Vue International (otherwise known as Vue Cinemas, and stylised as vue), formerly SBC International Cinemas, is a British multinational cinema company operating in the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Italy, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Taiwan. The company was founded in May 2003 by the acquisition of Warner Village Cinemas by SBC and the subsequent rebranding of the business as Vue.
|Founded||1999 (as Spean Bridge Cinemas)|
June 2003 (as Vue)
|Founder||Timothy Richards (CEO)|
Number of locations
|228 sites and 1,989 screens|
As of 2018, the company has 228 cinemas and 1,989 screens internationally, including in the United Kingdom 271 3D screens, 11 Extreme Screens, 7 Gold Class screens, 3 Scene Screens and Bars, and 3 IMAX screens.
The parent company Vue International expanded through a number of acquisitions, including the Ster Century chain, Apollo Cinemas and Multikino. In June 2006, Vue's executive team completed a management buy out with the backing of Bank of Scotland Corporate, taking a 51% stake in the business and buying the four remaining Warner Village sites it had been operating under contract from Village Roadshow.
The company was bought by the private equity firm Doughty Hanson & Co in 2010. In June 2013, Doughty Hanson & Co announced the sale of the company to the Canadian firms Alberta Investment Management Corporation and OMERS for £935 million.
The company's original slogan was entitled Enjoy the Vue, was used from its opening in May 2003 until February 2010, when the company adopted 'the future of cinema' as its slogan to mark the opening of their Westfield cinema. Thereafter, in October 2015, the company decided to have a makeover, and – with a new rebranding – renamed the slogan as Big Screen Entertainment, respectively. The slogan has remained the same since then.
Every cinema is open everyday except Christmas Day. The company operates a policy of all cinemas opening 15 minutes before the first film of the day, meaning that local cinemas usually open at about 10:30 am, whereas more major cities like Birmingham, the West End, and Manchester open at 10 am. Seasonally, all cinemas are open from 8.30 am if a big blockbuster is on during the Christmas and New Year season, alongside school holiday periods.
All cinemas close at between 1 and 3am everyday, except Christmas Day, unless a film requires overnight screenings, or a live event is being broadcast to their cinemas.
The company was founded in 1999 by Stewart Blair, a former executive of United Artists Theatres and Tim Richards, a former executive of Warner Bros. International Theatres. The company was original named Spean Bridge Cinemas after a holiday to the Scottish Highland village of the same name by Stewart Blair.
The first cinema to open was under The Circuit Cinema brand in Livingston, Scotland, on 5 October 2000. The company was later renamed as SBC International Cinemas and opened cinemas in Faro, Portugal (closed in 2014) and Taipei, Taiwan (still operating as SBC)
In May 2003, when SBC bought Warner Village Cinemas from Warner Bros. for £250 million. At the time, SBC owned four cinemas, and Warner Village Cinemas owned 36. In April 2005, the chain acquired the Ster Century chain from Aurora Entertainment; this included the highest grossing cinema in the United Kingdom or Ireland at Liffey Valley Shopping Centre in Dublin, Ireland.
On 20 June 2006, Vue's executive team completed a management buy out of the company with the backing of Bank of Scotland Corporate; the management team retaining a 51% stake. Also, as part of the buy out, Vue took full ownership of the four Village sites it had been operating under contract from Village Roadshow. The private equity firm Doughty Hanson & Co acquired Vue in November 2010.
On 13 September 2011, Vue opened their biggest cinema in the United Kingdom at the new Westfield Stratford City. They had previously opened at Westfield London in 2010. Vue bought the company Apollo in May 2012, retaining 14 new sites across the United Kingdom, making it the third largest cinema company in the United Kingdom, behind Odeon and Cineworld.
By 2013, it was reported that Vue had 143 cinemas. In May 2013, Vue Entertainment acquired Multikino, the Polish cinema operator owning thirty cinemas with almost 250 screens in Poland and Baltic countries.
In June 2013, Doughty Hanson & Co announced it had sold Vue to the Canadian pension funds Alberta Investment Management Corporation and OMERS for £935 million. In November 2014, Vue International acquired 'The Space Cinema'. In August 2015, Vue International (Vue) acquired JT Bioscopen ("JT") the second largest cinema chain in the Netherlands, bringing Vue's number of sites to over 200.
In June 2018, Vue acquired the Irish operator Showtime Cinemas, adding a further two cinemas to their estate in the United Kingdom and Ireland, now totalling 89 cinemas.
Vue's multiplexes vary from 4 to 30 screens. Each cinema is run by a team consisting of one general manager assisted by between two and five other members of the management team. The general manager has general control of the running of the cinema at site level, while assisted by the other members of the management team.
Team Leaders act as duty managers and are responsible for the operational running of a cinema on a shift basis. Customer Assistants serve guests throughout the cinema and report to the management team.
All cinemas have a dedicated projection team, responsible for the running of the "box" and the maintenance of the projection and sound equipment. The technical manager has overall responsibility, supported by a Senior Projectionist. They are accompanied by a team of two to four full or part time projection staff, some of which can also share duties with the standard operation of the cinema.
However, all Vue sites are now fully digital, and therefore ran by the management team, or Technical Manager.
Vue completed the rollout of the Vista Entertainment Solutions integrated Point of Sale software to every site in 2006. Prior to this the majority of Vue cinemas ran the WaBITS ticketing system, developed in house in London by Warner Bros. International Cinemas.
This was an internal system used in all former Warner Village cinemas until 2007, when the division responsible for development was closed owing to the sale of the remaining joint venture cinema chains. WaBITS continues to be used in Japan by Warner Mycal Cinemas who now own the rights to the system.
The new system enables customers to buy tickets at any retail point in the cinema as well as online through the company website. Vue were the first major cinema operator in the United Kingdom to implement this "single point of sale" concept. The implementation of this system in all of the locations means that none of the Vue cinemas now have dedicated box offices, All transactions are now carried out at automated ticketing machines and retail stands.
In May 2004, Vue purchased the Premiere Cinema in Accrington for £850,000. It then carried out refurbishment work at the four screen complex. By April 2005, the cinema was making profits for the first time.
In October 2015, Vue cinemas opened in Farnborough  and planning permission has been approved for an eight screen venue on Elizabeth Street and Westcott Way in Corby. In the end of 2015, Vue Cheshire Oaks & Leeds were upgraded to be the first two cinemas to have IMAX screens.
Vue built the United Kingdom's first eSports arena in cooperation with Gfinity, costing £350,000. The Fulham Broadway cinema was converted into a six hundred seat 'Gfinity Arena,' to host e-gaming events  On 14 April 2017, it was announced that Vue had acquired the twenty screen Odeon Printworks complex in Manchester. This would add an additional IMAX screen to the companies estate. The cinema opened under the Vue brand on 24 May 2017.
- Clarity Partners: Vue Entertainment Announces Management Buyout
- Doughty Hanson buys Vue cinemas
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- Vue Entertainment buys Polish Multikino
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- "Premiere Cinema sold for £850,000". accringtonobserver.co.uk. 27 May 2004. Retrieved 18 October 2017.
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- "It's a box office hit". lancashiretelegraph.co.uk. 21 April 2005. Retrieved 18 October 2017.
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- Bainbridge, Pete (12 May 2017). "Vue announce opening date for Printworks cinema". men. Retrieved 9 April 2018.