Make no bones about it, the UK has been screaming out for a local equivalent to the sprawling and genius beast that is the San Diego Comic-Con, as well as something that offers “regular movie fans” the opportunity to enjoy a similar festival that takes into account their various levels of nerdery, without feeling like they are second-class behind hacks and those attendees who turn up in full Klingon gear every year without fail.

And now, thanks to Empire Magazine, British film-fest-fans are set to get their wish, with August seeing the inaugural Big Screen festival opening at the O2 and offering a so far unrivaled opportunity to get up close and personal with the movie world. I had the opportunity to meet the Empire team at a swanky, on-the-beach restaurant yesterday to find out some more details, and to be punched in the soul by the very best steak I have ever eaten. And I’ve eaten a lot of steak in my time.

The event is already backed by all the major studies, and with the promise of hot previews and premieres, it seems that we of Her Majesty’s Green and Pleasant Land might be bragging about seeing some new movie content before the rest of the world for once. And while it might seem a bloody long trek for Stateside festival goers, that has to be enough of a draw to pull some of you across the Atlantic come August 12th.

The event will have something for movie fans young and old, whether they be hard core film fans, the occasional cinema goer, those looking for something to do at a weekend and entire families – with a vast array of activities catering for all tastes and interests.

I’ve seen a map, and some early details and it all looks devilishly exciting – along with Big Screen theaters, which will show the preview material, Big Screen will be extended with ten Cineworld screens, a Special FX Arena (with shows), a Hollywood Boulevard (featuring props and costumes) and Studio City (where the studios get to show off). Unfortunately, the plan to have a Millennium Falcon land on the O2 arena never came to pass though.

So if you’re in the UK during the summer, or if you have deep enough pockets to allow a trip, I’d suggest looking in on the O2 Arena between the 12th and the 14th of August. It’s going to be big.

Remember to follow me on Twitter for more on-site observations. You can also check out my other filmic writings at

Cannes coverage continues…

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