Cineworld Cinema - Leicester Square

5 Leicester Square,
London, WC2H 7NA

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Zappomatic
Zappomatic on February 24, 2018 at 8:48 am

Another visit today, and more pictures added. The pelmet-like boxing is begging to extend around the foyer including in front of the sloped section, gaps in the ceiling have been covered with a temporary material and the hoarding extended upwards to meet it.

A wire cable trough is being added in some areas – it’s similar looking to what was put in at the O2 before the LED modules appeared but the siting of it makes me think it’s for something else.

In front of the former screen 2 there’s a piece of metal attached to the pelmet, which could be the start of a dropped ceiling.

Saw The Shape of Water in the Superscreen (screen 9) today, and the sound system did the BAFTA winning score justice. Black levels suffered in darker scenes, the visibly filthy port glass probably not helping matters.

CF100
CF100 on February 18, 2018 at 5:41 pm

Thanks Zappomatic. I’ve been tied up lately and still won’t be able to get there for a few days, so the photos are very much appreciated!

(More accurately, I could have gone there a few days ago, but it was cold, wet, and I was exhausted, and even I have to draw some limits to this cinema obsession business!)

Interestingly, the contractor appears to be Maeve Contractors, who have done completed various projects for Empire Cinemas, but none listed on their site for Cineworld. They were the main contractor for the IMAX/IMPACT conversion.

Perhaps they were contracted for this project as they know the ins and outs of the building and working in a such an inaccessible site.

Their work seems to be of a very good standard, and I am probably clutching at straws, but it might be a sign that Cineworld are taking their Leicester Square location very seriously.

Not sure what the “boxing” elements are for in your photos, it looks there is coving above the curved wall section? It does seem that there are more details than Cineworld’s rendering suggested, though.

Screen 8 for the IMAX? Very strange…

Zappomatic
Zappomatic on February 18, 2018 at 12:16 pm

Just over a week since the cinema reopened, and a few minor visible changes:

The foyer HVAC system seems to have been reinstalled (it was really cold last Friday) with vents appearing above the temporary concessions stand.

The curved wall has had the top and sides built out to house either a screen or a lightbox, and some of the rest of the ceiling has a sort of boxing on it (see photos) which I’m guessing will house LED wall washers. Presumably they’ll also use this to create a drop ceiling, but can’t really tell.

The door in the hoarding in front of former screens 4 and 5 was open and work was going on inside the entrances to the screens (sorry, didn’t get a photo of that)

The IMAX screen has been numbered as screen 8.

CF100
CF100 on February 11, 2018 at 12:46 pm

Zappomatic: Good point about the plasterboard! I think the fact that it’s white threw me off, but then they’d have to have repainted it anyway—the old paint was slightly cracked in one or more places, too.

I notice from Cineworld’s rendering that there is a “dropped” section of ceiling with decorative (concealed or strip) lighting, so I may have jumped the gun.

Actually, I’d not noticed that the spheres were silver, either. I should say that I assumed those ballustrates are from the ‘89 refurb, as they’re not shown in a photo from 1986.

Of course, the landing/Screen 2 access was a later addition, as can be seen in Wonderful First Night (1964) newsreel footage. (Direct link to relevant time in video.)

Funnily enough, although I actually refered to photos 1/2 when writing my last post, I hadn’t actually made the connection that the concessions were previously in that section. Must have been tired!

By also viewing this FrightFest 2017 cinema tour (direct link to relevant section of video), it is easy to see that Cineworld are moving everything forward in line with the access to the Superscreen/upper level screens.

I was half-joking about “Passengers”-style model, but it doesn’t seem too far a stretch to pre-order all the concessions, turn up, get eticket validated on entry, concessions order is then automatically prepared, wait for your number to appear on the screen… (albeit that’s more like the McDonald’s/Argos model!)

I suppose we’re not there yet with robot auditorium cleaners…

Zappomatic
Zappomatic on February 11, 2018 at 4:10 am

It’s definitely new plasterboard and lights under the sloped section. Plasterboard and LED downlights are cheap and when you’re selling stuff you want it to look its best!

Yes, the black marble is next to the old screen 2 entrance. I hadn’t noticed before that the spheres on top of the balustrade are silver rather than brass but now that I’ve seen it it looks a little odd.

Interesting you should say that the walled-off section would be good for concessions, because if you look at older photos this is where they were originally.

easyCinema in Milton Keynes already went for the Passengers style model and that failed. That said, I remember when Cineworld had Haymarket and there was the odd occasion where I went into a screen without anyone checking my ticket…

CF100
CF100 on February 10, 2018 at 7:51 am

Zappomatic: Ah! The paint looked OK from your photos, I guess it’ll be covered over with wall carpet or similar.

Ceiling, comparing your photos—1 and 2/3—the whole ceiling appears to be at the higher level, the metalwork already being in place, with no “coving” sections, albeit perhaps these could be attached later. I notice there is a “notch” cut out in the plasterboard, which might be for a “lightbox”-type feature, similar to those in Cineworld’s rendering?

I can’t imagine the sloped ceiling section will remain that way either—it’s not obvious whether those are the existing lights though; if they are, then clearly much of the lighting has been removed, along with the grilles for the air conditioning—but I’d assume it’s new plasterboard rather than messing about covering over those holes. Odd!

The moving of the curved wall section and partitioning off of the “box office” seems like a bad idea as I’d have thought that would be a good place to put concessions. However, that is the location depicted in the Cineworld rendering.

BTW, I assume the remaining bits of black marble you mention are by the 4DX entrance? I notice there is a veritable rat’s nest of wires hanging out of the room behind!

The balustrading at the edge of the landing towards the 4DX entrance looks somewhat out of place, with the spheres on top being the last vestiges of 80’s postmodernism from the ‘89 refurb.

As for a McDonald’s type ordering system, it’s not too hard to imagine the day when cinemas are like “Passengers” and humans are eliminated altogether!

Zappomatic
Zappomatic on February 10, 2018 at 3:06 am

All of the finishes are very much temporary, for example the rendering on the walls is quite rough and the paint a single, hurried coat.

Sound coming through from the IMAX is more than just low frequency rumbles and rattles, but not enough to make out dialogue. I suspect there’s a lot more to be done with the ceiling and doubt we’ll end up with one big smooth expanse. I can’t imagine that ceiling above the temporary concessions being left white or even with those lights.

I don’t think there’s enough space to provide the full retail offer where the temporary concessions stand is as there just isn’t the height and depth to provide things like ice cream (Cineworld website is listing Baskin Robbins, which isn’t there yet). Perhaps we’ll see something like a McDonald’s/Argos style ordering system to prevent queues snaking across the foyer?

One slightly odd thing I’ve noticed is that where there was previously a disused box office at the top of the stairs as you came in, this is now walled-off and the curved wall brought out to meet it. Seems unusual to take circulation space away but I guess they needed a bigger stockroom.

CF100
CF100 on February 9, 2018 at 7:10 pm

Zappomatic: Thank you for the report and photos. I’m amazed they’ve reopened in that state!

Looks like good quality work.

I’m assuming those black walls are the final finish pending further fittings on top? Unimpressive compared to, for example, the vestibule marble cladding. As you suggest, wait for the finished result… but… hmm…

Very interesting to see the underside of the IMAX stadia. On the subject of sound leakage, peak level low frequencies were already audible in the foyer—as a “rattle”—so I’m assuming it’s currently worse?

Wonder if insulation will be installed. There is a lot more that could be done; what’s there looks quite inadequate.

It also seems the raised central ceiling section won’t be reinstated, with the whole ceiling at one level.

The position of the “temporary” concessions stand makes some sense, perhaps it will stay there permanently? (Perhaps thereby alleviating the “concessions stand customers in the way of the toilets” issue.)

Zappomatic
Zappomatic on February 9, 2018 at 1:16 pm

Work done so far is mostly just stripping-out. All floor finishes in the main foyer have been removed and the floor is covered with plastic, and all wall finishes have been removed bar a little black marble next to the box office. Some walls have recesses with electrical and network outlets, obviously meant to house portrait-oriented screens.

The ceiling has been replaced, bar a large section over what was the kiosk meaning you can see the underside of the risers in the IMAX screen. Current kiosk is a tiny temporary arrangement on the opposite side, which is going to struggle if anything in the IMAX gets a big audience.

On the access to the Superscreen and renumbered screens 5-7 the padded wall panels are gone as is the gold wallpaper on the front of the lift, but the golf finish remains once you get upstairs. The only remnant of Empire branding in the foyer is the IMPACT sign.

Toilets have had a partial refurb, with new floor tiles, sinks and lighting. Work in here also seems incomplete as some of the old lighting arrangement remains and the ceiling is filthy (made only more visible by the fact the floor is a lighter colour and the new lights are brighter). The new sinks and taps are a more conventional design than the old ones which is good as they were prone to creating puddles on the floor.

No changes in the screen I was in and seemingly no maintenance done over the closed period. Side masking inoperative, the fixed masking at top and bottom looking uneven and the focus soft. (At one point during the film there was a thud from someone nearby slamming a door or dropping something heavy which made the image shake!).

At the moment it’s far from finished and just in a state that just about allows them to operate as a cinema, so too early to make a call on the finished result.

CF100
CF100 on February 9, 2018 at 7:31 am

It did seem optimistic to have the foyer complete within a few weeks!

Ian: What were you able to see from outside?

Unfinished is more interesting, however… I look forward (with some trepidation!) to Zappomatic’s photos.

Ian
Ian on February 9, 2018 at 6:47 am

I looked into the foyer (from outside) yesterday and it seemed very unlikely to be finished by lunchtime today!

Zappomatic
Zappomatic on February 9, 2018 at 5:02 am

Reopens this afternoon. Cineworld have sent this email out to Unlimited members (accompanied by a voucher for free popcorn):

“We are pleased to share that Cineworld Leicester Square is officially open, just in time to catch blockbusters including Fifty Shades Freed and Black Panther.

When catching your movie you’ll notice that Cineworld Leicester Square is going through a refurbishment. We know improvement works are annoying but you’re sure to be amazed by the difference."

I’m visiting after work so will be sure to report back with some photos, but I’m pretty much expecting a mostly finished foyer and not a lot else.

Zappomatic
Zappomatic on February 6, 2018 at 2:20 am

If you click on the time for a screening, there’s a little red summary tab at the top right of the screen which will show you the screen number. If you want to see thsee seating plan just add a ticket to the basket and click through to the next screen.

CF100
CF100 on February 5, 2018 at 6:31 pm

Zappomatic: Where are you getting the screen number information? Doesn’t show for me on the bookings pages, albeit I imagine with Unlimited you can simply reserve bookings and unreserve them to get the e-ticket showing the screen number/name?

Hmm, I see the IMAX auditorium re-opens with “Fifty Shades.” :–( Ho-hum…

Zappomatic
Zappomatic on February 5, 2018 at 12:58 pm

Reopens this Friday.

Screen 6 is now screen 3
Screen 7 is now screen 5
Screen 8 is now screen 6
Screen 9 is now screen 7

Nothing is listed for the former screens 2, 4 and 5. My guess is that screen 2 will become screen 4 (for 4DX) and 4 and 5 will become 1 and 2.

CF100
CF100 on February 4, 2018 at 10:22 am

Ian: In the main planning application for the current canopy/signage, which was approved in 2007, the “Empire Theatre” name was proposed to be covered over with an “EMPIRE” sign.

I wonder why it was not installed?

I doubt Westminster would be keen, albeit there are historic precedents for it—and weren’t the outlines of the “EMPIRE THEATRE” name originally illuminated?

The current high-level side IMAX sign, though refused by Westminster, was allowed on appeal. The hung banner adverts have the subject of contention over the years, with the present compromise settled on.

Covering over the “EMPIRE THEATRE” name is the sort of thing that, I suspect, would be used as part of a “compromise deal”—i.e. if you let us do X, we won’t pursue Y—in this case leaving it uncovered.

Ian
Ian on February 4, 2018 at 1:43 am

Photo of the facade at night during the renovations here – possibly a brief period when it is all visible, without adverts. Will they, I wonder cover the Empire Theatre name?

EMPIRE THEATRE

CF100
CF100 on February 3, 2018 at 4:13 pm

Photo of a repair to the Leicester Place elevation uploaded—there has been a “hole” for some time, at least since the IMAX/IMPACT conversion works, as shown in Google Maps Streetview*. Most recently it seemed to have found use as a small dustbin!

No idea if this was a convenient access point for mice and flies. ;–)

(* I had to use a goo.gl link as CT’s software seems to turn the full URL into a link to the Fox Theatre in Detroit!)

CF100
CF100 on January 31, 2018 at 6:44 pm

Zappomatic: LOL… well, it would make for, erm, a unique augmented cinematic experience. ;–)

Screen 5? The only way I can think that would make sense is if 4/5 become ½, 6 becomes 3, IMAX/Screen 3 becomes IMAX/Screen 4—if they show non-IMAX films, then the IMAX isn’t an “IMAX”!— and 7/8/9 become 5/6/7, with the 4DX and Superscreen unnumbered.

Zappomatic
Zappomatic on January 31, 2018 at 9:41 am

Looks like some renumbering of the screens is going on, as The Greatest Showman Sing-A-Long is now bookable from 23 February in screen 5 except the seating plan matches the layout of screen 7. I guess with a clean slate there’s no reason to keep the Superscreen and IMAX as screens 1 and 3 respectively.

Zappomatic
Zappomatic on January 29, 2018 at 3:16 pm

I wonder if there will be a 4DX version of Fifty Shades? ;)

CF100
CF100 on January 29, 2018 at 2:36 pm

Another “Fifty Shades” film? Good grief…

(Incidentally, a number of seats are already reserved for the first screening listed at 19:30!)

I guess then literally all that will have happened is strip out/fit out of the foyer/public access areas. I had an odd dream last night in which I removed a piece of the old marble wall cladding from a skip outside…!

Zappomatic
Zappomatic on January 29, 2018 at 1:40 pm

Fifty Shades Freed is bookable in the Superscreen (shudder) from 9 February and Black Panther in the IMAX from 13 February. No obvious changes to the seat maps in these screens.

CF100
CF100 on January 28, 2018 at 4:33 pm

Westminster Building Control application no. 17/00439/OTHFP has had its status updated to “Building Work Started,” with the 15th January 2018 as the commencement date.

I cannot locate any new licensing application on Westminster’s site, which I assume will be required for the 4DX screen. I suspect the cinema will not be reopening by “early February”!

Incidentally—or perhaps not coincidentally—the hoarding on Leicester Street for the 1-4 Leicester Square works (hotel, etc.) has now been removed.

CF100
CF100 on January 28, 2018 at 3:20 pm

I had a look at the current external state of the Empire Leicester Square last night—no changes to the main entrance, but the poster boxes are now empty. The high level IMAX sign remains lit, as does the colour LED display on the left side of the canopy. (Although some sections were flickering!)

Other than the notice on the Leicester Square doors, the only sign of any building work is a “Construction Site” notice on the Leicester Street fire exit doors—photo uploaded.

A couple of repairs seem to have been completed to the Leicester Place elevation, photo to follow.