Europe’s largest privately owned cinema operator, Vue International, is making a strategic move into film distribution, addressing a supply shortage exacerbated by the recent Hollywood strikes. 

This bold shift aims to bring more British, foreign, and independent films to Vue’s screens and those of its competitors.

New Distribution Arm Launched, Partnerships and Collaborative Efforts

Last month, Vue established a distribution arm in the United Kingdom, a relatively unusual move for a cinema chain. This initiative will enable Vue to gain greater control over the films shown in its cinemas, providing a solution to the supply issues caused by the Hollywood strikes. 

Vue’s Chief Executive highlighted that the strikes led to a significant shortage of new movies this year, prompting the company to start distributing its own films.

During the Cannes Film Festival, Vue announced partnerships with UK producers Andy Paterson and Annalise Davis, as well as Dimension Studio, a virtual production company. This collaboration aims to distribute the films produced by these partners, further diversifying Vue’s offerings and strengthening its distribution capabilities.

Strategic Advantages, AI Utilisation, Industry Context and Comparisons

Vue’s move into distribution is supported by its extensive use of predictive artificial intelligence, developed over the past eight years. This technology helps determine which films to show on specific screens, matching movies with the appropriate audiences. 

Vue’s AI system provides insights into regional preferences for Asian, Turkish, Polish, or Italian films, enabling precise scheduling adjustments. This innovative approach has allowed Vue to screen more films each week than its competitors, maximising audience satisfaction and box office returns.

The Hollywood actors and screenwriters’ strike last summer, the first joint industry strike in 60 years, significantly disrupted film production in 2023. 

In response, Vue’s strategic pivot mirrors moves by the world’s largest cinema chain, AMC, which has also expanded its distribution business following successful releases, like Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour and Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé.

Expert Opinions and Innovative Approaches to Film Scheduling

The lead of cinema research at consultancy Omdia, remarked that while distributors traditionally control film supply, Vue’s foray into distribution offers the company greater flexibility and control over its content. 

What’s more, they feel that this move is particularly timely given the current pressures on content supply. Vue’s AI technology also enables dynamic scheduling, allowing for day-to-day and even intraday adjustments based on real-time demand. 

This capability ensures optimal screen allocation, with decisions, such as keeping a successful film on the largest screen for an additional week, a flexibility not yet achieved by competitors at scale.


Vue International’s entry into film distribution represents a significant and strategic shift for the company, leveraging advanced AI technology to navigate supply shortages and enhance control over film content. 

Through innovative partnerships and a bold approach to cinema operations, Vue is poised to redefine its role in the industry, setting a new standard for flexibility and audience engagement in the cinema sector.