AN EXPANDING cinema chain says it is interested in coming to Bournemouth – and could reopen one of the town’s Westover Road movie palaces.

Curzon Cinemas, which shows a mix of mainstream movies and art house fare, currently has 12 venues in the UK.

It is expanding at the rate of two or three screens a year.

Bournemouth’s former Odeon and ABC cinemas were both closed by the Odeon chain earlier this year, to make way for the 10-screen Odeon multiplex in the BH2 leisure development.

Robert Kenny, director of cinema development at Curzon, told the Daily Echo: “Bournemouth is of interest to Curzon. We’ve been looking for a number of years for a suitable location but there are problems attached to the particular buildings.”

He said there could be a market for Curzon despite the presence of 10 screens in Bournemouth and 16 at Cineworld in Poole’s Tower Park.

Mr Kenny said: “With a cinema operator like Curzon, there’s a crossover with Odeon, but at the same time there’s also a marked difference between their operation and Curzon’s.

“We also have a distribution arm to our company so we buy the rights to films in the UK and they’re mainly foreign language films which Odeon wouldn’t show.

“We show Star Wars and James Bond but there’s a broader range of films we would bring to Bournemouth.”

He added: “Where most cinema companies, especially the multiplex operators, are fixated by this 15-35 audience, our core audience is probably 30-plus.”

He added: “I believe that’s what we could bring to Bournemouth. That’s why we feel there’s a market for our kind of cinema.”

The former ABC and Odeon buildings are now owned by Libra Homes. The developer has had two different plans for homes and shops at the Odeon site rejected by planners. It is waiting for a decision an application to demolish most of the ABC building in favour of homes and retail.

Mr Kenny said Curzon could be interested in the Westover Road sites “if it were possible”.

Odeon placed a restrictive covenant on its former buildings to prevent them being used as cinemas, but Mr Kenny said such covenants were sometimes surmountable.

“They’re beautiful buildings, more than anything, and we do tend to put our cinemas in interesting buildings rather than just another pop-up, out of town shopping centre,” he said.