Exeter Picturehouse vows to retain its "unique character" after Cineworld takeover
Cinema bosses have pledged it will be business as usual at Exeter's Picturehouse after the independent chain was sold to rival group Cineworld.
With 60 screens across 21 sites, including the Exeter cinema in Bartholomew Street West, Picturehouse has been acquired by Cineworld for £47.3m.
The company has built up a loyal following of cinema aficionados by screening a more diverse selection of films than is usually on offer at mainstream multiplexes.
And founder director Lyn Goleby, who will continue in her role as managing director of Picturehouse, has vowed that will not change now it is part of a bigger corporation.
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She said: "The Picturehouse cinemas, and all that we stand for, will remain as before and will operate as a standalone division of Cineworld.
"Everyone recognises that the success of this change depends on the unique nature of the Picturehouse Cinemas being protected; the programming policy will not change, the membership schemes will remain in place and the independent identity of the cinemas will be protected."
Picturehouse reported sales of £30.3m and a pre-tax profit of £2.5m last year. The company has plans to open in 10 more locations.
Stephen Wiener, chief executive of Cineworld, said: "We are delighted to welcome Picturehouse to the Cineworld Group. This acquisition gives us an opportunity to accelerate our growth by reaching new audiences in a high value and growing part of the market.
"We recognise that Picturehouse is valued by its customers and we look forward to supporting the business through the next phase of its development."
Ms Goleby added: "The opportunity to be part of a public company is great news for Picturehouse and our customers. We are known for our high quality city centre cinemas and our distinctive, wide-ranging programming.
"The unique character of Picturehouse cinemas will remain and our team will continue to bring the widest range of film to customers. This acquisition by Cineworld will accelerate the development of further Picturehouse cinemas around the country."