Widnes’ new cinema multiplex welcomed more than 1,500 visitors through its doors over the weekend after opening to the public on Friday (14th October).
The five-screen, fully-digital Reel Cinema is the second attraction to officially open at Halton’s new leisure park, The Hive, after Widnes Superbowl opened in September.
To celebrate the opening, local children from Simms Cross Primary School were yesterday (17th October) treated to a private screening of The Lion King in 3D.
The children, aged between 8 and 11 years, have been heavily involved in the development project with activities including the burial of a time capsule on the site now marked by a plaque in the pavement.
Leader of Halton Borough Council, Cllr Rob Polhill, said: “The school is an enthusiastic supporter of The Hive project with the children getting really involved and following its progress as part of their learning, so it is great that they have been invited to share in this very special occasion.”
Reel Cinema was officially launched late last week with a glitzy VIP event to mark the national Reel brand’s 10th anniversary.
Some 200 people were joined at the black-tie champagne and film premiere event by the Mayor Cllr Keith Morley, Cllr Rob Polhill and the Managing Director of the Reel Group, Kailash Suri.
Speaking at the event, Mr Suri, said: “Ever since our first visit to Widnes we have found it to be a really welcoming and community focused town. The new leisure park is ideal here and brings together something for everybody.
“With Reel Widnes and Superbowl open and other attractions to follow shortly, The Hive is set to become an entertainment destination, not just for the local community here, but for the wider area as well.”
Cllr Polhill added: “I am absolutely delighted that the cinema is now open. This has been a vision of the Council, and Cllr Tony McDermott in particular, for many years, and it is very exciting to see it come to fruition.
“Halton seems to be bucking the trend with the investment and jobs this development has created, and I think it is going to become a regional attraction putting Halton well and truly on the map.”
Cllr Polhill also thanked Council officers and members, Michelle Taylor of St. Modwen, and Mr KC Suri for their commitment and perseverance over the years.
Reel Cinema has so far employed 30 new staff at the multiplex. The Widnes cinema is Reel’s first venture in the North West and its success is likely to lead to further investment from the independent brand in the region.
The £10 million Hive Leisure Park scheme has been developed by the UK’s leading regeneration specialist St. Modwen, in partnership with Halton Borough Council.
Development Manager at St. Modwen, Mike Hosie, said: “This project is set to be a great success for Halton. This scheme is 100 per cent pre-let and it’s fantastic to see the attractions opening and visitors starting to enjoy all that is on offer.
“The completion of the development is yet another big milestone in the regeneration and transformation of the Widnes Waterfront area.”