On the dark, cold, and windy evening of February 6, huddled the coolest kids of Manchester, burning to watch a preview of The Iron Claw set up by MASSIVE Cinema. Everyone in Screen 7 of the Odeon Great Northern automatically gained bragging rights; they could now say they had watched The Iron Claw days before it was nationally released – free of charge might I add. In fact, these exclusive previews were happening in select cinemas around the UK, in Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London and of course Manchester.
MASSIVE Cinema is an organisation making great films accessible to young film fans. From 2018 onwards they’ve set up screenings of films such as Queen and Slim, Foe and The Old Oak, amongst many other wonderful titles. On their website, they state that they “give young audiences the chance to see some of the most exciting films of the year before anyone else.” It seems this sense of exclusivity works as in the process of setting up their events, MASSIVE Cinema has gained a mass following on social media by highlighting new film releases.
They do so through their coveted giveaways of film merchandise, film of the week posts and funny meme round-ups. If not free then their screenings tend to be very affordable to young people; their Blue Jean preview was only £3 and their Scrapper one was £5. These cinema tickets are ideal for students in a landscape where according to the UK Cinema Association “the average price for a standard UK cinema ticket in 2023 was £7.92.”
Odeon Great Northern is a quaint, offbeat cinema tucked away in the corner of Deansgate. Voyaging two escalators between three spacious floors, on the way there’s an opportunity to sightsee some ping pong matches until you reach the threshold of the cinema where large film quotes cover the walls. You’d secure half your daily steps just trying to reach the multiplex from the entrance. A suitable enough venue for MASSIVE cinema to hold their massive screening.
The Iron Claw preview was sold-out and operated on an unallocated, ‘first come first served’ seating arrangement. Any late-comers were subject to the dreaded neck-craning front seats. Attendees arriving within a large group found it hard to sit by one another due to the sheer volume of people there. Audience reaction to The Iron Claw was palpable, audibly groaning at the inevitable devastation that was soon to occur to the Von Erich family. It was lovely to be in and amongst such a busy screening as it facilitated the so-often-forgotten social aspect of the cinema.
MASSIVE Cinema’s statement that they’re the place where “youth culture and cinema collide,” is no fleeting comment. Inside the preview sat an abundance of the most fashionable, nonchalant young adults of Manchester sporting vibrant prints and the odd colourful hat. The whole screening was at the back of the bus. It was as if the room and the people within it became strangely homogenous as the Great Northern’s carpet too was blazing with a red 70s-style pattern.
Ultimately you can’t go wrong with a free film, especially if the film’s as good as The Iron Claw. It’s safe to say that MASSIVE Cinema has achieved their mission of making films accessible to young audiences and, as for me, I’ll be waiting patiently for their next preview.
All information regarding future MASSIVE Cinema events can be accessed through @massivecinema on Instagram and X.