The 23rd James Bond film is getting grown men excited. Again.
When Skyfall opens on screen at Cineworld Broad Street’s invitation-only Midlands premiere tonight, there will be beaming smiles all round.
And none bigger than on the faces of cinema manager Paul Millington and his former chief projectionist Mick Corfield.
Yes, the opening of Cineworld’s brand new £1 million IMAX screen will provide an added lustre to proceedings.
But, even without that magical extra, they both acknowledge that 007 always brings out the little boy in grown men. Guaranteed.
Father-of-three Mick, 52, is still arranging holidays around each film’s release, even though he lost his job at Cineworld two years ago when the digital age arrived like a merciless Bond villain to begin killing off traditional projectionists.
Now a leading official with the Midland wing of broadcasting union Bectu, he hasn’t let his new job get in the way of his hero.
He says: “James Bond was the first father figure I found in my life.
“I realise now that perhaps he’s not the best role model I could have chosen.
“But while my family is the love of my life and the Baggies are my passion, James Bond is my hobby.”
He’s seen each film at least 10 times, met all six Bond actors and been to every 007 premiere since 1983, including the one for Skyfall at the Royal Albert Hall this week.
Having already seen the world’s first screening of the film in London the week before that, tonight’s regional premiere will be his third encounter with Daniel Craig’s third outing in the role.
This time, Mick might not need the headache tablets he took prior to watching the world’s first public screening with me when we headed the queue for the best seats at London’s 1,600 seater flagship Leicester Square Odeon.
“I think Skyfall is a brilliant drama and it’s in my top five along with On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Casino Royale, The Spy Who Loved Me and Licence to Kill,” he says.
For Paul Millington, the desire to see Bond on his prized new IMAX screen is building up to one of the great moments of his life.
“I’ve been here for six years, since two months before Casino Royale was released in 2006 funnily enough, and the cinema has been here for 13 years.
“As well as the IMAX screen, we are giving the whole building a complete makeover with new signage, decor and carpets.
“It will be like Birmingham is getting a new cinema.”
Cineworld’s bold move comes after Millennium Point gave up on the large screen brand after 10 years in order to reinvent itself a year ago as The Giant Screen Cinema.
Now there are many more blockbuster-sized IMAX films in the pipeline, including this year’s Twilight and The Hobbit films.
Paul is satisfied that customers will be willing to pay a new premium price of £11.90 per ticket (Unlimited card members will pay £4.50 per film on top of their annual membership fee, though like all tickets this price will be discounted by 10 per cent if bought online).
Classic movies like Jurassic Park, Raiders of the Lost Ark and even The Dark Knight Rises will be screened during any fallow periods.
“We’re in safe hands because the IMAX brand has been embraced by major filmmakers like Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight Rises) and now Sam Mendes (Skyfall),” says Paul.
“The quality will be 40 per cent better than any other screen we currently have.
“Cineworld is all about giving people a better cinematic experience and a superior customer service.
“All of my managers have been here a long time now, all have worked their way up and all have smiles on their faces when dealing with customers.”
For Paul, then, the James Bond factor tonight is simply the icing on the cake.
“Advance sales have been extremely positive and, with more to come next year, we’re also now one of the top 10 cinemas for premieres in the country, thanks to great support from Film Birmingham, Marketing Birmingham and the city council.
“Having stars as big as Usain Bolt here and then Danny De Vito for The Lorax in the same weekend this summer was brilliant, the highlight of my time here.”
Paul went to the US in the mid 90s on a Major League soccer scholarship prior to taking a business management degree in Florida.
He’s previously worked for companies like Hooters in the US and UK and for a lifestyle management company that looks after footballers.
Today, Paul recognises that turning down a job at Birmingham’s now defunct Hard Rock Cafe to join Cineworld was “the best thing I’ve ever done”.
Now a general manager and also Cineworld’s head of marketing for the Midlands’ region, Paul smiles: “I have always enjoyed watching movies and I love James Bond. Live and Let Die is my favourite,” he grins.