Here are the answers to some of the questions we are asked most often.
There have been many changes to how the cinema operates at this time. Please read our Cinema Reopening FAQ's before your visit.
How do I purchase cinema tickets?
You can buy tickets in person at our reception desk, over the telephone using a credit or debit card or book online. Once payment has been made in person or over the telephone, you will be given your ticket(s) or these will be available for collection from our reception or the cinema kiosk prior to the screening. For online sales, you will be sent an email confirming your booking – this is your cinema ticket(s) and you must bring this with you to the cinema.
For all options, please have your ticket(s) ready to show to the staff member on the door when you attend the screening.
If I have purchased tickets but can no longer make the show, what are my options?
Tickets are non-refundable once purchased. In some circumstances, they may be exchanged for tickets to another suitable screening – this is subject to availability and at the discretion of the Pickaquoy Centre management.
Click here to read the full Phoenix Cinema Terms and Conditions.
What provisions do you make for accessibility in your cinema?
We accept the CEA card, have three wheelchair bays, a disabled toilet in the cinema foyer, an induction loop and an infrared system offering hearing assistance and audio description on compatible films. We also run accessible film screenings every month, as part of our regular programme. Click this link to find out more about screening types and accessibility.
How long before the film do the cinema doors open?
The doors will usually open 15 minutes before a feature film’s advertised start time and 30 minutes before an event cinema screening’s advertised start time. For very busy shows, the doors will usually open 5-15 minutes earlier than these times.
What time does the film actually start?
Most of our film screenings will have adverts and trailers playing before the feature. These will usually start before the advertised start time of the show, and play for 10-15 minutes after the advertised start time. However, some screenings will have less adverts or trailers than others and some will have nothing shown before the feature at all and will start at their advertised time. Most event cinema screenings will start at, or close to, their advertised time.
To make sure you do not miss the start of a film or event, we would recommend that you always arrive at the cinema before the advertised time.
What food and beverage options are available?
The cinema kiosk is open before the film and has a wide range of sweets (including pick n mix), crisps, chocolate and ice cream on sale. Hot drinks, cold soft drinks and a selection of beers, ciders and wine are also available.
Also on site is The Picky Café, which offers a wide range of refreshments and food options until 1800 Monday-Saturday and until 1600 on Sunday.
Can I just sit anywhere in the cinema?
Our tickets have seat numbers on them, which allows groups to be able to book seats together and customers to book seats in their preferred area of the cinema ahead of the screening. If a show is busy, we do ask that people sit in their designated seats; the member of staff at the door of the cinema can help guide you to these when they check your tickets.
However, if a screening isn’t full and there are empty seats available there will be flexibility to allow you to sit anywhere that’s free. Please ask the staff member at the door of the cinema if this is possible when you arrive.
Click here to see the Cinema Seating Plan.
When is the film schedule published each month, and when can I book tickets?
Our monthly flyer is usually available the week before the previous month ends, but films and events are often advertised on our website sooner than this. You can buy tickets as soon as our films and events are advertised, unless otherwise stated. Click here to see What's On.
Why don’t you show films on their release dates?
Film distributors’ terms for showing films in cinemas can be very strict. For example, to show a blockbuster film on its release date we would usually have to sign an exclusive contract to show it at least twice a day for a minimum of 2 weeks, and often we would not be allowed to show any other films, or be restricted with what else we can show, during that time. The further away from release date you screen a film, the more flexible these terms become.
Because we only have one screen at The Phoenix, we usually show films 3-6 weeks after their release date, because this is when the distributors allow us to book films for fewer days and screenings (the exact terms and when we can screen a film is arranged on a film by film basis). We also have to take into account how many different films and events we want to book, and make sure these will work around each other. This allows us to show as many films as possible and put on a wide range of screenings that will appeal to different people throughout the month.
We do occasionally show films on their release date (and it's quite exciting when we do!), but can only consider this for films which will appeal to a wide audience of all ages, which are likely to be popular enough to justify the number of screenings we would need to put on. This has previously included film franchises such as Star Wars, The Hobbit, Lord Of The Rings and the Harry Potter films.
Who decides what films you show and at what times?
When planning our programme each month, our cinema team look at the films coming out and take into consideration which films are getting good reviews and the kinds of films that have been popular here in the past. We try to include a good mix of genres and films for all ages, so that we have a schedule that will appeal to as much of our community as possible. We also take into consideration any suggestions we’ve had from the public, so if there is a film coming out that you are excited about please get in touch and tell us!
Our show times and number of screenings are based on anticipated demand, and when we think the audience for that film will be most likely to come and see it (eg. family films are most popular at weekends and during school holidays). Where possible we will have both daytime and evening shows available for all our films, and include accessible screenings and show times that fit in with isles boat times when we can. Every screening has to fit in with the other films and events showing that month, so a film’s running time and any set start times for event cinema screenings, etc. have to be taken into account. We also have to follow any restrictions placed on us by distributors, and make sure we leave enough time between screenings for cleaning and setting up for the next show.
It is a bit of a jigsaw each month to get the right balance, but if a film proves more popular than anticipated we will always try to schedule extra screenings. Customer feedback is important when deciding what to bring back, so please do tell us if you would like to see a film or event again.
Why are some films never shown in your cinema?
Unfortunately, with only one screen it is not possible to show every film that is released in cinemas. On average, 15 films per week are released into cinemas in the UK. The Phoenix shows an average of 15 films per month (plus our live theatre, opera and ballet event screenings), so there are always going to be some we cannot fit in.
What does a film’s age rating mean?
Like all cinemas in the UK, the Phoenix follows the guidelines and age classifications set by the British Board of Film Classification.
This is a legal requirement of our licence and must be strictly followed. This means we cannot allow babies in arms or teenagers who are ‘nearly old enough’ into 15 or 18 films, even with parental permission. For 12A films, children under 12 years old must be accompanied by an adult for the entire film. Photo ID can be requested by staff as proof of age either when tickets are purchased or when you attend the film, so please always bring this with you to the cinema to avoid the disappointment of being turned away. For more information see Film Classifications.
How do I know if a film is suitable for me and/or my family?
The BBFC publishes information on every film classified in the UK, which offers a summary of why a film was rated at any given category. We recommend reading this, and that you view online information including the film’s synopsis and watch a trailer to get a feel of it is right for you, before purchasing tickets. You can search for films and their Ratings info on the BBFC website. The BBFC have also produced a Parents' Guide to Classification.
Responsibility for assessing a film's suitability for a child always remains with the parent or guardian, as long as the legal age ratings given to any film or event are followed.
What age is a child ticket for, and who is eligible for concession prices?
Child ticket prices apply to 15-year-olds and under. We don’t charge for babies in arms (under 2 years old). Concession prices apply to anyone who is in full time education, over 60 years old, or anyone in receipt of certain benefits.
Do you have any membership offers, or discounts for families?
We have an annual membership, which costs £290.40 (£24.20 per month) and includes unlimited 2D and 3D film screenings. We also offer a multi visit card, which gives you 10 tickets at our concession price. (These are not valid for event cinema screenings.)
At weekends, we offer a Family Ticket, which gives a discounted ticket price for groups of four (maximum two adults) – please note this offer is only available when buying tickets through our reception desk (either in person or over the phone) and is not available online.
We also run monthly Phoenix Kids screenings, which are family-friendly films with all tickets only £2.80. The low cost makes these a great way to introduce little ones to the cinema for the first time, or just see a good film for less money – maybe more than once!
Is there a loyalty scheme?
Yes, our Cinema Loyalty Cards give you one free cinema ticket after nine tickets are purchased. The free ticket cannot be used for any event cinema screenings and only applies to regular 2D & 3D film shows; however, you may collect loyalty stamps when purchasing tickets for event cinema screenings. We are unable to provide a loyalty card for event cinema screenings due to restrictions set by the providers.
Can I hire the cinema out for a private screening or event?
Yes, we can arrange private screenings of films for groups, and also hire out the cinema for conferences and other events. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss any of these options.