The Point, Milton Keynes
|Type||Mixed used leisure and (former) cinema|
|Town or city||Milton Keynes|
|Current tenants||Odeon (Closed 26/02/15), Gala Bingo|
|Opened||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. The front part of the building has a distinctive mirrored crystal ziggurat shape, framed by external steel beams at each corner, joined at the apex. Originally it had red neon lights connecting the apexes at each side, so that it looked like a pyramid at night.
In May 2012, the building's owners Hammerson announced proposals to demolish the building and replace it with a retail-based development. On 6 March 2014 it was announced that Milton Keynes Council had voted to approve the application. On 26 February 2015, the Odeon cinema to the rear of the building closed, in preparation for the demolition. Historic England commented that it was "in essence, a large industrial shed unit" and refused to recommend the building for listed status.
As of 2012, The Point houses:
- Odeon Cinema (Closed 26 February 2015)
- Gala Bingo (located underneath)
- Joint Civil Aid Corps - adult/youth charity based on emergency services support have their HQ on the ground floor (Since September 2015).
- 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). After opening similar multiplexes across the country, in 1989, AMC sold up 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, as well as a Bingo hall (Gala Bingo) in the basement. 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).
The opening of Xscape in 2000 was to mark the beginning of the decline of The Point's fortunes. Xscape featured a more lucrative, state-of-the-art 16 screen multiplex, operated by Cineworld. With the two cinemas virtually in close proximity to one another, it soon became apparent that The Point just couldn't compete. Xscape quickly took the vast majority of The Point's cinemagoers, and in 2003, UCI abruptly left Milton Keynes, deciding to rent out the cinema part of the building in order to continue to honour its lease with the complex's owners.
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 encouraged 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 Terra Firma 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 AMC Cinemas along with Odeon Cinemas the UCI brand being dropped by Terrafirma in favour of the longer established Odeon brand. In May 2006, the site was refurbished and reopened as an Odeon Cinema.
Despite the high-profile presence of Odeon, this couldn't halt the continuing decline of visitors. In 2007, both the pizza restaurant and nightclub closed due to a lack of business. These remained empty for many years, before becoming a YMCA funded cafe and a Connexions careers office respectively. By 2009, the illuminated lights on the pyramid no longer lit up at night, signalling how much of a less importance it had become in recent times.
Cinema closure and planned demolition
In 2012, the Point's owners Hammerson, launched proposed plans to restructure the building as a new shopping and leisure complex, and asked for feedback from public in an open consultation. The plans were largely protested by some, given the building's history. An application to give the building listed grade II status was rejected.
In 2013, Odeon announced plans to relocate to a new, 11-screen complex, complete with MK's first IMAX screen, in Denbigh, directly next to Stadium mk, in a joint partnership with Milton Keynes Dons.
The Point's cinema closed for the final time on 26 February 2015, nearly 30 years since its opening. The last ever film to be shown in the cinema was Kingsman: The Secret Service. Odeon's new cinema, officially known as 'Odeon Milton Keynes Stadium', opened for business the next day.
The building is now[when?] formally slated for demolition, but an exact date for when it will commence has yet to be scheduled.
- "AMC CINEMAS® BRINGS THE MULTIPLEX TO THE UNITED KINGDOM". Archived from the original on 4 January 2015. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
- "How multiplex cinemas saved the British film industry 25 years ago". theguardian.com. The Guardian, UK. 25 November 2010. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
- "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
- Milton Keynes The Point demolition and development approved - BBC Beds, Herts and Bucks, 6 March 2014
- Why is the UK still knocking down historic cinemas?. 21 August 2015
- JANUARIUS, M., "Multiplexes multiply" Leisure Management August 1991, pp.33-34