IF you’ve ever sat in a cinema wishing you could change the movie to something shorter, funnier or with fewer subtitles, your chance may have come.
Bosses at Oxford’s Phoenix Picturehouse are giving the public a chance to pick which flicks they will show.
Ourscreen offers private or public screenings of more than 200 classics and cult movies.
People choose a date and time and share it online. If enough tickets are booked then the curtains open on the chosen film.
A screening of Bill Murray comedy classic Groundhog Day is already earmarked for next month for the two-screen Walton Street cinema, which can cater for 192 people.
Cinema staff voted to host a screening of the 1993 film. Now 40 more people need to buy tickets priced at £8.50 before September 21 for the planned September 29 screening.
Other movies available include An American Werewolf in London, Badlands, His Girl Friday, The Breakfast Club, Evil Dead and The Big Lebowski.
General manager Martin Langley said: “It’s the opportunity to make the cinema yours, to show what you want and to share it.”
Forty more people are needed for a screening of Groundhog Day
He said the project could be used to celebrate an event or raise awareness about a topical issue.
For example, a screening of the 2014 asylum drama Leave to Remain was organised by film consultancy company Together Films after they used Ourscreen.
Advances in technology also now mean it is easier for cinemas to show older movies.
Films used to be shown on expensive prints which would deteriorate over time but cheaper, digital copies now arrive in small boxes in pristine clarity.
The number of tickets which need to be sold for a screening to go ahead varies for each film.
The ticket threshold is determined by the price set by film distributors and the percentage Ourscreen directors take for providing the service.
When the Picturehouse chain was bought by Cineworld in December 2012, some were concerned the Phoenix would lose its edge as an arthouse cinema.
But Mr Langley said it had not seen a drop in customers and welcomes 1,000 to 3,000 a week for up to 70 screenings.
Live concert streams and video Q&As with directors are also helping to bring people to the movies, he said.
The Ourscreen project is also being run at Picturehouse venues including London and Henley.
To get involved, visit ourscreen.com
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