Cineworld has snapped up the arthouse cinema chain Picturehouse, owner of the Ritzy cinema in south London and the Phoenix in Oxford, in a deal worth £47.3m.
The deal – which will make Picturehouse's co-founder Lyn Goleby a multimillionaire – unites two very different cinema chains, with Picturehouse's films catering for an older, more highbrow audience while Cineworld's mass-market multiplexes tend to attract 18- to 24-year-olds interested in the latest 3D blockbusters.
Cinemagoers at the Clapham Picture House, south London, on Thursday night did not welcome the news. Rachel Smith, who lives locally and takes her children to the cinema, feared it would become less independent. "I think it's awful," she said. "Cineworld is big and faceless and cold. The Ritzy and the Picture House are not like that at all. The staff have really good film knowledge and are warm and personable.