A still from Variety. A woman stares out of a glass windowed booth, tentatively. Graphic title card reads: Cinema Rediscovered.

Artwork by Tony Stiles 

Cinema Rediscovered’s record-breaking success is hailed as sign of Box Office hope

Posted on Wed 9 Aug 2023

We reflect on this year's festival, as Cinema Rediscovered readies to hit 24 venues and festivals in its annual UK and Ireland wide tour.

Alongside the welcome ‘Barbenheimer’ boost to box office takings, there are signs cinema’s past may be key to its future prosperity, says the founder-director of Cinema Rediscovered, the UK’s biggest celebration of classic, restored and rare old films, after its latest record-breaking edition ends and parts of it embark on a UK and Ireland tour.  

Mark Cosgrove speaks as total box office figures became available for the 7th annual Cinema Rediscovered festival, held in and around Bristol from Wed 26 - Sun 30 July 2023 and showcased more than 45 features, shorts and documentaries dating from as early as 1923, 15 of them UK Premieres of restorations.  

The figures show that the festival attracted record attendances, grossing £2,500+ more than the 2022 festival despite pegged ticket prices. The festival also saw their festival pass sales climb by 22% from the previous year.  

Mark Cosgrove says,

“In all, we achieved a record 3,772 admissions, without factoring in the 1,000 or so who attended our free pop-up events, and we have already got 24+ venues across the UK and in Ireland taking elements of our programme. This all points to a growing appetite among audiences for seeing older restored films back where they were made to be seen - on a big screen amid an audience - creating the hope that cinema’s past could be a route to securing its future.” 

He added,

“It’s noticeable, too, that repertory cinema has a particular appeal to younger cinema goers, a trend which seems set to continue thanks to an increased awareness of global film history due to the rise of social media platforms such as Letterboxd and the likes of Barbie director Greta Gerwig citing the influence on their work of many classics, from The Red Shoes to Mon Oncle -” 

Among the 24 venues and festivals already confirmed as participating in the festival’s annual UK and Ireland wide tour are Edinburgh Film Festival and Glasgow Film Theatre in Scotland; Home in Manchester; MAC in, Birmingham; BFI Southbank and ICA in London; and IFI in Dublin. Bookings are still being taken for the tour which runs until Feb 2024 and offers films from two of the festival’s main strands:  

Down & Dirty: American D.I.Y. Restored , including a 4K restoration of Bette Gordon’s Variety and a 2K restoration of Juliet Bashore’s Kamikaze Hearts.  

Look Who’s Back: The Hollywood Renaissance & the Blacklist, comprising socially-savvy box office hits from the late 1960s / early 1970s, which saw the return of talent denied work in Hollywood during the USA’s era of political witch-hunts.  

A selection from the Restored and Rediscovered strand is also available with each package backed by on-screen and other additional marketing assets, prizes, PR and help and materials and support from the BFI awarding funds from the National Lottery.   

For more information about the tour, head to the On Tour page.

Cinema Rediscovered is a Watershed production. Its principal funders and sponsors are BFI awarding National Lottery funding, MUBI and Park Circus. To stay up to date with festival news, find Cinema Rediscovered on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or sign-up for the e-newsletter.    

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