Robert Powell has been branded an ‘elitist snob’ for saying bigger cinemas that serve junk food have ‘only got themselves to blame’ if they are forced to close during the pandemic.
The actor, 76, who is best known for his roles in Jesus of Nazareth and The 39 Steps, appeared on Good Morning Britain today from his North London home alongside Game of Thrones actress Laura Pradelska, to debate whether cinemas are worth saving during the pandemic.
He argued that mainstream cinemas should not be bailed out, because there’s ‘no experience’ in sitting next to someone ‘eating cheesy nachos’, while smaller independent cinemas will likely survive.
it comes as Odeon announced it’s shutting a quarter of its 120 venues, and Cineworld confirmed plans to close sites in UK and US with 45,000 jobs lost worldwide, including 5,500 in Britain.
Viewers were quick to brand him a ‘snob’ and point out that it doesn’t particularly matter which food someone is eating at the cinema if they happen to be a loud eater.
Robert Powell (bottom left) appeared on Good Morning Britain today alongside Game of Thrones actress Laura Pradelska (bottom right) to debate whether cinemas are worth saving during the pandemic
The Jesus of Nazareth actor, 76, argued that mainstream cinemas should not be bailed out, because there’s ‘no experience’ in sitting next to someone ‘eating cheesy nachos’
When asked whether he thought cinemas were worth saving, he said: ‘I don’t think they are, I think cinemas only have their self to blame in many ways.
‘There’s no experience in sitting next to someone eating cheesy nachos. This idea of eating junk food, it’s not a great experience.’
He went on to argue that bigger cinemas have to adapt to the demands of the public, who he believes would rather go to visit places like Electric Cinema, where tickets for the Portobello road branch start at £17.50, and Screen on the Green in Islington, where tickets cost from £13.20.
‘I’m not saying it’s not worth saving,’ Robert backtracked. ‘I think it has to go with the times. I think the industry has to change. I don’t think the big cinemas will survive.
Viewers were quick to brand him a ‘snob’ and point out that it doesn’t particularly matter which food someone is eating at the cinema if they happen to be a loud eater
‘But there’s lots of cinemas like Screen on the Green and Electric Cinema, where you go to choose to have something to eat. The problem with Vue is you can’t choose if someone is eating cheesy nachos.’
The actor is known for playing the title role in the TV miniseries Jesus of Nazareth in the 1970s
One fumed: ‘Robert Powell is coming across as an utter elitist tw**. Ban the common folk from the cinema.’
‘What a load of rubbish, Robert is talking bol****. The cinema is a night out. I didnt go to often but it’s a differnt experience to sitting in the front room,’ wrote another.
A third fumed: ‘It’s okay for actor Robert Powell on @GMB who says it’s better to watch a film at home rather than the cinema…it’s a enjoyable experience for all ages…he prob gets more exciting invitations! The rest of us don’t & need to get out of the house! @benshephard disagrees well said.’
A fourth user pointed out that it doesn’t particularly matter what type of food a guest is eating if they’re a loud eater, writing: ‘Nothing to do with the food, just those particular people who eat loudly lol, bit of a difference.’
Arguing his point further, Robert felt that as cinema has now ‘become CGI’, the general public can recreate the cinematic experience using the ‘4K flat screen’ televisions they have at home.
‘I think my argument has been cinema now has become CGI’, said Robert, ‘Cinema is just about blockbusters and big movies.
Robert appeared with actress Laura, who plays Quaithe in the popular HBO fantasy drama and argued that for many, a trip to the cinema can help ‘tackle loneliness’
‘It probably is not as good to sit at home and watch that, but home cinema has altered, we have 4K , flat screens. And television can tell stories, it really can.
‘Let’s take Game of Thrones, you couldn’t have done that in the cinema, but it told a story over a long period of time. Cinema can’t in the same way, not anymore, television has overtaken cinema.’
Robert appeared with actress Laura, who played Quaithe in the popular HBO fantasy drama and argued that for many, a trip to the cinema can help ‘tackle loneliness’.
‘With regards to food, replied Laura, ‘We’re wearing masks the entire time so the nachos shouldn’t be such an issue.
Many agreed with Laura, with one writing: ‘Thank you for speaking up for us. You were so right about the older generation they love the cinema.’
‘But there are films out there and I would be devastated. For many it’s a first date and for others it’s loneliness. I love going by myself it’s wonderful to go watch a movie in the afternoon and it’s something inclusive.’
Many agreed with Laura, with one writing: ‘Thank you for speaking up for us. You were so right about the older generation they love the cinema. We have a little cinema and it’s so well loved xx’.
Another wrote: ‘YES they’re worth saving! Cinemas have always mainly been about families and couples – family experience of bringing kids to a new movie, and couples as a cosy romantic thing to do…. My little guy LOVES the movie experience and we love bringin him! Hubby and I like them too!’