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A let er from Roz


elcome everyone to the Winter edition of Pulse. As we reflect on 2012 and what an amazing last few months we’ve had, it is great to remind ourselves, what a fantastic Industry we work in! Amazing films have brought customers in by the thousands which has been hard work but rewarding too. It has been great to welcome customers who come every week as well as those who rarely come to the Cinema. A huge thank you to you all for reminding them how exciting and enjoyable a trip to our Cinema is and nothing beats watching a film on the big screen. Next year continues to be a huge challenge but an exciting time for us all. Other Cinema chains are recognising that the customer experience is paramount to their success so we will continue to push our standards ever higher. We will focus on making it as effortless as possible for customers to enjoy a film, so that we are the BEST and only choice when visiting a Cinema! Enjoy your magazine and have a great Christmas and New Year

Roz xx

Join me in welcoming the following members of our team this quarter: Bishops Stortford Lily Mahoney Melinda Cherry Scott Bowen

Great Park Bradley Hudson-Grant George Humphreys James Jiggins Jamie Smith Luis Mead Sam Hopkins Thomas Bristol

Swindon Alexander John White Greg Satchell Heather Bowyer Jack Hannis Kayla Nicole Fyfe Kieran Farren Lee Francis Neil Saxon Rebecca Martin Summer Paige Rowland Produced by: BA (Hons) Magazine Journalism and Feature Writing Editor: Charlotte Webb Deputy Editor: Linzi Radwell Staff Writers: Sarah Abrahams, Gemma Clapp, Catherine Earp, Alec Malloy, Gary Peters, Charley Ward, Sophie Westrope. Designers: Chelsea Allen, Sam Ribbits, Harry Smith

Slough Rupinder Bains

Sutton Adam Arfaovi Andrew Furlong Andrew Northrop Monica-Alima Teodorascu Samantha Cameron Simon Beale

Newcastle Lisa McHugh

Poole Liz Baldock

The Empire Jimmy Tham Karolina Pavlovic Mary Ward Mattia Revelant Peter To Stefanie Bartlog

Contentswinter 6-7









8 9 10-11 12-13 14-15 16-17

20-21 22-23 24-25 26 27-33 34-35






THE ANSWER? For some time now at Empire we have been pushing the idea of a film quiz that brings together all Empire cinemas to unite in some friendly and healthy competition!


nd, on November 15 it finally became reality as the thinking caps were donned and pens grasped at in klanticipation. Empire Basildon staged the event, after a combination of efforts from Katherine Guinane, the assistant film booker at Empire Head Office and Phil Peirce the general manager of Empire Basildon. As Empire strives to provide customers with the best possible customer service, we thought giving our staff a quiz would be an apt way

to increase their film knowledge at site level, therefore giving them a greater skill set which they can use when talking to customers. It is also a way of giving those who don’t participate in Empire’s annual football tournament a chance to come together as a group in a working environment and to share experiences. Katherine Guinane said: “We hope to use this first one to launch the idea and then use the feedback we receive afterwards to tailor

Meet the


Quizzers with Attitude


Bromley Badboyz


The Angry Birds


Justice League of Poole


Quizteanna Aguilera


Wyld Stallions


Limited Knowledge

................................................Bishops Stortford

The Midlands

....................Sutton Coldfield & Great Park

Quiz Team Bale

..............................................Hemel Hempstead

Quizzy Rascal


Empire Strikes Back

................................Empire Leicester Square

Weyland Yutoni


Les Quizerables

.....................................................High Wycombe

Token Effort ...........................................................Head Office

Pie Eaters ........................................................................Wigan


PULSE FILM QUIZ the concept. We then can make it even bigger and better next year. I hope that staff can look forward to this quiz every year and enjoy the time they have. “We had positive feedback when promoting the idea and the head office team was very supportive. We had a range of subjects in the quiz, including actors, poster tag lines, and soundtracks. There were five members per team who were selected after we sent a round one quiz to everyone. When coming up with the idea we had to sit down with staff to discuss the plan, its aim, dates and budget. We also then had to do our research to prove we knew what we wanted.”

“I hope staff can look forward to this quiz every year!”

And the winner is...

127 pts! Les Les Quizerables Quizerables

Film Quiz Standings

High Wycombe

Quizzers with Attitude Justice League of Poole Quizzy Rascal Limited Knowledge The Angry Birds Quiz Team Bale Wyld Stallions Bromley Badboyz Quizteanna Aguilera Token Effort Weyland Yutoni Empire Strikes Back The Midlands Pie Eaters

107 107 99 98 98 96 95 95 93 89 84 81 78 70

Last but not least...

Pie Eaters Wigan



Making Cinema Unique

Empire Leicester Square is the first in the UK to install Dolby ATMOS sOUND technology to further improve the customers viewing experience.


mpire Leicester Square has proven once again that we at Empire are entirely committed to being at the forefront of technology. Screen one of the cinema is so far the only place in the UK where you can experience Dolby ATMOS; a new and enhanced sound system. Across the summer the screen, which traditionally assigned to premiere usage, became a building site when scaffolding was put up and the walls and ceiling filled with holes. The room has since been decked out with 14 overhead ceiling speakers, 14 in each wall and an additional 14 extra amplifiers added to projection. Andre Mort, Technical Director, who over saw the install of the new system, made the following quote: “It offers 3D sound effects and immerses you completely in the film,” he said. “Like if for instance, a helicopter flies off in the footage, the overhead speaker

system makes it sound realistic, like it’s really hovering above you. It’s truly incredible.” The first film to be shown with the new sound system is set to be ‘Life of Pi’ long-awaited premiere, which will truly allow customers to lose themselves within the viewing experience. The Dolby ATMOS system uses a time code that links up the picture and the sound together. The main server and the ATMOS Server (RMA) are linked together by time code using a black box of tricks. This really shows the dark side of technology. This new development in sound makes going to the cinema a unique experience again for our customers. The prospect of full immersion in the film offers viewers a real escape. The fact that you can be blown away by the sound shows that nothing can beat a trip to the cinema; staying at home just won’t be able to compete now.


Over 25 new speakers have been installed to enhance screening.

The speakers are linked to the picture by time code




What is your job role? I am currently general manager at Empire Bromley, one of the oldest cinemas in the Empire family. What is the typical day for you? My days and times vary depending on the films that are out and the business levels that we are expecting. As a smaller cinema, my day will often include organising the cinema by looking at our stock ordering, planning our film schedule, meetings with the local town centre manager and making sure that the staff rota fits our expected business levels. What is the best thing about working at Empire? I enjoy the variation in my job and can honestly say that no two days are ever quite the same. I particularly enjoy meeting and dealing with the public, who can be both challenging and fun in equal measure. It is nice to have the support of a company that believes in the value of good customer service as much as I do. I am excited to see where the new training that Empire has developed will take us. How can Empire continue to evolve with ever changing technology? I feel that by understanding what the customer wants and needs, we can continue

to develop the service that we offer and stay ahead of our so called bigger competitors. We have already listened to what they want and developed ideas like Orange booking on-line and a premium coffee offer well before anyone else. Digital cinema will of course be a big step, but it is the smaller, more personal touches that can set us aside from the opposition. What makes Empire different? We are smaller than most of our competitors, but we use that to our advantage by being able to adapt and

change more quickly. We also give a more personal service and I think that we offer and appreciate great guest service far more than anyone else. Our Saver days are a great example of us giving the customer what they want and at a price that they can afford. How do you unwind after a long day at work? I like to unwind after a long day at work by meeting up with friends.

INTERESTING FACTS: Upcoming films you are looking forward to? Les Miserables Favourite film of all time? Wizard of Oz Favourite actor? Patrick Swayze, Tom Hanks, Ben Stiller, Cameron Diaz Favourite cinema snack? Chocolate of course!

A special thank you to TONI HANDS for sparing the time to talk to PULSE Magazine. WINTER 2012 | PULSE MAGAZINE | 09


es are rewarded ye lo p em ire p Em t a th nt It is always importa s are a way to rd a w A E er lv Si e Th . rk o ut for all of their hard w and shared througho d se ni g co re is is th t a make sure th Empire.

d a e t s p m e H l e m e H Holly Cottingham


emel Hempstead is home to one of our newest Silver E’s, Holly Cottingham. She was nominated by her manager, Alex Marks, for her customer service skills, for always being proactive within the business environment and her infectious ‘can do’ attitude. “I genuinely enjoy coming to work and think that this is reflected in my interaction with customers. I want to do that little bit extra to make their experience better, even if it just a cheerful smile,” Holly said, explaining her nomination. Holly was speechless when she found out in a team meeting that she was to receive a Silver E for her hard work. “Everyone started clapping out of the blue and I didn’t know what was going

on,” she said, laughing. “My General Manager, Richard Conian, then handed me an envelope and asked me to read it out. I read the first line saying that I had been nominated and I was bowled over. In the end one of my managers had to read out my nomination as I was in too much of a daze!” The award was presented to Holly in Hemel Hempstead’s foyer by National Operations Manager Andy Bush. “Being given the award was made even more special having the whole team around me,” Holly said. “I can’t thank my manager Mike and Empire Hemel Hempstead enough for nominating me. Winning the award has given me a massive boost and encourages me to continue to try and offer the best possible service and to be the best team member I can be.”

“It was a big shock!”

Perry Bartlett

Perry Bartlett – Bromley


aving worked at Empire Bromley for 15 months, 20-year-old Supervisor Perry Bartlett’s hard work and excellent customer service has not gone unnoticed. He was shocked to discover he was to receive a Silver E, an achievement he has been striving for since he joined the company. “I received the call telling me I had won the award when I was shopping in Bromley High Street. When I saw that it was my General Manager Toni Hands calling, my first thought was that they needed me to cover a shift!”

Perry explained. “I was extremely happy to be nominated though, as big a shock as it was.” Perry received a Silver E due to his commitment to delivering the Big E to every customer that enters the cinema. He was awarded it in Empire Bromley’s foyer by Operations Director Paul Baxter and Regional Support Manager Adel Smith. “I am very thankful to all of my management for nominating me and for training me to be the next Silver E,” Perry said.




y m r o f d e g d e l w “To be ackno s i t n e m t i m m o c hard work and ing!” l e e f e c i n y l l a e r a Stephanie Gray

m a h g in m ir B , rk a P t a re Stephanie Gray – G


eat Park was tephanie Gray from Gr E on behalf of nominated for a Silver public who the of ers various memb management to wrote to her cinema’s ent customer service. compliment her excell cinema for less than Having worked at the ievement for the a year, it is a great ach ed the award in Great 20-year-old, who receiv stomer Experience Cu m Park’s busy foyer fro and a number of other Manager Lisa Rowland cinema managers. ers went out of “I’m thrilled that custom e on the customer servic their way to comment e, ani ph Ste d ,” sai they received from me a team member this as t tha es nis og rec o wh al to ensure customers excellent service is vit experience they can. have the best Empire

If you love your job and take pride in all you do, are passionate and caring towards customers, it could be you!

to be acknowledged Stephanie was surprised job, as she feels for her dedication to the managers deserve all of her colleagues and being excellent role for recognition themselves models. nager, Leon Fairbank, “When my General Ma n nominated for bee informed me that I had very grateful,” and d ase ple a Silver E, I was great award to win and she said. “It is such a my hard work and to be acknowledged for e feeling.” nic lly rea commitment is a ers of staff who mb me all nk tha “I want to rk Pa for their influence work at Empire Great now help more of my and support. I hope I can ver E’s themselves so colleagues become Sil for their dedication to they can be recognised the job.”



Bishops Stortford What a fantastic evening at empire, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. A friendly girl who spoke very highly about Swan Lake greeted me, she handed me a programme and informed me of the interval times and was taken directly to my seat. She was full of enthusiasm and seemed very knowledgeable. I was extremely impressed with the whole running of the screening and how professional your staff where. I even had the door held open once the performance had finished by the young lady I pervious mention. I was sceptical because it a completely different atmosphere to the theatre itself, yet you managed to capture the magic you would get when going to the theatre. This is down to the great customer focus and attention. It was a successful evening. Sue Davis

This quarter has seen a record number of compliment letters so here are just a few of my favourites. They’re a great example of us helping customers in different ways, ensuring the Cinema experience is as stressfree and enjoyable as possible. Thank you everyone for delivering such great experiences; I’ve highlighted a few of the key words/phrases mentioned by customers which are a great reminder of what we strive to do every day.

Roz xx

Newcastle Clydebank 1 stressed mum, 6 kids, 1 car, 5 return journeys to cinema and back… What could have turned into an even more stressful day didn’t all thanks to a lovely member of staff named Lynn, who came to my rescue on two occasions today. Just wanted to pass on my sincere thanks and to let you know she is a credit to Empire Cinemas. Charon Hart


The staff are great. My husband is disabled and they always go that extra mile for him. They help him up the stairs, enquire as to his health, and engage in general nice comments and conversation. We don’t always get this, so I am making a point in complimenting you on your staff. Please, keep up the good work, it makes our cinema experience even more enjoyable. Thank you. Judith Trotter


Birmingham Great Park

After trying to book tickets online for almost half an hour last night I decided to turn up to the cinema and try my luck (assuming the movie I wanted to watch would be sold out). I explained to your staff member behind the counter of my difficulties and he apologised. He was very helpful and welcoming, making my overall cinema going a very pleasant one, I wanted to make sure I told his management team of how happy I was with my customer service. His name was Daniel Hurst, please send him my thanks and note what a credit he is to your company.

I would just like to thank staff at the cinema for the way they handled a problem with one of the screenings of James Bond: Skyfall on Monday 5th November. The staff at the cinema recognised the problem and stood in front of everybody and explained what the problem was. Over the space of about 20 minutes the staff kept everybody informed as to what was happening. As the problem could not be rectified in an appropriate amount of time, they moved us to the next screen with upgraded seats. They also presented everybody in the screen with a voucher to visit to a film of their choice for free. I thought this was excellent customer service. Special recognition should go the middle aged female, who was possibly a supervisor, for the way she handled the customers.

Zoe Tsoi

We are extremely proud to have Amy on our team and in fact all the team mentioned on this page Bishops Stortford When I came to watch the Dark Knight Rises it was quite busy, however a young lady (Amy Mitchell) helped me buy my ticket on the self-ticket machine. Whilst waiting she told me about your cheap days on Tuesday and Senior day on Wednesday, and after the film had ended she politely asked how the movie was. You should be extremely proud to have her as part of your team. It is experiences like this, which make you want to tell all your friends and come back.

From a happy customer. Mr Westwood

Hemel Hempstead We have just been to your parent and baby viewing - it was fantastic thank you ever so much. The staff were really kind and helpful throughout our time at your cinema. Emily Summers

Maggie Smith



Empire Cinema’s Job Swap scheme encourages staff members to experiment with new roles and try their hand at exciting tasks. This time round two employees from different cinemas, Bishops Stortford and Newcastle, came together to join the film-booking department for one day only. Kris, Empire Newcastle’s resident Team Member and Charlotte, Operations Assistant at Bishops told Pulse how their day went.

What did your day involve? This involved checking IBOE to see how all films have performed in the UK in all Empire Cinemas. I had the privilege of watching a movie and helping decide which films would go to each site for the following Monday.

What was the most rewarding part of your Job Swap? I have to say I really enjoyed all of the day. I’ve worked for Bishops Empire for 5 years and this was

tte Name: Charlo Crampin erations Job Role: Op Assistant

my first chance to see what happens behind-the-scenes at our headquarters.

How will your day with the booking team help your own job role? I feel it is now important to ensure that my team at Bishops start to watch the films Rob sends down to us. We also need to give a lot more feedback to Head Office on the popularity and success of films at our site.

How did you feel at the end of your Job Swap? I very much enjoyed the experience and I’d do it again if I had the chance. I found it amazing and was glad that had the chance to do it and learn more about Empire. I’d enjoy working behind-the-scenes at Leicester Square.



What did you have to do? The bulk of the day was spent learning how a variety of different programs worked and what they did within the booking department. I was also shown the event timetable and how events are booked in along with how the Empire Juniors and Seniors is organised.

What did you enjoy? All of it! It’s an opportunity that others should really try out if they get the chance. It really is a testament to the booking team to have created such a professional and business focused workplace that also leaves room to have a laugh.

What surprised you?

not expecting due to the calibre and importance of the work being done.

How will your day with the booking team help your current role? The main aspect from the trip down to Head Office that I will take away with me is the appreciation of what goes on behind closed doors to make the cinemas we work in, deliver the films the public want to see. The environment may have felt relaxed and office banter was high, but there was always this professionalism about and the workload was far greater than I’d anticipated.

Overall how was your day as a booking member? I was wary on the train ride to London as to how the day would pan out but I left Head Office with a grin on my face. I had a great day and learned just how beneficial high office morale is with such a busy schedule in the booking department. I also discovered Film Focus a trailer reel that goes out on a Thursday with all that week’s new releases, and I shall be heading to my management scheme to discuss how to get more people to see it. It’s brilliant!

Name: Kr i

s Mason

Current P os Team Me ition: mber

I never expected things to feel so relaxed and that was interesting to see. The team were all so welcoming and while I was shocked to be going to watch a new film first thing in the morning I soon realised it wasn’t as glamorous as it seems; the film was awful to endure. Rob explained how it’s an even balance; for every great movie they see they have to sit through a myriad of rubbish too. But that’s all part of the job. Craig and the team like to keep an open forum when discussing certain elements of their work, myself and Charlotte were even asked for our advice on numerous occasions, which I was WINTER 2012 | PULSE MAGAZINE | 15



Sarah pitches in a hand 16 | PULSE MAGAZINE | WINTER 2012




This November saw Empire Cinemas’ Head Office workers go back-to-basics to work with the front of house team through the busy half-term. It was an eye-opener for these three ladies. They gave the lowdown on their expectations beforehand and their take on the reality that unfolded.


eeta Oza, PA to Justin Ribbons, CEO, was looking forward to a change of scene and couldn’t wait to see how things worked on the cinema floor. “I’m hoping to get a better understanding of how things are run,” she said. “It will also be interesting to go to another Empire Cinema – other than Leicester Square - just to see what it is like. I’ve heard that Basildon’s site is huge!” “I think it’s a fantastic idea,” said Marketing Executive Sarah Owen when we asked her what she thought of the scheme. “I’m truly looking forward to working with the great team at Bishops Stortford and getting my hands dirty. “Coming from a cinema advertising background I’ve often worked with cinemas but never in one. Going back to the floor’s vital for me to experience the real day-to-day tasks at cinema level. It will no doubt show me just how busy it gets down there.” And so enthusiastic, Sarah even offered to clean toilets for the duration of her stay. Despite some expected hesitance at first, Head Office employee Kelly Stride enjoyed chatting away to customers on her shift. “The whole thing was brilliant but I personally loved the ushering,” she said. “It was a perfect opportunity to connect with consumers and have a great chitchat about films; even though one consumer decided to tell me the ending of Skyfall! “The team were also a great support,” she said. “They made the experience fantastic and it was all a great learning experience. The eye-opener for me was the screen cleaning and how quickly it sometimes has to be done. It was incredibly challenging and I think the team do an incredible job in achieving such high standards with so little time.” Post-hectic half-term experience Sarah still remained in high spirits. “Going back to the cinema floor for the day was a fantastic experience,” she said. “It was great to spend more time with the team and spend a day in their shoes/purple shirt. “It was all new territory for me so I felt it vital to really get stuck in. From popping popcorn, nattering with a keen Bond enthusiast to cleaning up child’s puke there was never a dull moment. Not to mention the constant sweeping of popcorn; that stuff gets everywhere!” Half-term is not an easy time to enter into a whole new

world of customer service but these ladies showed their tough side. The team at Bishops Stortford, as well as all Empire staff, work hard for every cinema-goer and the day illustrated that perfectly. “The day was much more physical than my day job,” said Neeta. “You don’t have any paperwork to deal with on the cinema floor. There are people everywhere and nobody’s chained to their desk.” “I lost count of how many tickets I tore and I certainly wasn’t used to directing people to their seats or the correct screen. I did however meet a lot of lovely friendly people and funny kids which made the time fly.” Sarah told us how Back to the Floor showed her just how difficult every cinema’s teams work to maintain the high level of customer service. “The team at Bishops are knowledgeable about their business and know their customers,” she said. “I was impressed with how well they dealt with tricky customer complaints and a foyer full of hyper kids. “Being a new team member for the day was great fun but also helped me see first-hand what a busy day at site level is like. I look forward to seeing more activity on Bishop Stortford’s Facebook page soon and seeing their Movember ‘taches in full glory.” “Overall it was a wonderful experience and everyone was very supportive,” said Kelly. “I cannot wait till 2013 to see where I am next - sign me right up!”

Kelly at Hemel gives the tills a go WINTER 2012 | PULSE MAGAZINE | 17



of GOD

Sarah Bayliss, 23 of Empire Poole and Liam Crosbie, 25 of Empire Leicester Square will now be taking on the role of the ‘Voice of God’ alongside their job as team members. arah and Liam were picked from five applicants following their outstanding performances during auditions held at Empire Leicester Square in October. They’re the ones you hear introducing studio executives or celebrities to the stage. “The role of the ‘Voice of God’ is pivotal to a premiere. This is the moment when the attending guests know ‘this is it! It’s show time” Stephen Bush, General Manager and previous Voice Of God explains. Each applicant read introductions from five past premieres in front a panel of judges, made up of some of our head office team: Andy Bush, Neil Goulding, Sarah Owen and the film department, Iain McLeod, Rob Knight and Kat Guinane. They were very impressed with the standard that all of the applicants delivered. “They were all charming, had great personalities and seemed to have a lot of fun after a little nervousness at the start.” Stephen explains. It was Sarah and Liam’s confidence and bubbly personalities that helped them win. Sarah’s drama experience was a huge help throughout her audition. “I was ridiculously excited when I was told I had won,” she said. “I was trying to keep calm and composed but I was actually jumping up and down on the spot. To be involved in a premiere is such an amazing opportunity and I feel very lucky that I now have a part to play.” Liam admits he was a little apprehensive when he realised it was all actually happening. “I thought ‘wow I’ve actually got to do this now. I’m actually going to have to introduce such well known faces’,” he said. Stephen Bush will be sharing all that he knows about the role to coach the pair before they stand among 1300 guests and an array of stars and directors with a microphone. “I believe that they’re up for the challenge and will do a great job,” Stephen said. “I find it scary and I’ve been doing it for years! But the adrenaline gets you through. It is very strange to hear your voice coming out of the speakers, made even stranger by a slight delay, which can be a little off-putting!” He also added that all applicants did extremely well in their interviews, regardless of whether they got the job or not.





Empire’s refreshment incentive is a competition run by our Retail Manager, Gordon MacDonald, which challenges cinema teams to sell as much popcorn, drinks and other refreshment products as possible. PULSE magazine talked to Gordon about the refreshment incentive which ran this past summer. Who were the winners of the summer incentive? There were two parts to the summer incentive, one was who could reach the total cash target first and the second was who could reach individual ‘hurdle’ targets first. In total 9 different cinemas won individual hurdle prizes and the overall winners in the race were Basildon and Sutton Coldfield. What did they win? The overall winners won £300 and £200 for their team! individual prizes given out included Xbox360’s Go Ape trips, tickets and accommodation to see We Will Rock You in London and concert tickets and accommodation to see Michael McIntyre and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds at Nottingham Arena. What results did it mean for us as a

company? Everyone worked really hard to deliver the results and our retail spend per customer (RPG) was up 10p year on year, a fantastic result! The aim was to ensure we hit our budgets for the year, whilst we didn’t have as many admissions in over the summer months the increase in retail spend help to minimise the shortfall. How did the winning cinemas meet the targets/increase their RPG? Focusing on delivering to every customer, ensuring that suggestive selling and upselling techniques were used (as outlined in the Q2 Min E Bite), ensuring queues were managed and the customers experience was easy and unstressful. What incentives are there likely to be in the future? Following on from the summer

incentive and the feedback we received we ran a quick and simple campaign for the opening of Skyfall – grow the cash 007% ahead of budget. We ended up smashing this target as the admissions were huge! Every cinema was given a range of prizes that included Amazon vouchers and a limited edition 007 Monopoly game. The top 5 cinemas also won the complete set of bond films on Blu Ray. The cinema that performed strongest overall was High Wycombe, they are the lucky winners of a VIP Aston Martin driving experience around Silverstone GP Circuit! Wow! We’ll look at running a campaign over Christmas and the key business periods. Ideas for what they look like are always welcome!



Here at Empire Swindon we thrive on our competitive attitude and pride our team’s commitment to delivering the best cinema experience. In our opinion, we are the best down here in our cosy little South West bubble; no one else around these parts even comes close. There is a noticeable passion for film amongst our team and a real community spirit that has developed further since the introduction of the Big E. We have not had a team with the same level of enthusiasm for

watching and enjoying our films as much as the team that we have here now. That interest is a hugely important quality that we try our hardest to pass down to our customers. With such an enthusiastic team we are able to create a real buzz through our film promotion, providing numerous opportunities for our customers to get involved. There was the option to play battleships whilst seated during a screening of Battleship, and we provided home made photo booths for our


customers to take away lasting memories, which we will see return soon for the TwiHards when The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 is released. We inspired some budding artists with our ever-popular Wetherspoon’s junior colouring competition and at the fresher’s fair we created stampedes for free popcorn and scratch cards. We also allow group bookings and competitions for the comic book shop and finally we have even sent one of our Facebook Fans off to the Katy Perry premiere

PULSE TEAM IN FOCUS through our exclusive Facebook facilities. We have seen new look competition. retail stands, new carpets, a foyer We have also been working with revamp and premium seats are young local now available in filmmakers on “We have seen new all of the screens. independent We also have three look retail stands, projects. We digital 3D screens are intent on and are looking new carpets, a giving them forward to what foyer revamp and a platform Head Office will premium seats are surprise us with to show their work and now available in all next. “A toilet raise funds for refurb first please,” of the screens.” new projects says supervisor Jo. and local When it comes to charities. We our competitive also aim to appeal to our cultured spirit, we have had two successive Beryl and friends by chatting years as champions of the Ben with them in the cinema. For a and Jerry’s Free Cone Day, we personal touch we have compiled have been runners up in the e-mail lists so we can send out football tournament and for a mail shots that we think might short time we were at the top of have some appeal, from the arts the Facebook likes. We are also to cultured biopics. sending staff member Nicola Although we’ve not grown in off for an all expenses paid trip size like Empire Poole or Empire to the West End to see ‘We Will Basildon, we are seeing positive Rock You’ after winning the changes within our cinema - not popcorn challenge. only from the quality of the With 3 new cinemas opening in team and customer service but our region in the last five years it with the improvements to our is more important than ever that

we are delivering a current and fresh approach to our customer service. We really need to go the extra mile to ensure that we stay on top and justify our customers travelling to us if they are spoilt for choice. Ultimately though, at Empire Swindon it is the customers that keep the team motivated. We are always looking for ways to give something back to the community to say thank you for their custom.



Opinion Matters Your Opinion Matters is our customer survey, held twice a year, where we ask customers of all ages, in all our cinemas what they think of the cinema experience they’ve just had.


e incentivise the customers by giving them a 1 in 50 chance to win a ÂŁ25 Empire Gift Card. We also incentivised the Cinema teams this time around to encourage them to give out as many of the cards as possible by providing the cinemas with the highest response rates with an Amazon gift voucher prize. The Cinemas with the best response rates this time around were Swindon, in our largest cinemas, our middle size cinemas was won by Clydebank and our smallest cinema winners were Sutton. With such a busy half term, we achieved a staggering 1,261 customers going on line to complete the survey. This is about 1 in every 200 customers when we give cards out consistently so it gives you an idea of how Swindon, Clydebank and Sutton achieved this. This has been our fourth survey and this time we added a few additional questions to help us delve a little deeper. As well as the usual questions on the welcome, toilet facilities, food choices, dĂŠcor etc. we asked customers to identify whether the cinema was busy or quiet. This allowed us to compare our service levels during these periods and also to recognise those team members who were talking to customers about films during quieter times and speeding up during busier times


and helping to create a buzz to the Cinema atmosphere. We have also asked customers a bit more about the auditorium considering that is where they spend most of their time! They were asked about the comfort of the auditorium and then what they thought of the sound and picture quality. Generally speaking Cinemas scored better on picture and sound quality than comfort and looking at the comments it was mainly down to the temperature not being right and various seating issues. It has been an interesting set of results generally with the majority of Cinemas being able to hold their standards during what was our busiest time of the year. Skyfall and Madagascar 3 brought customers out in their thousands giving us a wide range of data to analyse. Some of our smaller cinemas struggled to cope with the levels of business and the customers comments and the way they scored the questions was clear to see. The bigger cinemas with larger foyers and ability to deal with the sheer number of customers faired better generally and even saw an increase in the customers levels of satisfaction. It is great to report that more and more Cinemas are scoring in the 80% region and working towards that top place. Basildon, Great Park, Newcastle, Poole, Swindon and Bishops are striving hard to reach the top place.




How our customers described the foyer when they arrived...


Very Busy Fairly Busy Neither Busy or Quiet Fairly Quiet Very Quiet


14% 13%

Also getting really close to Empire Leicester Square in terms of scores (who remain top just), are Clydebank and Sunderland. Our biggest improvers according to customers who were asked were Clydebank and Sunderland with a small but still significant improvement for Basildon, Great Park and Swindon. In 2013 we will continue to focus on the Big E and help cinemas with training materials and share ideas from the cinemas who are having the most success. Our competitors more than ever are taking note of what we are doing and even introducing surveys and other ways of collecting customer’s views and feedback. We can never stand still and rest on our laurels but continue to do all we can to make the visit as smooth and effortless for our customers.


Sunderland Empire Cinema has reached 88.25%, just .65% behind The Empire Leicester Square

68% of customers who visited during 68% of customers who visited during busytimes times felt busy felt the the buzz and described the atmosphereand as good described the buzz atmosphere as good

11% of customers visiting during quieter periods said the team member commented on the film they were watching or others they’d recommend WINTER 2012 | PULSE MAGAZINE | 23


Meet the EMPIRE Staff who look just like famous stars from film, TV and music

Chris Cooper-Davies of Bishops S

Matthias Fuchez of Leicester Sq

uare as Scott Bakula Kamran Eiaz of Slough as

om Eastenders

fr Billy Knight of Bromley as Max


Darren Turner of Wigan as the


s Stortford as Mark Ruffalo

Mr Bean

Weasely Twins

Alan Pressland of Leicester Squa

re as Michael Sheen

ie Mercury

as Fredd Yasir Khidir of Leicester Square



GALLE R Sunderland and Newcastle celebrat expected victory the night beforeing an the film quiz Deano from Newcastle is James Bond

Newcastle staff recreate Skyfall 26 | PULSE MAGAZINE | WINTER 2012



See your Autumn in pictures...

Swindon staff celebrating Halloween Empire Leicester Square dressed up for

Fright Fest

Fright Fest 2012, Leicester Square

for Fright Fest up d se es dr re ua Sq er st ice Le re pi Em WINTER 2012 | PULSE MAGAZINE | 27





Lincoln W

hen Stephen Spielberg, the Director of upcoming biographical war drama Lincoln, was questioned about what this film would hold, he said that he plans to show Lincoln in all of his glory - “not just standing around posing for the history books…” he said. “He was arguably the greatest working President in American history doing some of the greatest work for the world.” The film, which is based on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s biography of Lincoln, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, covers the last four months of his life, focusing on the abolition of slavery and the end of civil war. Spielberg admitted that the entire biography would be “much too big” for a film and he is particularly interested in Lincoln’s “incredible ability to finesse very, very treacherous political circumstances and continue to lead the country forward in the midst of the most horrendously difficult period in its history.” The film follows the story of the devastation the Civil War causes as it continues to rage, while

January 2013

America’s President Lincoln struggles with the carnage on the battlefield as he clashes with many of his own political party over his ideals to emancipate the slaves. Undeniably a tough story to do justice, but the film’s $50million budget and an all star cast featuring double Oscar winner Daniel Day-Lewis in the lead role should help showcase this pivotal period of history as a stunning work of art. With the aid of esteemed Academy Award winner Janusz Kaminski’s (who is most recently known for his work on the beautifully sad War Horse) excellent cinematography. Other cast members include Looper star Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Abraham’s son Robert and Tommy Lee Jones as immensely powerful Republican leader Thaddeus Stevens. And Jackie Earle Haley, who played Shutter Island’s George Noyce, turns his hand to the role of Vice President Alexander Stevens. Dan and Sarah, Billy and Beryl will be undoubtedly be queuing up to watch this recreation of an amazing period of history by this immensely talented cast. Expect great things.


Steven Spielberg spent 12 years researching the film. He recreated the Oval Office precisely, with the same wallpaper and books Lincoln used. The ticking of Lincoln’s watch in the film is the sound of the real Lincoln’s watch, recorded in the museum it is kept in. Once Daniel Day-Lewis decided on the voice that he would use to portray Lincoln, he sent an audiotape of it to Director Steven Spielberg in a box with a skull & crossbones on it so no one but him would hear it first. Liam Neeson, who was attached to play Abraham Lincoln since the project’s beginning development, decided to drop out. According to Neeson, he felt he was too old to play the part after waiting so many years for the project to get the go-ahead.

KNOW YOUR STUFF Genre: Drama/Biopic Director: Steven Spielberg Starring: Daniel Day Lewis, Tommy Lee Jones, Sally Field Movie Recommendations: There Will Be Blood Nixon Glory




Wreck it

Ralph KNOW YOUR STUFF Genre: Family Adventure Director: Rich Moore Starring: John C. Reilly, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Sarah Silverman Movie Recommendations: Bolt, Tangled Toy Story

FANTASTIC FACTS Dubstep DJ Skrillex is confirmed as having a cameo as himself in the film and also contributes to the soundtrack. In Japan the film is being marketed as Sugar Rush around the character Vanellope von Schweetz. Unlike most animated films, the principal actors regularly recorded audio sessions together in the same room - a situation that led to a lot of improvising.


February 2012

lthough Disney made a slight return to their roots in 2009 with the traditionally animated The Princess and the Frog, the majority of the company’s 21st century feature films have shadowed Pixar’s ground-breaking computer animation. After the box office successes of Bolt and Tangled, Disney now hopes to tap into a market that is speedily rivalling Hollywood: video games. While video game franchises have been used by Hollywood previously, they’ve never been successful in replicating the sensation and experience of game play. Wreck-It Ralph presents a solution. Instead of merely adapting, Ralph takes inspiration from a number of genres by spoofing big name titles such as Call of Duty and Starcraft, amongst others, to create visually stunning worlds for the characters to inhabit. The plot follows Wreck-It Ralph, villain of Donkey Kong-inspired arcade game Fix-it Felix Jr. Ralph has played the baddie for 30 years but now longs to be the good guy who saves the day, like his video game rival Felix. But after accidently unleashing an enemy that threatens every game in the arcade, Ralph has to team up with allies from different genres and realise what it truly means to be the good guy before it’s game over. Voicing Ralph is comedic actor John C. Reilly,

best known for acting opposite Will Ferrell in Step Brothers. Joining him as his arcade rival Fix-It Felix is 30 Rock’s Jack McBrayer. Glee’s Jane Lynch voices robust Sergeant Calhoun and comedienne Sarah Silverman as Vanellope von Schweetz, a troublemaking “glitch” from Mario Kart-inspired cart racer Sugar Rush. Not content with taking a loving swipe at video game conventions, Disney has gone the whole hog in acquiring the rights for several familiar video game characters including Zangief, M Bison and Chun Li of Street Fighter fame, the ghosts Inky, Blinky and Pinky from Pacman, Mario’s nemesis Bowser and Sonic the Hedgehog’s arch villain Doctor Robotnik. While Mario himself doesn’t make an appearance, look out for a cameo from everyone’s favourite blue hedgehog. This is director Rich Moore’s feature film debut, but after working on The Simpsons in its prime and also hit TV show Futurama, his comedy pedigree and ability to handle both well-loved and original characters is assured. With its inspired take on video game culture combined with a traditional Disney finding-the-hero message, Wreck-It Ralph is perfect for the Palmer family to enjoy. While both Billy and JJ will appreciate Disney’s meticulousness in creating believable, and funny, video game parodies.








est selling novel Life of Pi by Yan Martel has been adapted for the big screen, bringing this fantastical tale of survival, resilience and spirituality to everyone. Following the story of a boy stranded in a lifeboat with nobody but a 450 pound Bengal tiger for company, Life of Pi is truly a story about surviving in the face of adversity. Martel is no stranger to adversity herself, as Life of Pi was rejected by five different publishing houses before being accepted by Knopf Canada, after which it went on to win the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 2002, the 2003 Boeke Prize, and the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature in Best Adult Fiction for years 2001–2003. Impressive stuff indeed. Protagonist Pi Patel is a 14-year-old Hindu boy living in India. His father owns a zoo in Pondicherry, meaning Pi has spent his life surrounded by exotic animals, leaving him with some grasp of animal psychology. But with political unrest threatening India, the family decides to sell up and emigrate to Canada, catching a ride on a Japanese freighter with just a few of their best loved animals. Tragically, just a few days out of port the ship sinks and all of Pi’s family are killed. Pi manages to scramble to safety into a tiny lifeboat, saving with him a hyena, a zebra, an orang-utan, and a large

Bengal tiger called Richard Parker. The story sees them floating around in the ocean for over 200 days, seeking refuge on a flesh-eating algae island and witnessing first hand some of the incredible wonders of the sea, while Pi contemplates God and spirituality. Interestingly, three different actors play main character Pi, as the film shows him progress through three different stages of his life. Ayush Tandon plays the young Pi, newcomer Suraj Sharma plays Pi as he floats about on the sea and Irrfan Khan plays the older, more mature Pi as he explains his story to officials, yet has trouble getting them to believe him. Directed by world-renowned Academy Award winner Ang Lee, who is perhaps best known for his work directing tearjerker Brokeback Mountain, Life of Pi looks set for brilliance. Not only does it feature some of the most beautiful filming locations of the year plus a bold soundtrack created by Mychael Danna, but it also lays claim to some of the best 3D technology to date; expect epic shots of Bengal tigers jumping out of the screen at you. Life of Pi is set to be released in the UK on 20th December and promises to be a truly feel-good affair, which the Palmer family will definitely be eager to see. Jane and her friends will also be there, as everyone loves seeing one of their favourite books brought to life, and Dan and Sarah too for Sunday date night treat.


December 2012

KNOW YOUR STUFF Genre: Fantasy/Adventure Director: Ang Lee Starring: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Adil Hussan Movie Recommendations: Bridge to Terabithia Where The Wild Things Are Slumdog Millionaire FANTASTIC FACTS Andrew Garfield was considered for a small role but Tobey Maguire was cast instead. Through he filmed his scenes, Maguire was later replaced by Rafe Spall because the director thought that Maguire was too famous for such a small role and it would have been distracting. At one point, M. Night Shyamalan, the writer of Signs and The Last Airbender, was rumoured to be directing the film.





merican fantasy author L. Frank Baum’s series of novels set in the magical land of Oz has been enthralling audiences worldwide for over one hundred years, and like most great works of fiction has been the source material for a number of retellings on both large and small screens. The most famous of Baum’s works, The Wizard of Oz, has become an iconic part of the fabric of cinema after the spectacular 1939 version, later being taken to darker places with Disney’s unofficial sequel with 1985’s Return to Oz. Oz: The Great and Powerful is the latest Oz based adventure to make it the silver screen. Instead of focusing on the adventures of Dorothy and co, Oz: The Great and Powerful takes place before the events of The Wizard of Oz. Whisked away from dusty Kansas, magician of dubious ethics Oscar Diggs is transported to the mystical Land of Oz where he hopes he can find fame and fortune beyond regard. But witches Theodora, Evanora and Glinda don’t quite think Oscar is the wizard he says he is. Reluctantly finding himself drawn into the realm’s problems, can Oscar triumph over evil and become a better man in the process? Hoping to tap into the fantasy zeitgeist that has been spurned on by Snow White and the Huntsmen and Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland is noted director Sam Raimi. Raimi is most well known for his frenzied splatterfest Evil Dead films and massive

March 2013 box office successes with the Spiderman trilogy. James Franco stars as Oscar Diggs. He has previously worked with Sam Raimi before as Harry Osborne in the Spiderman films and is no stranger to fantasy after starring in medieval stoner comedy Your Highness. The witch Theodora is played by Mila Kunis. Kunis’ career has really begun to hit its stride after comedy successes in Ted and Date Night, not forgetting a stirring dramatic role in Black Swan. Joining Kunis to form the trio of witches are Michelle Williams as Glinda, and Oscar winner Rachel Weisz as Evanora, showing off the impressive array of talent Raimi has recruited for Oz. Also joining the cast is Raimi’s lucky charm Bruce Campbell as dark wizard Gore, Oscar Diggs’ rival for power in Oz. Scrub’s Zach Braff also pops up as a pair of characters called Frank and Finley. With a budget of over $200 million, Oz: The Great and Powerful is one expensive movie. However box offices grosses of contemporary fantasy films have been huge so Disney’s latest flick looks certain to be a hit. With impressively sumptuous visuals and a fantastical story and setting to get lost in, the Palmer family will be sure to enjoy Oz. Beryl will also be reminded of the Judy Garland version, while JJ will be impressed by the film’s updated, but still enthralling, aesthetic.

KNOW YOUR STUFF Genre: Fantasy/Adventure Director: Sam Raimi Starring: James Franco, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz Movie Recommendations: Alice in Wonderland Snow White and The Huntsmen Red Riding Hood FANTASTIC FACTS Robert Downey Jr. and Johnny Depp were considered for the role of Oscar Bruce Campbell has appeared in nearly every Sam Raimi film since the early 1980s. There are 18 novels in L. Frank Baum’s Oz series.





January 2012 forthcoming tale of slavery and retribution, Django Unchained is the latest from esteemed writer and director, Quentin Tarantino. Worlds apart in scale and genre from previous blockbuster Inglorious Basterds - a high energy wartime drama set in Nazi occupied France - Unchained follows the story of two men as they trek across the deep South of America seeking revenge on those who have wronged them. Played by Jamie Foxx, Django gets separated from his wife and winds up being sold in a slave auction to the vicious Speck brothers (James Remar and James Russo). Fortunately saved by an effusive German dentist-come-Bounty-Hunter, Dr King Schultz (Christopher Waltz), Django is free and rid of his cruel masters. Schultz asks Django to help take down the Brittle Brothers, a brutal gang of killers whom Django has only ever seen in passing. In return, Schultz would not only free Django completely but also help rescue his wife Broomhilda from the merciless plantation owner, Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) who is holding her captive. The title and setting of the film are based heavily on the 1960s Sergio Corbucci spaghetti western


film Django and its many unofficial sequels, going so far as to have original Django star Franco Nero in a cameo role as a bar patron. Despite this, Tarantino has stated that regardless of the film’s obvious parallels to Western films, he prefers to label the film as a Southern due to the locations used while filming. Tarantino also has his trademark cameo role playing a character called Tenessee Harry, apparently writing himself into the scene after realising its comedic value. Unchained features an incredibly star studded cast. Its high profile actors and actresses include not only Oscar winning Foxx (Horrible Bosses, Due Date), DiCaprio (Inception, Shutter Island) and acclaimed actor Waltz, winner of over 40 awards including an Oscar. It also lays claim to appearances from Samuel L Jackson, Jonah Hill and Kerry Washington, most recently known for her role as Olivia Pope in US drama Scandal. With a UK release date of the 18th of January 2013, Django Unchained is sure to have Tarantino fans excited to see what he’s come up with this time. JJ and Dan & Sarah especially will definitely be there to witness this gripping drama unfold for them in what is sure to be to be an action-packed start to the cinema in the new year.


KNOW YOUR STUFF Genre: Action/Western Director: Quentin Tarantino Starring: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo Di Caprio Movie Recommendations: Inglorious Basterds Machete The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

FANTASTIC FACTS Quentin Tarantino actually wrote the role of Django with Will Smith in mind. Smith’s agents and manager wanted him to accept it, but Smith ultimately decided to pass. Jamie Foxx used his own horse Tony in the movie. The film was shot in 130 days. This was Quentin Tarantino’s longest shooting schedule for a singular film.



Les Misérables January 2013


or or over 25 years the musical adaptation of Victor Hugo’s epic novel Les Misérables has been a fixture on London’s West End and been the subject of numerous retellings on stage, screen and radio. Helming this latest version of the classic story is Academy Award winning director of The King’s Speech Tom Hooper. Set in France on the eve of the revolution, Les Misérables follows Jean Valjean, also known as Prisoner 24601, after he’s released from prison and breaks parole to create a new life for himself while evading the grip of the persistent Inspector Javert. Director Hooper’s version of Les Misérables remains a musical and the director has garnered some serious star power by hiring an assortment of A-list actors for the film. Starring as Jean Valjean is Hugh Jackman who is no stranger to musicals. Jackson got his teeth into acting through numerous stage musicals in Australia and a star-making turn starring in Oklahoma! in London in 1998. Inspector Javert is played by fellow Aussie actor Russell Crowe. Crowe, best known for playing brooding and intense characters such as his career-defining lead role in Gladiator, also had a musical career before turning

to acting. With two solid male leads with a singing pedigree, the film looks to be in steady hands. Leading the female cast is Anne Hathaway as Fantine, a working class girl from Paris left with an illegitimate child after her lover abandons her. Hathaway is said to have stunned the producers at her audition, moving them to tears, which is appropriate as her story is one that is full of tragedy. Fantine’s daughter, Cosette, suffers at the hands of her adopted parents, the Thenardiers, played by Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen, before she is adopted once more by Valjean. The adult version of Cosette is played by Mamma Mia actress Amanda Seyfried. These are just some of the plot strands and characters of the story, which encompasses romance, crime, revolution and redemption. Encompassing grand themes, Les Misérables is a timeless classic of a story which Beryl will enjoy, especially if she’s seen the stage musical before. The scale of the film will also enthrall Dan and Sarah, while Jane and friends will not only enjoy Hugh Jackman but also the movies romantic elements as well as the stirring songs that characterize the classic story.

KNOW YOUR STUFF Genre: Historical Drama/Musical Director: Tom Hooper Starring: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hatahway, Amanda Seyfried Movie Recommendations: Great Expectations, Anna Keranina, Pride and Prejudice FANTASTIC FACTS Producer Cameron Mackintosh, who also produced the original stage musical in England, has wanted to create a film version since the early 90’s. Hugh Jackman lost considerable weight and grew a beard for scenes of Valjean as a prisoner, though mercifully they were shot first in production and he could shave and return to his usual weight for scenes playing Valjean as a wealthy man. The cast sang the songs live during filming as opposed to miming then adding the soundtrack as is usual for musicals.


Enjoy the puzzles and enter our competition below to win a years supply of a Cadbury’s chocolate of your choice! Well done to JENNY MAGUIRE from Empire Wigan who was last issues winner.




Answers for AUTUMN 2012 Edition: Film Quotes 1. I’ll be back - Terminator 2. Make me a bird so I can fly far, far away from here - Forest Gump 3. I’ll never let go - Titanic 28| 16| 34|PULSE PULSEMAGAZINE MAGAZINE||SUMMER WINTER 2012 2012



Can you spot the eight differences?


Merry Christmas & A Happy

New Year It’s been another busy, record breaking year, who can forget Skyfall, Twilight and the Avengers. From everyone at Pulse and Empire Cinemas, have a very Merry Christmas and here’s to a fantastic 2013.

PULSE Magazine - Winter 2012  

Winter Edition of PULSE Magazine produced by Magazine Journalism students from Southampton Solent University for the staff of Empire Cinemas

PULSE Magazine - Winter 2012  

Winter Edition of PULSE Magazine produced by Magazine Journalism students from Southampton Solent University for the staff of Empire Cinemas