The Ultimate Picture Palace, Oxford's only independent cinema, is facing one of the biggest challenges in its 109-year history and we need your help. Due to COVID-19, our doors are currently closed and our exciting plans to become a community-owned business are on hold. We are planning to re-open in September, but without your help right now the cinema will run out of money by the end of October.
Since closing our doors on 16th March due to the coronavirus pandemic, ticket and bar sales which make up the majority of our income stopped overnight. However, we still have outgoings, with overheads while closed currently being £9,000 a month, for example rent, staff costs, and other essential service contracts.
The Government recently announced that cinemas in England can open from 4th July. Like many other independent cinemas, whose margins are tighter than multiplexes, we have decided to re-open in September. When we re-open, we will be operating with a reduced capacity of 20-30%, due to social distancing regulations. In addition to this, results from a recent audience survey confirmed that a sizable number of our customers (41%) only foresee returning to the cinema from September onward. Therefore, with a reduced capacity and fewer customers, it is not financially viable for the cinema’s public programme to re-open until the autumn.
By September the UPP will have been closed for nearly 6 months. We simply don’t have enough money to see us through such a long period of time with no sales. If we were to take out a bank loan, repaying this would put our future plans for community ownership at severe risk.
Recently the BFI recognised the immense value of The Ultimate Picture Palace to the national independent cinema sector and granted us £12,683 from their Covid-19 Resilience Fund. We have also been given a £10,000 small business grant from the government, but we still need your help to meet our shortfall.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
We need a minimum of £18,000 to ensure that we can survive this crisis and allow us to open again this September.
Instead of us relying solely on charitable donations, we’re inviting you to buy limited-edition merchandise designed by local artists as well as one-off special UPP experiences. This will give us the cash flow we need to survive the next few months.
By purchasing one of our rewards, however big or small, you will be:
- Getting Oxford's only independent cinema open again this autumn.
- Helping Cowley Road retain its identity as a thriving hub for independent businesses.
- Protecting the jobs, livelihoods and wellbeing of the 9 members of staff and 20 volunteers who run the cinema.
- Giving The Ultimate Picture Palace the best possible chance of successfully becoming a community-owned business next year.
IF WE DON'T REACH OUR TARGET?
If we don’t reach our target, then the UPP’s future is in jeopardy. Without additional funds, we will run out of money by the end of October. After that? The prospect of closing the business for good will be a very real one, and Oxford will no longer have an independent cinema to call its own.
Help us now and save Oxford’s home of independent cinema.
UPP Badge Set
Limited Edition UPP Mug
Limited Edition UPP Tea-Towel (image coming soon)
Limited Edition A3 Screen-print