BOURNEMOUTH’S ABC cinema is to close on January 4 after almost 80 years.

Daily Echo readers are being offered the chance to vote for the last film to be shown on one of the biggest screens in the south.

The closure will also spell the disappearance of the brand name ABC, once one of the big players in British cinema-going.

Odeon, which owns both the town’s cinemas, plans to move into a new multiplex at the BH2 leisure development off the Square in February. The Odeon on Westover Road will remain open until the move.

Spencer Clark, general manager of the ABC cinema, said: “There is so much wonderful nostalgia associated with the ABC brand and we would like to give the final cinema the send-off it deserves.

"It’s the end of an era and we want local people to have the opportunity to be part of history and watch the final screening.

“We’d also love for people to take a trip down memory lane and to share with us any special stories or photographs from past visits for us to display in the reception area.

"You could be part of a couple who had their first date at the ABC and are now married and return for anniversaries, or you might have fond memories of schools trips there years ago. Whatever your recollection, we’d love to hear about it.”

Readers have until noon Thursday, December 22, to vote on which film should be the last shown at the ABC.

The choices are: Lawrence of Arabia, Some Like It Hot, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Top Gun, Mamma Mia!, Notting Hill, Back to the Future and The Wizard of Oz.

To vote, email the film choice to

Tickets for the final screening at the ABC will cost £5, with all proceeds going to the mental health charity Dorset Mind.

Tickets are at

Andy Edge, Odeon’s commercial director UK and Ireland, said: “Making happy memories for millions of people over the past seven decades, there is no doubt that the ABC cinema has been an integral part of Bournemouth’s leisure heritage.

“We are looking forward to creating an experience for all the senses that movie-goers today won’t forget when we introduce the latest in cinematic technology with the launch of our new flagship Odeon at the BH2 leisure complex.

“Set to be one of our most advanced cinemas yet, Odeon Bournemouth boasts 10 screens, a gigantic floor to ceiling and wall to wall ultra-high definition ISENSE screen, the opportunity to choose reclining seats in most of the auditoria, a unique Kids screen with fun soft decor, and a new hot food range of pizzas and planks.”

The ABC was originally called the Westover Super Cinema and opened in June 1937 with the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers film Shall We Dance. In those days, it seated 1,605 people in the stalls and 910 in the circles.

It became an ABC in 1958 and was turned into a twin-screen cinema in 1970, with the 644-seater ABC1 auditorium equipped for high quality 70mm projection. The first film to show in 70mm on its giant wide screen was Paint Your Wagon. A third screen was added in 1973.

The ABC became a Cannon in 1983 and an MGM in 1992 before a management buyout turned it back into an ABC in 1996. The Odeon group took over the chain in 2000 but kept the old name.