The View from the Projection Box with Ritz Cinema (Belper) projectionist Paul Winfield...
Just a year ago when I was writing the first of these features for All Things Local, it was great to report that over 50,000 people had visited The Ritz. Now with the latest figures I have show that the success has continued with over 100,000 admissions since we opened - so from all of us at The Ritz - a big, big "thank you".
What a year 2008 has been. Here are just a few personal memories:
The first 'Ritzy Awards' in June, our own version of The Oscars, when the red carpet and our guests arriving in evening dress brought a little bit of Leicester Square to King Street, Belper. I also remember my hangover the following day - but that's another story! We were amazed that so many of our 'Ritzy' award winners emailed us from around the world saying they would visit The Ritz when they were next filming in the UK. There were people singing and dancing in the aisles during the run of Mamma Mia! Just the other week, the audience were leaving the cinema stunned into silence after watching the last few minutes of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.
So what can we look forward to in 2009? Well a few films caught my eye. FIrstly, Valkyre, a thriller based on actual events as German generals hatch a plot to assassinate Hitler at the height of WWll, Tom Cruise stars.
A new Woody Allen film is always an event and Vicky Christina Barcelona, a romantic comedy set in Spain stars Javier Bardem, Scarlett Johansson and Penelope Cruz. Spring and early summer sees the start of the blockbuster season with Star Trek Xl; Ben Stiller returns in Night at the Museum 2. There's a new Terminator film - Christian Bale stars as John Connor in Terminator Salvation.
There's also Ice Age lll and the much delayed Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince along with our usual mix of other films. We hope there's something for everyone.
So from Amanda & Neil, Catherine, myself and all The Ritz boys and girls - have a safe and happy Christmas and a great 2009.