The Point, Milton Keynes
|Type||Mixed used leisure and cinema|
|Town or city||Milton Keynes|
|Current tenants||Odeon, Gala Bingo|
|Opening||23 November 1985|
|Demolished||TBC - Agreed 06/03/2014|
|Design and construction|
|Architecture firm||Building Design Partnership|
The Point is an entertainment complex in Central Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, England. When it opened in 1985, it included the UK's first multiplex cinema. Its distinctive mirrored crystal ziggurat shape is framed by external steel beams at each corner forming a pyramid.
In May 2012, the building's owners Hammerson announced proposals to demolish the building and replace it with a retail-based development. It was originally best known for the ziggurat-form structure of the front section, with red neon lights connecting the apexes at each side, so that it looked like a pyramid at night. On 6 March 2014 it was announced that Milton Keynes council had voted in favour of demolishing the point and the attached Multiplex Cinema.
As of 2012, The Point houses:
- Odeon Cinema
- Gala Bingo (located underneath)
- Milton Keynes Council (Youth work team; includes 'The Spot' youth café)
- The Point Kiosk
In the 1980s, cinema audiences were in decline nationally, due among other reasons to high ticket prices, TV channels and video recorders. Smaller cinemas were closing down as they were no longer economic to operate.
The Point opened in 1985 and included a 10-screen multiplex cinema, the UK's first multiplex. The first company to run the cinema was AMC Theatres in conjunction with Milton Keynes Entertainment Corporation (MKEC). A year later, the rights to operating this cinema changed to United Cinemas International (better known as UCI) but was still run in part by MKEC who took the profits from the ticket sales while UCI had the profits from the concession stands. The venue was an instant success and its opening caused, at least partially, the closure of the traditional cinemas in Bletchley and Newport Pagnell. In 1991, it hosted a royal première of Harrison Ford's Presumed Innocent and was attended by Sarah, Duchess of York.
The pyramid section of the Point on opening housed The Brasserie, The Croc Bar, a games arcade and a nightclub. A Bingo hall (Gala Bingo) underneath. There was a small newsagents outside the main entrance. In 1995, the owners of The Point refurbished the building and added a pizza restaurant (Deep Pan Pizza, later The Fresh Pizza Company), a health club and a bar/nightclub (Oasis, later Nexus).
Cinema audiences at the Point dropped steadily in the early 1990s. But by 2002, with the opening of the competitive (and more luxurious) multiplex at Xscape, run by UCI's arch rival Cineworld, the Point became a less important part of the centre and annual visitor numbers dropped to just over 1 million. This lost both revenue for the owners and mostly for UCI. In a drastic attempt to bring its building back to its former glory, ticket prices in UCI were dramatically reduced. This did not halt the slide in visitor numbers, dipping down to under 800,000. Admitting defeat, UCI announced in 2003 that its part of The Point was up for sale and that its workers would lose their jobs.
The cinema was rented out to the easyGroup, renaming the cinema as easyCinema.com. The ticket pricing was based on the EasyJet model with low headline prices (from 20p) for early bookers, then increasing according to demand. The foyer's popcorn, drinks and sweet stands were removed, replacing them with a vast empty space. Visitors were allowed to bring their own food. It showed films that had just recently finished their prime location runs and it did not rely on fixed showtimes. The business plan assumed that the operators could negotiate a fixed price for films (rather than a percentage per ticket sold), but the studios refused to negotiate on this basis.
Later ventures within the area included an easy Internet Cafe and an easyPizza pick up point. The cinema and business model was unsuccessful, in May 2006 the lease was not renewed and the company handed back the cinema to UCI which by then was owned by Terrafirma who also owned Odeon Cinemas and was renamed Odeon as were all UCI cinemas not closed or sold off .
United Cinemas International or UCI was now owned by Terrafirma along with Odeon Cinemas the UCI brand being dropped by Terrafirma in favor of the longer established Odeon brand. In May 2006, the site was refurbished and reopened as an Odeon Cinema.
- "Plans for Milton Keynes' Point building go on display". BBC News. 25 May 2012. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
- MK News, Plans to demolish The Point go on display. 25 May 2012
- JANUARIUS, M., "Multiplexes multiply" Leisure Management August 1991, pp.33-34