: the marketing reach and capital funding capability, as well as economies of scale on distribution costs and costs of concession.
Why has ODEON partnered with BFI IMAX?
ODEON is passionate about film and encouraging the development of the UK film industry, they are therefore delighted to be partnered with the BFI and supporting its worthwhile charitable causes. In addition, ODEON is very excited to be able to offer both ODEON and BFI IMAX guests the very best service and selection of films on the UK’s biggest screen.
How does ODEON support the work the BFI does?
The concession agreement safeguards the BFI’s income through guaranteed revenue, helping to sustain the BFI’s valuable work across the UK. In addition, ODEON is supporting key BFI initiatives and seasons through its channels.
Do BFI and ODEON have opposing ethoses? Has the BFI compromised its independence with this arrangement?
While the two organisations are of course different in many ways, they are two of the biggest and longest established film brands. Both organisations place the audience at the heart of what they do and this partnership will support initiatives to actually enhance the customer experience. Given ODEON’s reach across the UK, the partnership is also important in helping the BFI reach a wider audience in all regions of the UK – an important priority in the BFI’s new Future Plan for Film.
When is the new concession agreement with BFI IMAX effective from?
The concession agreement is set to begin on 19 July 2012.
How long is the partnership with ODEON?
The new concession agreement is began on 19 July 2012, with a fixed term contract of 5 years with an optional termination break at the end of year 3. During this period the performance of the cinema will be regularly reviewed against agreed criteria to ensure that the quality of the cinema operation is maintained.
What changes have occurred to the BFI IMAX under ODEON management?
The cinema continues to be called the BFI IMAX, remain BFI IMAX branded throughout and continues to offer film fanatics the biggest cinema experience in London.
The retail and bar offer has been updated to include a Costa coffee shop and Yog frozen probiotic yoghurt bar.
The cinema benefits from being added to the ODEON website and booking system and guests can access film information via the iPhone App.
Will the BFI have any involvement in how the cinema is run?
The contract is for a concession operation. This means that the BFI have a significant say in how the cinema is run. Quality of visitor experience, especially quality of film projection and sound, is very important to the BFI and we have formed a partnership that can deliver a high quality operation not the cheapest operation.
Has BFI IMAX been converted to a digital IMAX format? Will there be any reduction in the size of the screen?
We installed a brand new screen in July. The new IMAX screen was made in Canada and once unpacked it took a team of ten strong riggers to haul the 800kg of perforated vinyl up the full 20 metres height of the screen under the supervision of an IMAX engineer.
It took 48 hours for all the creases to drop out of the new white screen. During this time a purpose-built spray rig was installed. A laser control ensured that the spray gun was always an exact distance away as it made its way up and down the screen, spraying a special silver paint that will ensure that light is reflected in straight lines off the screen. It is silver because a white screen would refract the light and this would cause ghosting of the image.
During these two weeks, an IMAX 3D Digital projector was also installed alongside the IMAX film-based 3D projector, so that the BFI IMAX now has the option to present all IMAX DMR films. The plan will be to show 70mm film prints whenever available until IMAX unveil their brand new laser-based projection system that can fully take the place of 15/70 film.
Will there be price increases?
There have been modest ticket price increases implemented from 4 July 2012. The previous ticket price review was in April 2011.
Will there be any additional charges?
A card handling fee of £0.75 per ticket is charged to all customers for online and telephone bookings. This fee applies to the first six tickets booked (maximum charge is £4.50 per transaction).
Are BFI IMAX gift vouchers still accepted?
Yes, BFI IMAX gift vouchers will still be accepted for a 12 month period.
Is the cinema still available for corporate hire?
Yes, BFI IMAX is still available for corporate hire as part of the ODEON contract.
Will ODEON’s loyalty and rewards scheme ODEON Premiere Club (OPC) be introduced at the BFI IMAX?
The introduction of OPC will be reviewed during the next 3 months.
Have there been any redundancies as a result of the concession agreement?
ODEON have retained all BFI IMAX staff with no plans for redundancies.
I am a BFI Member. Does this affect my benefits?
No, we will continue to honour all BFI Members’ benefits at BFI IMAX.
A limited number of tickets are reserved for BFI Members and Champions for every IMAX screening. Book them in person or by telephone up to 24 hours before the day of the screening. BFI Members and Champions also enjoy £1.50 off full priced IMAX tickets booked by telephone or in person.
Will I still receive BFI IMAX emails?
If you’re a subscriber to BFI IMAX emails you’ll need to sign up to the ODEON mailing list to receive regular news on upcoming releases and booking information.