Virgin Cinemas

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Virgin Cinemas
IndustryMovie theater
FateSold to UGC
PredecessorMGM Cinemas
Founded1995; 23 years ago (1995)
United Kingdom
FounderRichard Branson
Defunct2002; 16 years ago (2002)
ParentVirgin Group

Virgin Cinemas was founded in 1995 when Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group acquired MGM Cinemas,[1] the largest movie theatre operator in the United Kingdom.[2] Virgin Group bought the cinemas for £195m, and subsequently sold 90 of the chain's smallest cinemas to Cinven and ABC for £70m to concentrate on multiplexes.[2]

In late 1999 Virgin announced that it would sell its cinema interests in Britain and Ireland to UGC, in which French entertainment and utilities giant Vivendi has a 38% controlling share.[3] Virgin sold the chain for £215m, making them a profit of £90m, and all the cinemas were to be rebranded to UGC. The company did strike a long term deal, however, for UGC to continue to sell Virgin Cola.[2]

The group continued to operate a Virgin Cinemas Japan unit, and announced, also in late 1999, that it would spend up to US$200 million to develop 20 multiplexes in Japan by the early 21st century; a number of Virgin multiplexes in the United States were also under consideration.[2] Despite this, the company closed down in late 2002.


  1. ^ "Virgin". Archived from the original on 2009-10-08. Retrieved 2010-11-02.
  2. ^ a b c d "Virgin Group - Company History". Retrieved 2010-11-02.
  3. ^ [1][dead link]