Jonathan Melville: View to a James Bond overkill

Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall, in which just one location scene was shot in Scotland
Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall, in which just one location scene was shot in Scotland
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CAN you ever have too much choice at the cinema? A quick scan of the Edinburgh cinema listings shows that new Bond film, Skyfall, will be screened over 60 times today alone, leaving smaller films out in the cold.

It was Edinburgh-based filmmaker Mark Cousins who made the first complaint on Twitter last week, asking why it was that titles such as the low budget Beast of the Southern Wild gets a handful of screenings as a result of Bond’s dominance.

As Skyfall breaks records at box offices around the UK, taking £16 million at the weekend and reaching £53 million in just ten days, it’s understandable that cinemas want to capitalise on the Bond juggernaut.

If you’re not a Bond fan (and it pains me to type those words) then the prospect of having little choice at the multiplex is a problem. Do you give in to the programmers rather than the hype and see Skyfall anyway?

We’re often spoiled for choice in Edinburgh, with some of the best cinemas in the UK based just a few hundred yards from each other in the city centre. However, most of them are showing Bond tonight, leaving Filmhouse 007-free for those who fancy some classic Jack Nicholson or silent Hitchcock.

The film industry has reacted to Skyfall’s release by holding back any big new movies, unwilling to risk being ignored as Daniel Craig and co battle for our pennies.

Sadly, cinemas are unlikely to stop showing the big films in quick succession if it means they can make more money, though it’s hard to believe each of today’s 60 screenings will be busy.

Whatever happens, one thing’s for sure; the success of Skyfall means Bond will be back again soon, probably bigger than ever.

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