Work began in 1914 on the then to be named Majestic Theatre which opened some two years later in 1916 only to change its name to The Futurist Theatre some three years later in 1919. Always trying to be at the forefront of the cinematic medium, the Futurist was the first cinema in Birmingham to have curtains and to screen ‘talkies’ so always did its best to live up to its name.
In later years, being at the heart of the nightclub district of Birmingham and practically next door to the Alexandra Theatre meant a fair footfall of would be customers for the cinema. However, during the 1990s the area began to go into decline and with the rise of multi-screen cinemas opening elsewhere – a trend to which the building could not bow – Cannon, who by this time operated the cinema, decided time was to be called during the mid-1990s and the building lay abandoned for several years.
The building itself – possibly the most aesthetically appealing left on John Bright Street in its original state – became the DNA dance club at the close of the 1990s which limped on into the early 2000s when the Spearmint Rhino chain took over the building as their ‘Club Rouge’ gentleman’s club.
Personally, I quite liked the cinema and saw Life of Brian shown with Airplane there many years ago and it’s a shame that it is now, well, what it is but at least it hasn’t been demolished . . . or caught fire – a fate that seems to have befallen many a building around that part of the City’s regeneration zone!