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graduate jobs

Sport & Recreation

Cinema Manager

Job Description

Do you enjoy going to the cinema? Does the smell of fresh popcorn make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside? Is Orange Wednesdays your favourite day of the week? Do you wish you could spend every single day surrounded by the pick ‘n’ mix, ticket stubs and happy customers? Well then, get a load of this…

Cinema managers are the big (hot) dogs of the cinema world. These friendly people work like Trojans to make sure that the UK’s cinemas are run in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

If you decide to enter the magical world of cinema management, you’ll be responsible for every aspect of the business, from team management and HR to advertising, sales and budget control.

As a cinema manager, you will be a team leader, a business planner, a human resources officer and a marketing executive all rolled into one. Essentially, you will run the joint.

Responsibilities will include:

- Promoting films

- Training staff

- Handling complaints and customer enquiries

- Dealing with problems as and when they arise.

Your most important duty, however, will be to make sure that every customer comes away from the cinema with a delirious, sugar-fuelled smile on their face.

You’ll have complete budget control and you’ll be responsible for ensuring the overall financial success of the cinema. You will also be responsible for making sure health and safety regulations are adhered to by every member of staff.

You might even be responsible for masterminding promotional events at your cinema, hosting film premieres, organising film festivals and handling press enquiries. 

Salary & benefits

As a trainee cinema manager, you’re likely to earn between £15,000 and £21,000 per annum. However, as you progress and take on more responsibility, your salary will increase to around £24,000.

Once you are given senior managerial responsibility for a cinema or chain of cinemas, you’re likely to earn £50,000 or more.

Understandably, you will also get the added bonus of free cinema tickets!

Working hours

You will be required to work unsociable hours on a regular basis. Understandably, evening and weekend work is a regular fixture, as most people go to the cinema outside of ‘normal’ working hours.


Many cinema managers climb the career ladder over a number of years, starting off in roles lower down the (snack) food chain. Consequently, a degree is by no means essential for entry into this line of work.

An undergraduate degree, however, may give you the opportunity to advance a little bit quicker! This career path is open to all graduates, but a degree in business studies, hospitality management, events management or film studies may give you an edge over other candidates.

Most importantly, it’s essential that you gain relevant work experience, particularly in a managerial or team leading capacity.

Most cinemas will not accept applications from candidates under the age of 18.

Training & progression

If you work for a large cinema chain, you may be put through a structured training programme, where you’ll learn about all aspects of the business, from health and safety to HR and marketing. If you work for an independent cinema, much of your training will be done whilist on the job.

Once you have progressed from trainee to duty manager, the next step up will be the position of senior cinema manager. From there, you may even become the regional manager for a handful of cinemas across a specific area.

Eventually, you might choose to break out on your own and start an independent cinema. Alternatively, you could explore managerial opportunities in other areas of the leisure industry; how about theme park management?!


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