Retailer HMV, Curzon join forces

Joint exhibition venture expected to launch in fall

LONDON -- U.K. movie, music and games retailer HMV is dipping its toe in the exhibition/distribution waters, joining forces with cinema operator/distributor Curzon Artificial Eye to show movies in select stores.

Dubbed hmvcurzon, the joint operation will launch at an HMV store in London, with a screen and digital distribution equipment installed.

The exhibition plan, which follows the retailer's move into live music venues, is expected to debut in the fall, employing non-trading space on the London store's second floor.

"Millions of film fans visit HMV's high street stores each year, making them an ideal destination for this new type of cinema experience," HMV Group CEO Simon Fox said.

Fox said the partnership with Curzon Artificial Eye indicates "our commitment (at HMV) to getting our customers even closer to the film and entertainment content they love."

The hmvcurzon venture aims to operate as many as three screens with a combined total of more than 200 seats, a joint statement said.

CAE brings cinema programming, venue management and operating expertise to the table.

The screens will be equipped with the latest digital technology, removing the need for projection boxes, helping to optimize space and enable flexible and diverse program scheduling.

CAE chief Philip Knatchbull said the venture will "expand the cinema experience beyond just film programming by interacting and reacting to our customers' interests and desires, and providing them with a wide range of film and entertainment in an intimate and high quality environment."

CAE is an art house and foreign-language distributor in the U.K., with a library of more than 200 films. Curzon Cinemas owns and operates five high-end cinemas across the capital with a total of nine screens.