New doors open for director with a cinematic background
The 1950s were the heyday of the silver screen here but with upgrades around the country Paul Anderson may be looking at a sequel
“When we went for the four-screen extension, none of the original objectors came in. I think most of them are our patrons now and they realised their original objections were groundless.”
The Swan cinema opened in 2009 at a cost of €3 million, with a further screen added in 2012 at a cost of €1 million.
The new cinema will include an OmniplexMAXX giant screen which will be the largest screen in the country after one at the group’s Mahon cinema in Cork.
But what does Paul’s father think of all the developments?
“My father came out of retirement in 2003 at the grand age of 88 to remind me how it’s done. He is now 98 and he doesn’t understand current numbers and how much everything costs. He remembers €1 million to be a lot of money so when he hears I’m spending €5 million on the Swan cinema he thinks I’m mad.”
While the Omniplex group re-registered as an unlimited company in 2008, affording it secrecy in terms of financial affairs, company accounts from that year show the group had assets totalling more than €71 million.
The family netted a nice sum from the 2009 wind-up of Torgyle Holdings, in which they had a 76 per cent stake. Torgyle was an active investor in quoted companies such as Glanbia, Fyffes and Qualceram Shires, and had a surplus of €50 million in cash and investments when it was liquidated.
Paul was also involved in a consortium which purchased a south Dublin housing site for €31.75 million in 2000. The consortium sold the 11.3 acre site adjacent to the Stillorgan dual Carriageway four years later to Glenkerrin Homes for €85 million.
Things have not always been plain sailing though. While Kevin Anderson and Leo Ward maintained good relations from the time they established, the next generation didn’t inherit these close ties.
A long-running dispute between Paul and his Ward counterpart (also named Paul) ended up in the High Court earlier this year, resulting in them splitting €30.85 million worth of cinemas.
To a certain extent, the cinema interests of both families were always separate, with the Ward family owning the Irish Multiplex Cinemas or IMC brand and the Andersons controlling Omniplex. The Dublin Cinema Group, however, was owned jointly by both families.
The final credits may have rolled on the epic business relationship between the two families following the Dublin Cinema Group split, but the sequel is still playing.
Name: Paul Anderson
Position: Managing director of Omniplex Group
Lives: Shrewsbury Road, Dublin 4.
Education: Glenstall Abbey, Co Limerick.
Family: Married to Margaret with two sons and three daughters.
Something you might expect: He likes to see every film that is released.
Something you might not expect: He watches some of these films on Sky.