ONE of the more intriguing trends of 2018 has been the ongoing resurgence of the cinema. UK box-office numbers are estimated to top 176 million cinema visits this year – the highest total since 1971. This isn’t just a British phenomenon either – over in America, ticket sales are expected to exceed $12 billion for the first time.

What’s curious about all of this is that it doesn’t particularly feel as though it has been a vintage year for the movies, or one festooned with mega-blockbusters. This has been a year between without a new Bond or a proper Star Wars film; neither has there been any Let It Go moment in the way Frozen took hold of children’s imaginations a few years ago.

Instead, 2018 has seen a wider number of films doing brisk rather than brilliant business. That started back in January with The Greatest Showman becoming one of those surprise sleeper hits: a musical theme that continued with Mamma Mia 2, Bohemian Rhapsody and A Star is Born. The top ten of the year has then been bulked out with sequels and franchises – Avengers: Infinity War, Incredibles 2, Black Panther, Jurassic World, Peter Rabbit, and Deadpool 2. In 2017, four films broke the magic £40 million mark in the UK; in 2018, this number looks likely to end in double figures.

In the same way as the money in music has shifted from records to live shows, so it seems that however high-fangled the latest TV, watching a DVD at home can’t replicate the cinema experience. There’s just something different about watching a great film on the big screen that remains in the memory. I still remember watching Back to the Future when it came out, the audience applauding when Biff and friends had a truck of manure dumped on them: seeing Jurassic Park in Ireland, complete with children screaming and running out of the cinema; watching Titanic on the big screen at the Odeon in Leicester Square, preceded in old-fashioned style by a man playing the organ.

But while cinema audiences are growing, Salisbury’s cinema experience has not moved with the times. One of the reasons cited for the increase in numbers has been the improvement of what cinema offers: higher quality screens and boutique operators; cinemas offering sofas and at-seat services; other offering ‘4DX’ viewings complete with wind, fog, water and scents.

There’s no doubt that the Salisbury Odeon is housed in a remarkable building, but when our unique cinema experience includes limited wheelchair access, poor sound and wonky heating, it might be time for a change. The multiplex pencilled in as part of the Maltings development might just bring Salisbury’s cinema experience back to the future.