Edinburgh’s Cameo cinema and the Belmont in Aberdeen have changed hands as part of a £47.3 million deal with Cineworld.
The art-house venues are part of the 21-strong Picturehouse chain, which will operate as a separate business within the Cineworld group and continue to be run by the existing management team.
Opened in 1914 as the King’s Cinema, the Cameo is one of Scotland’s oldest surviving cinemas and took its current name following a refurbishment in 1949. It appears in Sylvain Chomet’s 2010 animated film The Illusionist, based on an unproduced script by French actor and director Jacques Tati. Cineworld is paying £47.3m in cash for the Picturehouse business, which made a pre-tax profit of £2.5m on sales of £30.3m last year, and Cineworld chief executive Stephen Wiener said the deal would give it access to “new audiences in a high value and growing part of the market”.
The group will also buy Picturehouse’s distribution arm, which has a number of releases under its belt since launching in December 2010, including award-winning documentary The Imposter.
Wiener added: “We recognise that Picturehouse is valued by its customers and we look forward to supporting the business through the next phase of its development.”
Picturehouse is led by co-founder and managing director Lyn Goleby, who was a major shareholder along with the Arts Alliance and investment firm Albion Venture Capital.
Goleby said: “The opportunity to be part of a public company is great news for Picturehouse and our customers. The unique character of Picturehouse cinemas will remain and our team will continue to bring the widest range of film to customers.”