Money blog: The 24-minute rule - What time you should actually arrive at cinema to avoid adverts (2024)

Weekend Money
  • How long trailers last at each cinema chain - and what time you should get there
  • Your comments: Concert prices, state of UK airports, self-service kiosks at Subway and HMRC glitch
  • £2,000 tax hikes and interest rate cuts - the two things you need to know from Money this week
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The 24-minute rule: What time you should actually arrive at cinema

By Narbeh Minassian, news reporter

The time on your ticket is 7pm, but you already know it's not going to start then.

So, what time do you get to the cinema?

If you're arriving at 7.10pm, you're almost certainly safe, but any later and you may cut it fine.

Here, we've gathered information from the UK's major cinema chains and spoken to experts about how long you can expect adverts and trailers to run until the main event actually begins.


According to the Cineworld website, ads and trailers "normally last between 30-45 minutes before the actual film begins".

The cinema also asks customers to collect tickets at least 20 minutes before the listed time "to make the most of their visit".


There appears to be a shorter wait at Odeon, which claims advert and trailer length is "typically 15-25 minutes" - but this varies with each performance and can be "considerably less".

"We always recommend to avoid disappointmentyou arrivewith enough time to enter the screenat the scheduled performance start time," the website says.


There's a wider range at Everyman, which says it plays 25 minutes' worth of adverts and trailers.

But beware - "the length of ads and trailers varies for special events and it can be between 15 and 40 minutes, subject to type of event".


There isn't any specific information on the website and we got no response when we reached out to them, but Showcase did respond to a customer on social media on this very question.

In a May 2022 tweet, the cinema said: "The advertised time is when the adverts/ trailers start and are approximately 20-25 minutes long before each show."


Vue offers a more precise window: "Please be aware that most films have around 20 to 25 minutes of ads and trailers before the feature starts."

Its only recommendation is to be in your seat at the time stated so you "don't take any chances in missing the start of your film".

'In general, it's 24 minutes'

Karen Stacey, the chief executive of Digital Cinema Media, which supplies advertisem*nt for the likes of Odeon, Vue and Cineworld, told Sky News the wait is typically 24 minutes - 12 minutes for ads, and 12 for trailers.

This remains true whatever the film and whatever the time of day, with about 95% of DCM's schedules "exactly the same".

"It's very formulaic, that's what consumers are used to," she said. "By making it consistent in length, people are always happy to come and join in."

She said 24 minutes gives schedulers enough time to prepare the film and allow a more staggered entry for the audience - while also bringing in revenue.

Any longer than half an hour, though, is "rare".

"Cinemas want to have as many films in as possible and they want to be mindful they don't finish too late in the evening," Ms Stacey said.

"My experience working with them is they are quite strict."

Are there rules over the length?

As the above suggests, there aren't any set rules or procedures governing cinema advertising length.

Kathryn Jacob, chief executive of cinema advertising company Pearl & Dean, said the length was determined by the cinema.

"Some cinemas take only one ad, like the BFI IMAX, and the maximum length is determined by the cinemas themselves," she told Sky News.

"Factors determining the length depend on demand from advertisers and the films that acinemamight want to showcase to the audience that's at the screening via trailers."

Cinema policy is the key decider and she said research has shown audiences find advertising in cinema "part of the entertainment".

Do viewers like the adverts and trailers?

Ms Jacob may have a point.

According to research published by DCM, advertising in cinemas is more effective than in any other media.

For a 60-second advert in the cinema, viewers will watch 48 seconds, which is a far higher proportion than TV or social media.

It is also highly trusted, with DCM citing a survey by IPA Touchpoints claiming nearly 100% of respondents say they trust what they see in the cinema - for comparison, 75% trust TV adverts.

Avid cinema-goer Bill Boswell, who pays £18 a month for an unlimited pass at Cineworld on the Isle of Wight, said he was happy to wait.

"I know that these adverts help pay for the cinema to run," he told Sky News. "The cinema is my place to escape, so it's good for my mental health and I would not want to lose it.

"If I watch at home, I can sometimes reach for my mobile phone, but a film on the big screen would get my 100% attention, so I just accept the pre-show adverts."

But what are the drawbacks?

The main thing Mr Boswell considers is his car, as his nearest Cineworld offers three hours of free parking.

"I would sometimes plan on 30 minutes of trailers and work back so I can fit the free parking in, as the cinema costs enough already," he said.

"If the film is more than two and a half hours, I park outside town and walk to the cinema."

Consumer expert Martin Lewis raised parking tickets as one of the issues in a 2019 tweet, in which he said he waited 33 minutes for a film to start.

Responding to one user, he said greater clarity would help customers to save on parking tickets and babysitting, while giving "legitimate expectation".

"And there's no rigorous research that prices [cinema tickets] would go up - they're often set by market demand," he added.

Are there alternatives?

If you want to avoid the pre-show altogether, your best bet might be independent or community cinemas.

Draycott Community Cinema, for example, is the only cinema in the Somerset village and is run by volunteers.

Committee member Chloe Haywood told Sky News they are always debating how long to make their pre-show.

They try to keep it to two short trailers, often without any adverts - though they are planning to find a sponsor later this year.

"We do find that it sets the audience up for the screening," she said, referring to their brief pre-show.

"We don't have trailers for long. They're to advertise the next two films, any local news that might be of interest, and then standard 'switch off your phones' type info."


Concert prices, state of UK airports, self-service kiosks at Subway and HMRC glitch - what you've been saying this week

We had a lot of feedback after our in-depth look at why concert ticket prices are so high these days...

Here's some of what you said...

Why do arenas and sports events have to charge so much for food and drinks? Over £8 a pint is absolutely scandalous and opportunistic greed. Britain is an absolute rip off.

Lee J

In the same way that football has been gentrified, music is being steered towards the rich and middle class - real fans like me are no longer wanted by agents like Ticketmaster.


The ones responsible are the ones paying the prices like with coffee shops and other consumer products. Stop paying stupid prices, they won't charge them!


Why are resale tickets allowed to be tripled or quadrupled? Recently offered a David Gilmour ticket for £600???


1970... $7.50 to see Elvis at his prime in Vegas. The greatest entertainer ever.
2020... £300 to see Taylor Swift. The most overrated singer around today.

I know who got the best deal there!

Steve Elliott

A quick calculation shows $7.50 in 1970 is the equivalent of $60.61 today.

Next, a brief mention of Subway's decision to change its ordering process in all stores to electronic kiosks by the end of the year...

Some readers complained in our comments box but when we asked our followers on LinkedIn whether they liked or loathed self-service via a screen, this was the result...

Another post that got you exercised contained quotes from the boss of Emirates comparing Heathrow to a Second World War airport...

There wasn't much love for the UK's biggest airport from readers - or for any other airport across the country...

There need to be a lot of change at Heathrow! Specially with immigration checks. The long queues are killing me, someone can't wait 2hrs in a queue to get a clearance, it's absurd!


Heathrow is not the only one. Coming back to UK through Gatwick yesterday was a sobering experience. Tatty floor covering, scuffed and drab paint everywhere. Wall graphics lacking any imagination or vibrancy. Narrow walkways and corridors. Doesn't show the UK in a good light all.

Frequent traveller

Heathrow a Second World War airport? Try coming off a plane with 300 others at Leeds Bradford and queueing outside in the cold and pouring rain trying to shuffle in through a small door that looks like it used to be an emergency exit. How difficult can it be to erect something?

Paula Blue

I totally disagree Heathrow is as bad as the president says. Has he ever visited Manchester Airport?


A major HMRC glitch on Monday meant 500,000 families did not get their child benefit on time.Multiple readers wrote in with their views...

So they will be paying compensation then? As they would fine us for late payments...


HMRC? Apologise? Due to an error by working tax credits, I've only just been paid six years'worth. And as to child maintenance payments… I can't even begin to discuss that without crying.


Is there any government IT system in this country that works as it should?


I don't have children, very sadly, but if I were told that HMRC were "sorry" for this glitch I would probably feel very violent. We get a lot of apologies these days which mean absolutely nothing (regrettably).


Confirming the problem had been fixed late on Monday afternoon, HMRC said: "We are very sorry some customers didn't receive their scheduled child benefit payments as expected and we understand the concern and difficulty this may have caused.

"We've fixed the problem and affected customers will now receive their payments on Wednesday morning."


£2,000 tax hikes and interest rate cuts - the two things you need to know from Money this week

The news agenda this week has been dominated by election campaigning - with the first leaders' debate taking place on Tuesday night.

It saw Rishi Sunak cheer his supporters with the repeated claim that Labour would put up taxes by £2,000.

Sir Keir Starmer was, most observers thought, far too slow to respond - but the claim began to unravel the next day.

Data and economics editor Ed Conway's analysis of the Tory calculations suggested the £2,000 rise was actually spread out over four years - so £500 a year may have been a more suitable number for the PM to throw at his opponent.

Concluding his piece, Conway said you "probably shouldn't" believe the figures - but if you used the same methodology as the Tories, it would show they had put up taxes by £3,000 a year over the course of this parliament.Or £13,000, if you wanted to present the numbers in the same way as Mr Sunak did during the debate.

Read Conway's full analysis here...

Some distance from Westminster, the 20 countries that use the euro saw an interest rate cut this week - the European Central Bank moving before the US Fed and Bank of England.

A cut in the UK is currently priced in by markets for September - in the meantime, British holidaymakers could benefit from a weaker euro against the pound.

Business presenter Ian King says a potential weakening of the euro could have wider implications.

He explained: "It comes with risks, not least in terms of pushing up the cost of imports - particularly energy, which is priced in dollars, which could in turn push up inflation."

The price of exports into the US could go down - potentially undercutting American firms.

King went on: "A weaker euro would also carry risks in a US election year in which both Joe Biden and Donald Trump, his challenger, will be seeking to out-bid each other with protectionist policies."

Read his full analysis here...


Welcome to Weekend Money

The Money blog is your place for consumer news, economic analysis and everything you need to know about the cost of living - bookmark

It runs with live updates every weekday - while on Saturdays we scale back and offer you a selection of weekend reads.

Check them out this morning and we'll be back on Monday with rolling news and features.

The Money team is Bhvishya Patel, Jess Sharp, Katie Williams, Brad Young and Ollie Cooper, with sub-editing by Isobel Souster. The blog is edited by Jimmy Rice.


BBC among suitors for Gruffalo producer Magic Light Pictures

The BBC's content arm is among the suitors vying to buy the television production company which owns the rights to The Gruffalo.

Sky News has learnt that BBC Studios is participating in a sale process for Magic Light Pictures, which has won three BAFTAs and secured a quartet of Oscar nominations.

The auction is being run by Gotham Street, a specialist media deals boutique.

A number of other bidders are also said to be involved in the process given the quality of Magic Light's content library, which includes a number of works by The Gruffalo's creators, Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.

The Gruffalo has become one of Britain's best-known children's characters, telling the story of an adventurous mouse that fends off a series of would-be predators by telling them about a supposedly imaginary creature called a gruffalo.

In the 2011 sequel, The Gruffalo's Child, the mouse then scares off a young gruffalo by using shadows to project a giant version of itself.

The two films have been distributed internationally by Magic Light, and along with the original Gruffalo books have sparked substantial merchandising revenues as well as a theme park attraction at Chessington World of Adventures.


Baby Reindeer: Alleged 'Martha' inspiration sues Netflix for £133m

The woman alleged to be the inspiration for the stalker in hit Netflix series Baby Reindeer is suing the streaming platform for $170m (£133m).

The show is said to be based on the real-life experiences of writer Richard Gadd, who plays himself as he copes with stalker Martha Scott.

Fiona Harvey, 58, claims she isthe inspiration for Martha, who begins stalking Gadd after he serves her a free cup of tea in the pub where he works.

In the lawsuit, Ms Harvey has accusedNetflixof spreading "brutal lies", including that she is a "twice convicted stalker who was sentenced to five years in prison".

"Defendants told these lies, and never stopped, because it was a better story than the truth, and better stories made money," it states.

"As a result of defendants' lies, malfeasance and utterly reckless misconduct, Harvey's life had been ruined."

Sky News's US partner network NBC News reports the lawsuit described the show's claim "this is a true story" as "the biggest lie in television history".

"Netflix destroyed a woman, claiming, among many allegations, that she was a convicted woman," Richard Roth, a lawyer for Ms Harvey, wrote in an email.

"It never contacted her. It never checked the facts. It never made any effort to understand the truth of its 'true story!'"

The lawsuit seeks actual damages and compensatory damages at $50m (£39m) each, punitive damages at $20m (£16m); as well as "all profits" from Baby Reindeer at $50m (£39m).

A Netflix spokesperson told Sky News: "We intend to defend this matter vigorously and to stand by Richard Gadd's right to tell his story."


Administrators to The Body Shop are aiming to clinch a sale of the stricken cosmetics retailer by the end of the month, even as its former owner veers away from making an offer for it.

Sky News' city editor Mark Kleinman has learnt that FRP Advisory, which was appointed to handle the chain's insolvency in January, has asked for indicative bids by next Tuesday.

British entrepreneur Mike Lynch has been cleared of all charges by a US jury in the high-profile fraud case related to the sale of his software company Autonomy to Hewlett-Packard (HP) in 2011.

Dr Lynch, who wasextradited to the USto face trial just over a year ago, was acquitted alongside a former finance executive Stephen Chamberlain who had faced the same charges.

They were accused of conspiracy and attempted fraud over the £8.3bn sale to HP - a deal that has been the subject of costly legal action since.

Labour is promising to get more young people on the housing ladder as it announces its "freedom to buy" scheme on Friday.

The party is pledging to make the existing mortgage guarantee scheme - which sees the government act as a guarantor for people unable to save big deposits - into a permanent fixture if it wins the election on 4 July.

Meanwhile, the Tories are promising a tax cut for parents by raising the threshold for when families have to pay a levy on their child benefit.

The current system means if either parents or a parent's partner earns more than £60,000, they begin paying the high income child benefit tax charge, and lose the benefit altogether when a salary hits £80,000.

But if the Tories win the election on 4 July, they have promised to increase the threshold to £120,000 before any tax is paid, and to £160,000 before the benefit is withdrawn, as well as base it on a household income, rather than an individual.


Victorian island forts - complete with helipads and nightclubs - up for sale

Ever wanted to own your own Victorian island fort?

Well now you can - with two being listed with a guide price of £1m.

Spitbank Fort in Hampshire and No Man's Land Fort off the Isle of Wight have been listed for auction and can be bought separately - or as a pair if you can't pick between the two.

During the Second World War, the forts were used to defend the Portsmouth dockyards.

No Man's Fort is substantially bigger and probably presents itself more as a business opportunity, but Spitbank offers nine large bedroom suites across three floors and could potentially work as a private home to the right buyer.

No Man's Fort has its own traditional English pub, a nightclub, and a helipad, while Spitbank Fort naturally boasts a wine cave plus a swimming pool and spa complex.

"Throughout my career as an auctioneer I've seen several sea forts hit the market that have achieved impressive prices as buyers have sought to pursue these trophy assets," said Robin Howeson, head of Savills Auctions.

"Having been carefully restored by the current owners, No Man's and Spitbank Fort represent exceptional market value, each guided at £1m.

"Both offer an opportunity like no other; a waterfront location, up to 99,000sq ft of space and a chance to champion the heritage and legacy of these iconic maritime structures."

The auction takes place on 18 June.


How much a last-minute Taylor Swift ticket will set you back

If you missed out on the general sales but want to bag yourself a last-minute ticket to Taylor Swift's show in Edinburgh tonight, it could set you back a whopping £4,000.

Not to fear, however, as it is currently possible to land yourself a ticket for as little as £271 - if you settle for a somewhat restricted view.

We've checked resale giant Viagogo for the latest prices, accurate as of 10.30am.

As is often the case with popular tours listed on resale sites, many of the tickets are sold individually - so if you're happy to go alone tonight, you're more likely to get a ticket.

For context, a ticket at general sale cost somewherebetween £80-£160 depending on where you sit/stand.

As it stands, the cheapest seat with an unrestricted view of the stage is currently up for sale at £323.

Just one ticket is up for £271, but has a "restricted view".

Bringing a crowd

If you're looking to take someone with you, the cheapest pair of tickets without any restricted view will cost you a combined £1,706.

However, if you're happy with a restricted or limited view, you can pay the cheaper price of £538 for the pair (£269 each).

You can buy up to four tickets in the same area for £303 each (£1,212 together) for a restricted view, or £555 each (£2,220 together) for an unobstructed view of the stage.

Getting closer to the action

Standing tickets are much sought after given their proximity to the stage.

As alluded to at the top of this post, one frankly optimistic reseller has listed four general admission tickets for a staggering £4,256 each (in the "floor" section shown in the map below).

However, you can get even closer - with one ticket remaining in the separate section to the left of the stage at £651 and another to the right at £559.

A word of caution

Ticket resale sites, including Viagogo, have previously been accused of "ripping off" consumers amid concerns customers could be turned away at venues because of restrictions on some resold tickets.

The company was told in 2019 that it was required to make a number of changes to the way it collects and presents information about tickets on its site.

It has since pledged to be compliant with UK watchdogs and now offers a "100% order guarantee [which] covers both buyers and sellers".

If you're happy paying over the odds for last-minute tickets, make sure you're buying through a site with such a guarantee and always beware of scams!


Major lender says house prices have dropped - but by less than analysts thought

House prices in the UK dropped by 0.1% between April and May, data from mortgage lender Halifax shows.

Analysts had expected a drop of around 0.2%, while last week, rival lender Nationwide said its measure of house prices rose in May after falling in the previous two months.

In the 12 months to May, prices rose by 1.5%, Halifax said - faster than the median forecast in a Reuters news agency poll for an annual increase of 1.2%.

"Market activity remained resilient throughout the spring months, supported by strong nominal wage growth and some evidence of an improvement in confidence about the economic outlook," Halifax's head of mortgages, Amanda Bryden, said.

The stable picture for property prices over the last three months was likely to give more confidence to buyers and sellers, she added.

Money blog: The 24-minute rule - What time you should actually arrive at cinema to avoid adverts (2024)
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