AFTER slashing its prices to just £3, Darlington’s Odeon could now be the cheapest chain cinema in the country.

The Odeon on Northgate is now offering standard tickets for £3 and a family ticket for just £10, with upgrades available for premier seats and 3D films.

The competitive pricing scheme is believed to offer the cheapest cinema in the country, outside of independent venues and film clubs.

Research in May compared the prices of the UK’s leading chains – Vue, Odeon and Cineworld – to find £4 tickets at the Vue Cardiff Stadium Plaza were the UK’s cheapest, compared to £15.99 for the most expensive at Vue’s Leicester Square cinema in London.

Introduced recently, Darlington Odeon’s £3 tickets appear to make the town one of the most inexpensive places to enjoy a film.

The drop in prices has been welcomed by cinema fans across the region.

Amy Morris, from Eaglescliffe, said: “If only other cinemas would reconsider ticket pricing.

“It would cost us over £50 to take two adults and three of our children to the cinema.

“It’s just too much, we can’t justify spending that much to see a two hour film – if we wait a month, we could buy the DVD three times over.

“Other chains need to take a leaf from the Odeon’s book.”

Caroline Pearce, from Darlington, added: “I love the Darlington Odeon, it’s the best cinema I’ve been to for years and now it’s also the cheapest.

“If I were them, I’d put prices up for the atmosphere and superb customer service.”

Some cinema-goers questioned whether the recent opening of the Vue multiplex in Darlington’s town centre had influenced the decision to cut prices.

Representatives from the Odeon chain would not comment on the issue but a spokeswoman said: “We are excited to be able to give our Odeon Darlington guests a new great value for money offer with tickets from £3 all day every day.

“We offer a wide range of films throughout the year and look forward to welcoming Darlington guests back again and again to enjoy them.”

A comparison of other chains in the region found standard, on-peak 2D tickets were £9.80 at Middlesbrough Cineworld, £9.99 at Darlington’s Vue, £9.45 at Teesside Park’s Showcase, £9.39 at Hartlepool Vue, £7.95 at Newcastle and Sunderland Empire and £7.99 at Vue Gateshead,

Across the region, a number of independent cinemas and film clubs also offer competitively priced screenings.