Cineworld Cinema - Leicester Square

5 Leicester Square,
London, WC2H 7NA

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Ken Roe
Ken Roe on July 24, 2018 at 2:33 am

“The Ten Commandments” got an ABC general countrywide re-release in March 1973, so its possible that it played the ABC Shaftesbury Avenue a little earlier. Originally a live theatre (Saville Theatre of 1931), from 1970 it became a twin-screen cinema for ABC. Still open today as the Odeon Covent Garden

HowardBHaas on July 23, 2018 at 2:33 pm

I can partly answer from our side of the pond. The Odeon Marble Arch was divided into several auditoriums in 1996 & closed & demolished in 2006. I know of at least 2 theaters, both also since divided up but still open though endangered, on Shaftsbury but I don’t see that either was called Cinerama.

bigjoe59 on July 23, 2018 at 1:31 pm

Hello from NYC-

when i was in London the Summer of 1972 I went to two
movie theaters-the Shaftsbury Cinerama where i saw a
70MM re-issue of The Ten Commandments and the Odeon
Marble Arch where I saw Nicholas and Alexandra. are the
two theaters still standing?

CF100 on July 6, 2018 at 8:11 pm

Zappomatic: Thanks for your detailed response. :–)

The “picture frame” design that Empire Cinemas used in the former Screens 4-9 seemed to be a slightly odd throwback to the 1928 iteration of the Empire, particularly since very few patrons would “get” the reference! With the concealed edge lighting it did actually look quite good in person, though.

As you say the Cineworld refurbished auditoria are stripped down in terms of decorative features, but at least they don’t look tacky; I think Cineworld have shown some good judgement and restraint with their alterations to their LSQ cinema.

Zappomatic on July 4, 2018 at 1:56 pm

New seating is very comfortable and thickly padded although I found the back row of screen 2 to have been installed at perhaps a little too upright an angle with the headrest preventing me from sitting the way I wanted to – I didn’t notice this issue in screen 1. Surprisingly even the outer backs of the seats are padded and upholstered. The old seating was very comfortable so long as nobody was sitting in front of you, in which case the seat in front would recline back into your knees (it seemed to me a way of saving space, dressed up as a luxury). On balance I think I prefer the new seats.

Very bright, crisp picture with good black levels and contrast, and punchy sound however there was a noticeable keystone effect when projecting a flat picture. Sadly no moveable masking. In person I too was struck by the apparently low number of sidewall speakers however this might have been to do with the lighting which doesn’t tend to spread onto the walls.

These refurbished screens are less characterful than previously but no longer suffer from some of the frankly unacceptable viewing angles that they used to offer.

CF100 on July 4, 2018 at 12:05 pm

Zappomatic: Thanks for the photos, looks good!

(Hmm, except for the slightly tacky red backlit Cineworld “stars” on the sidewalls.)

360° photos of the foyer (one taken from upper vestibule, the other from the far end), Screen 1 and Screen 2 can be seen on Squaremeal’s website, under the “Virtual Tour” section towards the bottom of the page (“Room List” at the top right of the photo view area is used to select the desired shot.)

In the photo of Screen 1, the yellow upholstered door with “porthole” is still in place!

“Cineworld London Venues” — photos of the LSQ IMAX, O2 Superscreen, Cineworld Wembley and Wandsworth.)

There are photos of the 4DX auditorium in the “carousel” at the top of the page, and if it is available to book, it’s perhaps amusing to imagine a corporate event being ruined by rogue use of the 4DX environmental effects. ;–)

Photos of the former Cineworld (Empire) Leicester Square Screens 4/5 are available in Eomac’s literature in the PDF linked to from the linked page.

The new stadia do seem to have quite an improved rake. I can’t see more than 3 sidewall speakers in the “new” Screen 2, whereas the former Screen 4 had 4—although the front one may be washed out.

Zappomatic: How does the new Lino Sonego seating compare to the previous? (AFAIK from Seating Concepts.) Is the picture/sound quality up to standard?

Zappomatic on July 4, 2018 at 6:53 am

Added photos of refurbished new screen 2

LARGE_screen_format on July 3, 2018 at 1:02 pm

We’re lucky to have you posting direct links to licensing plans of interest @CF100 ;o)

CF100 on July 3, 2018 at 12:27 pm

LARGE_screen_format: Looking at the IMAX and Superscreen booking pages for LSQ, as well as one of the “studio”-sized auditorium, Cineworld’s booking system seems have two different layouts for the screen, one with “SCREEN” in a grey rectangle extending the full width, used for the “studio”-sized auditorium, and the other used for the IMAX/Superscreen, which show a similar rectangle, only the left/right sides are angled. This latter rectangle seems to have a maximum width of ~20 seats or so, and hence is the wrong relative width for the Superscreen as well as the IMAX. Clearly it’s a “generic” layout also in the sense that the seating distance from the screen isn’t represented to any kind of relative scale, either.

Licensing plans are definitely a fantastic resource, but I don’t think I’d thought to search for them either until I read a post on Cinema Treasures by Zappomatic. With inconsistent addresses, slow page load times, and so on— generally very clunky systems used—it’s not always easy to find what you’re looking for, though!

LARGE_screen_format on July 3, 2018 at 10:54 am

As I suspected, the Cineworld seating layout page is way off scale. Probably just a generic image used for the screen of any and all auditoria across the whole of their website?

These licensing plans that you post links for sure offer a level of detail one may otherwise never be privy to. Had not previously ever thought to search and look through any.

CF100 on July 3, 2018 at 10:47 am

LARGE_screen_format: Licensing plans show everything (within reason) “to scale”—try the “MEZZANINE LEVEL” PDF linked to from the “DOCUMENTS” tab on the linked page.

Based on this, 8 side seats (16 total) of row M (2nd to last row) are beyond the screen edges.

LARGE_screen_format on July 3, 2018 at 7:49 am

When booking tickets online for IMAX at Cineworld, Leicester Square the width of the screen on the seating layout page surely can’t be to scale? It isn’t even as wide as the centre section of seats alone meaning anyone sat on the two side sections would be watching from a 45-degree angle.

LARGE_screen_format on July 1, 2018 at 4:49 am


I’ve posted a reply on the Odeon, Greenwich page.

I did enjoy Rampage for what it was, a movie based on a video game, it had some good action and overall was entertaining.

CF100 on June 30, 2018 at 6:16 pm


The stadia which all but the front row of the LSQ IMAX seats are attached date from 1962, being the former “circle” seating area of Empire 1.

As theatreofvarieties kindly indicated on Cinema Treasures, in response to my tedious queries, the HVAC (air conditioning) extraction ducting is actually connected to lots of grilles behind the seating, although presumably the extract ducts could always be moved elsewhere or reconnected.

Looking at one of Zappomatic’s photos taken during the recent foyer refurbishment, which provides a partial view under the stadia, it’s clear that there is plenty of steel there, albeit I have no idea what materials are used to form the stepping itself.

Given the above, the fact that Cineworld (presumably) kept the existing intact in the foyer refurbishment works might suggest that there they have no intention of changing the stepping.

If it could be changed from above, it might difficult from a health and safety point of view, and could risk damage to the services and ceiling below.

I suppose they could, depending on structural (weight) limitations, build off the existing, but then this would presumably require the loss of half the rows?

So, based on the above uninformed brain dump and a lot of speculation on my part, it would appear to be a non-starter.

BTW: Photo of the IMPACT/Superscreen auditorium build – stadium seating structure can be seen. Note that the steel girder supporting the balcony is actually hung from the roof structure!

Did you enjoy “Rampage”?

I haven’t been to the Greenwich Odeon since it was “the filmworks”—not difficult for me to get to but AFAIK, as you mention, the IMAX auditorium has a relatively small sized screen; with the BFI and now the Leicester Square IMAX also easy for me to get to, it doesn’t seem worth the bother.

IMO it wasn’t worth visiting when it was “the filmworks,” very much a run of the mill multiplex; albeit, for better or worse, it was one of the earliest examples of an all-“black box” auditoria location in this country.

The last time I purchased food at a cinema was flavoured popcorn at the Odeon Leicester Square in the late 90s. Stopping by Five Guys before or after the performance is a better option in my view. ;–)

LARGE_screen_format on June 30, 2018 at 4:42 pm

Highly unlikely to happen but I wish Cineworld would upgrade the seats in the LSQ IMAX auditoria to luxury leather recliners. A number of Odeon Luxe and Showcase de Luxe cinemas across the country have or are being upgraded to those so why can’t/shouldn’t Cineworld’s ‘flagship’ cinema be able to match those?

I watched Rampage in IMAX at Odeon, Greenwich. Not the largest IMAX screen but was passing the area with a friend of mine who had never been to this cinema and I had often mentioned it having watched many movies there in the mid 00’s (before IMAX was installed). Odeon’s food offering there is significantly better than that found at Cineworld, Empire or Vue cinemas imo.

CF100 on June 30, 2018 at 4:27 pm

Hmm… it might. In my view the LSQ IMAX is currently the best cinema in the West End—not necessarily in terms of programming but as a cinema, i.e. overall package of comfort (legroom issue isn’t a massive problem for me,) outstanding picture quality, middle row seat positioning in relation to the screen, and very good sound also, plus some of the spacious scale and other memories of the old Empire 1 are still there.

However, the concept I have in mind as far as the “première” auditoria are concerned is to be able to see the same film in multiple “premium” formats rather than, say, having to choose between Superscreen/Atmos and IMAX with Laser. Paying the “normal” price for tickets, particularly if the 4DX is included also, starts to become absurd.

The annual cost of the Unlimited West End card still pays for lots of IMAX tickets per year, so, on that basis alone it’s perhaps slightly hard to justify. But then I could see, say, “Rampage” in the IMAX screen… just for the sake of it.

Also, I quite like the idea of cinema trips being special events rather than multiple visits to see whatever in whatever auditorium, which could dilute the experience?

What can I say… I’m just dreadfully slow when it comes to mulling over purchases in excess of three figures… and my number one priority this week by a country mile was getting my air conditioner reinstated at home. :–)

LARGE_screen_format on June 30, 2018 at 3:08 pm

If there was no uplift charge for IMAX (rather than Superscreen) would you be asking Cineworld to take your money (for an Unlimited West End card)? ;o)

CF100 on June 30, 2018 at 2:09 pm

Can’t speak for Cineworld but pretty obviously if you’re rebranding/resigning all the foyer/lobby/access areas then that provides an opportunity to tidy things up by renumbering.

With all incremental changes made over the years including additional auditoria the cinema has become something of a maze, and introducing a 4DX screen only adds to the potential confusion.

The current scheme makes sense in that, from the top of the vestibule stairs up from the Leicester Square entrance, turn left for Screens 1-3, all sequential along the left side of the foyer, and turn right for 5-7, all at upper levels.

That then leaves 4 as the odd one out among 4/8/9 among screens that are normally referenced by “brand name,” but at least the 4DX can’t be confused with another Screen 4.

Other permutations can be thought of that might work, but I think that Cineworld have chosen the best option.

Leaflets promoting the “Unlimited” card were being handed out outside Cineworld (Empire) Leicester Square today; I asked the person handing them out what the uplift charge was for the IMAX, and they told me that it is £7. (Perhaps I should “get with it” and use “social media?!”)

LARGE_screen_format on June 30, 2018 at 4:09 am

Wonder what the thinking behind renumbering the screen numbers is?

CF100 on June 26, 2018 at 11:42 am

A building control application for the current phase of works, dated as received 25th June 2018, is now listed on Westminster’s site.

The description field contains: “Refurbishment of cinemas 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7 (small auditoria) of multiplex cinema. The refurbishment involves adjustment of stadia construction (1, 2, 5, 6 and 7), change of floor finishes, new illuminated nosing on the steps, adjustment of speakers, and installation of new seats.”

It will be interesting to see if the IMAX/Superscreen will be overhauled this year in a further phase of works or if, as a member of staff told me, Cineworld have no plans for this at the present time.

CF100 on June 25, 2018 at 4:47 pm

Zappomatic: Thanks for the updates!

Good to hear the “cine-flies” (“Flies More at Cineworld”?) are being kept at bay!

Shame there’s no photos of the access to Screen 3 before it was given a makeover.

By the sounds of it Screen 3 won’t be left with many seats after the impending overhaul!

Zappomatic on June 25, 2018 at 10:27 am

Screen 7 (formerly screen 9) reopens on Friday with 31 seats across three rows in a single block, down from 42 and has lost the two rather odd pairs of seats tucked away in alcoves on either side of the auditorium.

Screen 3 (formerly 6) has its final performance before closing for refurbishment on Thursday.

Zappomatic on June 21, 2018 at 10:53 am

I don’t think any of the projection or audio equipment has been upgraded in screen 1 but it was perfectly fine – picture was in focus with no distortion and acceptable (but not outstanding) brightness and contrast, and the sound pleasingly punchy.

I’ve not noticed any cine-flies of late! I hope when screen 5 is refurbished the projector is looked at or replaced as in the last few months it seemed to have some convergence issues.

In other news the staircase to screen 3 is in the process of being refurbished, with new signage and grey walls, and new carpet on the stairs (landings retain the existing red carpet for now). The existing lighting has been retained, and the yellow halo cast by the wall lights looks a bit strange against the grey. The delightful aroma of urine remains!

CF100 on June 20, 2018 at 7:22 pm

That was quick!

First performance is “Solo: A Star Wars Story” at 11:40am.

Maybe they’ve eliminated the back row as the licensing plans (for the original Empire fit-out) show 14 seats in the last row with no space to spare, whilst the new seating arrangement has 15 seats.

(The auditorium narrows to the back with an angled right sidewall, the space being used for access to Screen 5 (formerly 7.))

If that’s the case then were they to lose another couple of seats, this would enable the left sidewall to be altered, thereby creating a symmetrical auditorium. Alas, I doubt Cineworld are thinking in terms of symmetrical rear array speaker layouts in a small auditorium!

Look forward to updates on the “flies inside projector box” situation. ;–)

P.S. Forgot to ask — how was the picture and sound quality in the refurbished Screen 1?

Zappomatic on June 17, 2018 at 9:22 am

Screen 6 reopens on Thursday, with seating capacity reduced from 48 to 38, across three rows (previously four).