Blockbuster Announcement: Rumours of Sunderland cinema return

Written by on 11th March 2024

Cinema chain Omniplex is looking for a general manager in Sunderland after the council signed a lease with a new cinema operator.

Despite Sunderland’s film industry advancements, including plans for a major film and TV studio, the city remains without a multiplex cinema.

There has been no official news on the new owner of the former Empire Cinema in Sunderland, although Omniplex recently posted a job advertisement for the area.

This news has raised hopes among film fans that a cinema may open soon under the Irish cinema chain.

Ian McPake, a Senior Lecturer in Broadcast and Digital Media states: “A cinema is colossally important, it works on many levels, it helps to bring people in the community together and if you don’t have a cinema, it keeps people apart so for many reasons we must have a cinema.”

As Sunderland continues to evolve as a hub for film production and education, the need for a cinema becomes increasingly apparent.

Ian added: “It’s strange, the region is doing very well in terms of the studio that’s going to get built. The University had the number one film production degree in the country last year, but at the moment there is still no cinema in Sunderland, so we’re hoping and praying one opens soon.”

Since the closure of the Empire Cinema in July 2023, moviegoers in Sunderland have had to travel to Dalton Park or Boldon for access to multiplex cinemas.

Soon, residents will no longer need to venture beyond the city limits to enjoy the magic of the big screen.

When quizzed on the potential new operator a City Council spokesperson said: “Further news and an update on the Sunniside cinema operator is due to be made shortly.”

This statement, together with the Omniplex general manager advertisement, implies that efforts to fill the cinema deficit in Sunderland are underway, and there is optimism for immediate improvement.

Established in Ireland in the early 90s, Omniplex operates many cinemas across the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and has since branched into mainland UK.

Those interested in viewing the job advertisement can do so here.

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