General manager Ashley Sutherland with staff and customers in the function room at the Shurland Hotel, Eastchurch
A new cinema is almost certainly coming to Sheppey.
The Shurland Hotel could be showing films one to four weeks after they have been released in the national chains.
They will be viewed in a function room inside the Eastchurch High Street site, which normally fits about 120 people.
The plan, however, is to have between 60 and 80 seats during screenings for a more “intimate” experience.
The hotel has already bought more comfortable bucket seats and a cinema-grade projector.
The screen will be smaller than a normal multiplex, measuring 3m high and 7m wide – an average one in the UK is about 9m by 21m.
General manager Ashley
Sutherland said the cinema is “95% there” and the premiere showing could take place as soon as mid-February.
The hotel already has a licence to show films, but it is waiting for permission from Universal, Paramount and other major studios to show their films.
Mr Sutherland said after Warner Brothers gave it the go-ahead on Wednesday, he is confident the others will follow suit.
He added: “There is a big market for it on Sheppey and I’m quite surprised that no one has thought of it sooner.
“There isn’t anywhere that shows anything that’s current nearby, and it’s a 50-mile round trip to go to the cinema if you live on Sheppey.”
He said ticket prices had not been decided yet, but added they would be cheaper than going to large chains to reflect the fact it is not the full cinema experience.
Mr Sutherland went on to say the length of time the cinema would have to wait to show a film after its release “depends on the title”, but would generally be one week.
He said: “For something like The Hobbit we would have to wait for the Odeons and the Cineworlds who have got first call, and then we would be able to have them a maximum four weeks after the premiere.”