Billy makes it to the silver screen after impressing cinema bosses in Sheffield - watch the video
Cineworld has made one young boy’s year after featuring him as the star of their latest advert and inviting him to see it on the big screen with a red carpet premiere in Sheffield.
Billy Neal, an aspiring, young movie maker became the star of the advert after uploading a video of himself re-creating the magic of cinema at home during lockdown.
Billy’s video was posted on social media in response to a Taskmaster ‘HomeTasking’ challenge set by Alex Horne, co-host of the TV show. Task #8 challenged families to ‘turn your bed into something that isn’t a bed’.
The inspiration to turn a bed into a Cineworld cinema came as Billy’s mother Sarah, film fanatic father Glen, and their two children Billy and Bella sat around the kitchen table discussing what they normally enjoy doing over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend – going to the cinema.
The Neal family filled their popcorn boxes and cinema drinking cups. Billy dressed-up as a Cineworld usher complete with bow tie from a school play costume and a homemade Cineworld name badge. To replicate the ‘Cineworld’ experience, the family also made cinema tickets and signs for the different screens, putting the 'main screen' on the parent’s bedroom door and a small screen sign for youngest sibling Bella’s bedroom door. In the final video, Billy is seen stumping tickets and showing his family to their seats using a torch. To fully embrace the real cinema experience, the family is heard shushing as the movie starts.
Billy didn’t win the ‘HomeTasking’ challenge, but the family didn’t mind. Billy’s mum Sarah said: “Sadly we did not make the shortlist of best entries, but we spent a good couple of hours talking about it, creating it, practising it and then filming it - it gave us great entertainment and something that all four of us enjoyed doing so much together. We also loved that Cineworld saw it on Twitter and retweeted it - Billy was so happy and very excited to see how many views it was getting over that weekend.”
Cineworld is rewarding Billy for his loyalty and creativity by making his dream come true and giving him the opportunity to see himself on the big screen with his family and friends. Billy’s video has been included in a new Cineworld advert which will play before the main feature across 100 of its cinemas nationwide. Not only will it be the first time Billy will see himself in a movie on the big screen, it is also the first time the Neal family will visit Cineworld post-lockdown.
Lockdown was tough for the Neal family, as Sarah explained: “As a midwife at Rotherham Hospital I worked 12-hour shifts, sometimes longer, which was both physically and emotionally challenging. Seeing from the frontline how the coronavirus impacted families across the country was hard-hitting. Billy and Bella went to school while I was at work and on my days off I was home-schooling them”.
After living without cinema for the last four months, Cineworld has gifted Billy and each of his family members unlimited cards so that they can watch as many movies as they want for an entire year.
Cineworld chose to feature Billy in its new ad because of his genuine love for cinema. When asked why he loved movies so much, Billy replied: ‘’I love the whole cinema experience. The big screen makes you feel part of the movie and means you can escape into other worlds. During lockdown I’ve been watching a lot of old classic films with my dad, along with my favorites like Harry Potter and Marvel. My favorite thing is definitely to be taken on an adventure through a movie.”
Casey Cohen, Head of Marketing at Cineworld said; “It’s wonderful to see the impact and inspiration cinema brings to our customers. We know how much our customers missed going to the cinema while we were closed and we are delighted to now welcome them back. Billy’s video shows a family’s authentic love of cinema and although he did his very best to capture the cinema experience, he knows where the best place to watch a movie really is. Billy is a fantastic young boy with a lot of potential. We hope this will be the first of many red-carpet events for him.”