Blade Runner: why won’t cinemas show it?

There's going to be a cinematic release of Blade Runner: The Final Cut in the UK! But - what's this? - only five cinemas are going to show it? Shame on us...

Harrison Ford in Blade Runner

This Christmas, home cinema fans are going to be able to see a seminal science fiction movie  for the first time in all its digital glory. Blade Runner is seen by many as the perfect sci-fi film, a movie way ahead of its time and the piece of cinema history that kicked off the entire genre of cyber-punk, and influenced hundreds of films with its dark brooding scenary, futuristic cityscapes and dark and gritty streets. As such it will be a pleasure to see the film once again on DVD (or of course Blu-ray and HD DVD). And with the added footage, digitally remastered sound and image and a few little tweaks here and there, we will finally be able to see Ridley Scott’s vision of the future in all its neon glory, in perfect (or near perfect) quality.

However no matter how good your home cinema system is or how crammed of extras the five disc set is, there is still the cinema purist in you that would love to see the film on a big screen. And here is where the problem lies – the need for more digital projection and the lack of cinemas actually showing the film on its release. For a country that supposedly cares about cinema as much as Great Britain, then the release of this film is somewhat of an embarassement. According to a leading sci-fi magazine, the film will be released  in just five cinemas and for one week only. So if you are lucky enough to live in Brixton (Ritzy) , Edinburgh (Cameo), Cambridge (Picturehouse), Tyneside or Liverpool (Picturehouse)  then congrats, that’s where the film is going to be shown. But for the rest of us I’m afraid we will  not be seeing a digital head nor hair of Deckard and co at our local multiplexes. Conspicuous by its absence is our second city. That’s right, it appears that Blade Runner: The Final Cut won’t even be shown anywhere in Birmingham. We are sure that this cannot be down to it being solely shown as a digital projection, as surely Birmingham has the ability to project digital somewhere such as the UGC on Broad St or even the soul-less behemoth that is Star City with its 30 screens (however after their last showing of Blade Runner a few years ago I wouldn’t personally let the projectionist anywhere near anything more complex than a teasmaid). Then of course there is a big IMAX cinema which seems to miss out on all the big releases and relies completley on the out of date Imaz showreel film and a repeat showing of The Polar Express. Not even the Midlands Arts Centre, with its newly refurbished cinema (complete with digital projection) has it on its books for the foreseeable future. We cannot understand it, Beowulf is being projected digitally in numerous cinemas around the country, so there are a lot of multiplexes with the facility to do so. So why can’t we see the ultimate cut of Blade Runner back in its ultimate home, on a big screen? Any answers would be greatly appreciated.