Hampstead cinema-owner Daniel Broch has just acquired the Screen chain.
Changes are afoot in the North London cinema scene. In a deal worth £7 million, Daniel Broch, the man behind Hampstead’s Everyman cinema, has taken over the Screen chain, which includes the Screen on the Hill in Belsize Park, Screen on Baker Street and Islington’s Screen on the Green.
The 40-year-old businessman pledges that the popular Jewish Film Festival will continue to take place at the Screen on the Hill, but he is promising innovation at the chain, which he believes is in need of some fresh ideas after the retirement of former owner Romain Hart, who had been running them for the past 30 years.
“I’m looking to invest in technology and develop systems like online reservation and ticketing via mobile phones,” says Broch, who has successfully transformed the Everyman into a venue which stages talks, live music and acts such as New York’s Metropolitan Opera.
“We’re not just in the film business, we’re in the hospitality business,” says the Edgware-born ex-property entrepreneur, who bought the Everyman in 2000. “We have got a thriving events team. Comedy is something we are looking at and, believe it or not, kids’ comedy. Our idea is to make the cinemas real social destinations.”
But will Broch’s takeover mean the ticket prices at the Screens will rise to match the £12 charged at the Everyman? “We won’t charge that much in the short term. What we do in Hampstead is different to what we now do in the Screen sites. Once we start upgrading the facilities, and as the value and experience grows, the price we charge will grow,” he declares.