Actor Robert Powell has come under fire for saying big cinema chains ‘only have themselves to blame’ if they’re forced to close during the pandemic.
The Dalziel and Pascoe star appeared on Good Morning Britain on Thursday to debate whether cinemas are ‘worth saving’ as Cineworld temporarily shuts its doors due to the pandemic.
Host Susanna Reid asked: ‘What about movie night date night?’
Robert replied: ‘I’m no longer really involved in that being of a certain age. No I don’t think they are [worth saving].
‘I think cinemas have only got themselves to blame anyway. It’s no experience to go and sit while somebody sitting next to you eating cheesy nachos.
‘This idea of eating in cinemas randomly and eating junk food as well because it’s not as if you’re delicately eating a salad. It’s not a great experience.’
Backtracking slightly, Robert said that cinema ‘is worth saving’, but that people much prefer to visit smaller venues such as the Electric Cinema in Portobello, and chains have to adapt to meet people’s needs.
The actor added that ‘television has overtaken cinema’ and the big screen experience can be recreated at home.
Viewers hit out on Twitter at his comments, arguing that watching at home is not the same, and many people need to get out when they can.
The Holby City actor was also accused of ‘utter elitism’ and wanting to ‘ban the common folk from the cinema’ according to one furious viewer.
‘The man against it seems to only be against it so that he doesn’t have to sit next to someone eating nachos Man shrugging it’s an industry that brings in so much money and is definitely worth saving’, another wrote on Twitter.
Another comment read: ‘Yes, Cinemas are worth saving. The atmosphere of watching a new film in a dark room and state of the art surround sound with a bunch of strangers and hearing reactions from the audience is what I, and (I guarantee) MOST people love most about the cinema.’
One viewer said: ‘Actor Robert Powell on @GMB #GMB says let cinemas die off. What is the main source of income for actors? How does the film industry survive?’
A further Twitter post read: ‘You’re wrong mate. The experience of cinema when you’re watching a summer blockbuster. With the picture, the sound, the atmosphere, hot dogs and sweets. You can’t replicate that at home. No matter how good your set up is.’
‘What a load of rubbish, Robert talking b******s. The cinema is a night out I didn’t go often but it’s a different experience to sitting in the front room’ said another.’
‘But there’s lots of cinemas like Screen on the Green and Electric Cinema, where you go to choose to have something to eat.
‘The problem with Vue is you can’t choose if someone is eating cheesy nachos.’
Robert put forward that cinema ‘has now become CGI’ and ‘television has overtaken cinema’.
‘Cinema is just about blockbusters and big movies,’ he said.
‘It probably is not as good to sit at home and watch that, but home cinema has altered, we have 4K , flat screens. And television can tell stories, it really can.
‘Let’s take Game of Thrones, you couldn’t have done that in the cinema, but it told a story over a long period of time. Cinema can’t in the same way, not anymore, television has overtaken cinema.’
His comments come as Cineworld is set to temporarily close 128 Cineworld and Picturehouse venues in the UK, raising concerns for the jobs of 45,000 people.
Good Morning Britain airs weekdays from 6am on ITV.
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