War Horse breaks records at independent cinema

Records at Wetherby Film Theatre have been blasted with the block buster showing of War Horse.

The Steven Spielberg smash hit romped home to surprise owners of the 138-seat purpose built 97-year-old venue by selling out all 17 showings.

“It was a sell out for every one and we had to turn people away,” said owner Ray Trewitt.

“We showed it for two weeks and we could have easily done three.”

War Horse, based on the popular children’s book by author Michael Morpurgo, is set in England and Europe during World War I and tells the epic adventure of horse called Joey and a farm boy (played by Terry Irvine) and their relationship.

“It is a very sentimental story so we provided complimentary tissues on the way out for every show,” added Ray.

“And it was the men more than the women who were leaving teary eyed.”

Ray chooses the films to show at the Crossley Street-based cinema himself, often from the distributor’s website, and knew he was backing a winner with War Horse.

“It had been a very successful stage play in London and is based on a true story.

“It has general appeal to animal lovers and families.

“I thought it would do well but on the last night every seat was pre booked.

“We had well over 2,200 to come to see it.”

Ray, who has run Wetherby Film Theatre with wife Irene for the last five years, since taking full ownership from his former partner Roger Spence last August, said it was an exciting time for cinema goers.

“There are a lot of good films around at the moment but it is a deliberate ploy by the studios to coincide with the Oscars.”

Ray turned a passion for films into a livelihood when the cinema was reopened 20 years ago by Bob Preedy who started Tempo FM.

“I worked in the carpet industry and moved to Wetherby from Edinburgh about 30 years ago.

“It had always been an interest and hobby of mine.

“Myself and my wife Irene used to help Bob on days when he could not work,” added Ray whose all time favourite film is Oklahoma.

Ray is odds on to back another winner in cult new silent movie and Oscar nominated The Artist, which opens on February 17 for two weeks.

“We are getting a lot of bookings for it.

“But it is a Wetherby film, what I call a chick flick, which seem to do very well in this town.”

Currently on show is the Iron Lady which Ray said he has had to put on extra shows to cope with demand.

“We do have quiet times as we are open seven days a week and sometimes do two shows.

“But we have definitely had a busy time in recent weeks as Arthur Christmas was booked out for two weeks.”