THOUSANDS of star-studded Hollywood romances have played out on its screens.
Now the Phoenix Picturehouse, in Jericho, has its very own love story to tell after a couple got engaged in blockbuster fashion at the Walton Street cinema.
Richard Smith, 30, created a movie trailer to pop the question to Holly Lawton Smith, 28.
Mr Smith pretended to be running late for the Christmas Eve screening of It’s a Wonderful Life, then as a movie trailer-style proposal featuring a montage of scenes of the couple came on to the screen, he appeared with a bunch of flowers and a ring and got down on one knee.
Mr Smith, who said he had been planning the unusual proposal since last April, said: “We are both media teachers so it made sense to do it in that way, but I couldn’t believe how well it all came together – it was as if fate was giving me a helping hand.”
Miss Lawton Smith’s family, who were also there to watch the film, were in on the scheme, but Mr Smith admitted to being “very nervous” about proposing in front of an audience of 150 people.
He said: “I did imagine me going on one knee and Holly saying something like ‘can we talk about this later’ and 150 people saying ‘oh this is awkward’ but I knew she would say yes really.
“Within an hour she was talking about colour schemes.”
He added: “The Phoenix will definitely have a special place in my heart from now on – we will go back every year.”
The couple, who have been together for five years, live in Chatham, Kent, but were visiting Miss Lawton Smith’s family in Headington. They have already set a date and will be married on December 23 at the Holt Hotel near Steeple Aston.
Miss Lawton Smith admitted she was completely taken by surprise by the proposal.
The former Cheney School pupil said: “I was kind of hoping he might propose at some point in the next year but didn’t expect it at all.
“I was sitting in the cinema thinking he was late and looking at my phone, wondering where he was.
“When the trailer came up at first I thought it was for the new Batman film because of the logo and music, then some of the words in the voiceover were quite similar to things he would say.
“As soon as I started to twig I just started crying and when he came out I was crying with joy and excitement.”
She added: “It was amazing, so amazing, really thoughtful and very dramatic.
“There was no doubt as to my answer, that was one thing that couldn’t have gone wrong.”