ECA View: Staying ahead of the event cinema game

What’s in store for the Event Cinema Association? The newly appointed managing director, Grainne Peat outlines the future vision and priorities of the Association.

The event cinema sector has so much to offer — and an increasingly diverse range of content is testament to that commitment to deliver cinematic experiences to a diverse and growing cinema audience. Once again, box office takings in 2018 for event cinema are strong and stable, with solid takings for “An American in Paris”, “NT Live: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”, “Muse: World Drones Tour” and, more recently, “André Rieu in Maastricht”. The latter of these is now currently the highest grossing event cinema title of 2018, having taken over £1.5million in UK box office. It’s a vibrant sector. The Event Cinema Association (ECA) is keen to stay ahead of the trends and to push the boundaries on what can be achieved.

The ECA was welcomed back to CineEurope with our biggest presence ever. This included a dedicated Event Cinema Focus Session, as well as several targeted member seminars. On the trade show floor, the Event Cinema Focus Session ‘Jump-Starting Event Cinema’, featured a panel of knowledgeable industry figures, including Josep Maria Farras (FC Barcelona), Katrin Mathe (CGR Events), Simon Rees (Cineplace), Miguel Rivera (Cinepolis Group) and Gabriel Swartland (Movio). Moderated by Celluloid Junkie’s Patrick von Sychowski, the panel looked beyond the arts to examine next steps to grow the event cinema industry, as well as how technology and brand partners may help engage new customer groups. The session was introduced by ECA board member and VP of event cinema at Cineplex Entertainment, Brad LaDouceur with a keynote speech on the status of the sector worldwide.

This worldwide presence is certainly one the association will continue to harness and grow. The ECA will establish a programme of keys events designed to give the association a structured and global outlook. The association will also look at how it can refresh the annual conference and seek opportunities to work more collaboratively with colleagues from across the industry, including working more closely with the UKCA, UNIC and NATO.

Vitally important is to stay informed about global market opportunities — there is so much to be learnt from sharing experiences from other territories. It’s time to start exploring fresh conversations around event cinema and it is essential to build and present the business case for the sector. The ECA will start collecting global data and case studies to showcase and champion the growth of this category in terms of box office and availability, and also to help identify and inform future opportunities. A key aim will be to strengthen communications and marketing of the category. The ECA wants to build better engagement with cinema operators and distributors and also to have stronger front-facing public engagement with audiences.

There is so much potential for the association and I join at a challenging time. The ECA will host its annual slate day in November, which will be the perfect opportunity to get a glimpse of some of the exciting content to hit screens in 2019 and to learn more about the ECA’s future plans. I am keen to meet members and event cinema advocates as I can. Email me at