The Luna Cinema: Parenthood inspires founder to launch family-friendly selection

The founder of The Luna Cinema was inspired to go on and launch the UK’s first outdoor cinema for children after becoming a father himself.

The open-air movie company has recently launched Luna Kids, alongside live-event residency The Luna Beach in Brighton, and have 175 screenings planned, with some at locations including Borckwell Park, Battersea Park and Hampton Court Palace.

They offer a new selection of family-friendly movies, fulfilling a long-held ambition previously deemed impossible due to technological limitations.

On waiting three years for the technology to develop, founder George Wood said: “The problem I’ve always wanted to overcome is not being able to show films before 9pm, because we project.

“Every year we’d upgrade our gear, and the production team would tell us we only gained seven minutes!

“With films starting late, we knew we couldn’t get a family audience at that time.”

With LED screens finally catching up in quality, Luna have the green light from major studios for daytime screenings. Luna Kids will offer three screenings a day, with the programme ranging from Aladdin to Coco, The Lion King to Paddington 2.

George said: “We had our first kid last year, and we realised we couldn’t go to the cinema like we used to.

“All of the things that would put you off as a young parent in the cinema – not being able to breastfeed, being worried about noise etc – I felt we could fix.

“We could have a really comfortable environment for everyone, as a service to parents more than anything.”

The company is also diversifying from cinema and showcasing this summer’s high-profile sporting events.

The Luna Beach is a month-long residency at Brighton Beach, where Luna will screen the World Cup, Wimbledon and F1 alongside The Last Jedi, Quadrophenia and Casablanca.

From Luna’s early days, George has always had designs on venues outside of London. He was unsurprised by the demand for open-air cinema when he embarked  on a nationwide tour in 2015.

He said: “What I felt was, it would play better in the provinces then in London, because London’s a lot more transient. When we play Lincoln Castle, for example, I feel that people have really embraced and want us to come back.

“It’s shown that open-air cinema is universal, it’s not exclusive to this generation, or this location.”

With 10 years gone, George looks forward to using the technological innovations of LED screens, as well as mobile ticketing and smart apps, to further enhance the experience.

The company has partnered with Pique, who offer disposable picnic hampers for punters at the venue. He believes the appetite for open-air cinema continue to grow and would like to keep the old classics alive.

George added: “What open-air cinema has shown is that the nostalgia people have for older films is something that’s carried forward through generations. Top Gun, Labyrinth, The Goonies- they should be long-gone museum pieces, but they’ve still got an audience.

“I’d love to explore that nostalgia more.”

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