Cineworld Cinema - Leicester Square

5 Leicester Square,
London, WC2H 7NA

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Zappomatic on June 5, 2018 at 8:14 am

I did clock that socket but fortunately my phone had enough juice!

The seats in the back row closest to the projector have their own special amenity in that the rails next to them make a great place to hang coats and the floor space behind them is perfect for storing shopping bags. :)

CF100 on June 5, 2018 at 5:59 am

Zappomatic: The side surrounds are visible in your photos, easier to see with some basic adjustments, e.g. increasing the brightness or gamma curve.

A double mains socket can also be seen on the right sidewall, perfect for charging your phone during the feature! (Just kidding.)

Zappomatic on June 5, 2018 at 4:24 am

Correction: side surrounds are not embedded in the walls but it does highlight that lighting levels during trailers are low enough that they can’t be seen.

Oddly there are no letters to indicate the rows.

Zappomatic on June 5, 2018 at 4:06 am

Screen 1 is now looking very smart and the new layout works well. Black carpet as seen elsewhere in this cinema and brass handrails but the rest of it follows Cineworld’s current fit-out with Black wall coverings and a red strip of LEDs around the wall above handrail height, and red Lino Sonego seating. The auditorium has been re-stepped more steeply so that heads don’t get in the way however this does mean that the two middle seats in the back row are missing because of the projector overhead. Seats don’t recline but are very comfortable and the legroom is vastly improved. Rows have a hard floor rather than carpet which will be easier to clean.

Screen does not appear to have adjustable masking and no longer has the red LED surround. Surround speakers are hidden in the walls.

Lighting levels in the screen are suitable low, with the honeycomb filters as seen in the upper screens at the O2. Photos to be uploaded shortly!

CF100 on June 4, 2018 at 2:35 pm

Zappomatic: Extreme minutiae is exactly what I like. ;–)

Thanks for the update on the ongoing refurb.

Zappomatic on June 4, 2018 at 2:04 pm

Screen 1 and 2 now bookable.

Screen 1 (formerly 5) has 44 seats across 4 rows Screen 2 has (formerly 4) has 78 seats across 5 rows

Going by the numbers on Empire Cinemas' orphaned webpages this is a reduction of 4 and 16 seats respectively. It looks as though screen 1’s layout has changed. Previously it had a single centre aisle but now has aisles on either end of the rows. Strangely the middle two seats of the back row are missing – shame to lose these as they had limitless legroom, but a smart move I think as viewing from the ends of the rows (particularly house right due to the screen not being centred) wasn’t great.

Nothing programmed for screens 5-7 tomorrow onwards.

Zappomatic on June 4, 2018 at 1:17 pm

I realise this is in the realms of extreme minutiae, but given all internal signage installed by Empire Cinemas has been replaced (even in non-refurbished areas such as access to screens 6-9) regardless of whether it was branded, I was rather surprised to notice that the sign to the toilets as you exit the Superscreen appears to have been missed!

CF100 on June 4, 2018 at 11:14 am

LARGE_screen_format: The cinema was closed in January of this year to strip out the foyer and to get it to a state which allowed for ongoing building works whilst keeping the cinema open to the public.

The former Screen 2 had been stripped by the end of August 2017 according to the member of staff I spoke to at that time.

With the public areas of the main foyer and vestibule from Leicester Square and the 4DX complete Cineworld publicised the changes they’d made in April 2018—e.g.YouTube Video of Gala Opening.

AFAIK the former Screens 4/5 (now 1 and 2) are still closed at the moment, see Zappomatic’s photo into the former Screen 4 in a stripped state.

No idea what further phases Cineworld have planned but the information I had last month from talking to a member of staff was that Cineworld weren’t planning on doing anything to the IMAX and Superscreen at the moment as the conversion of the old Screen 1 was completed at a time that is still fairly recent.

CF100 on June 4, 2018 at 10:43 am

joeswin: The signage illumination and the LED colour dot matrix display certainly need attention as they’re not working properly anymore!

(Albeit IMO the current canopy always looked dreadful…!)

No planning application for a replacement (or alterations to the existing) are listed at the moment.

The 2006 planning application for the existing canopy and signage.

As can be seen from this application, it was made on behalf of London Clubs Management. The cinema is sublet from the Casino who hold the head lease (building owned by London and Regional Properties)—no idea what the arrangements are but it might reasonably be surmised that Cineworld can’t redo the canopy/signage unilaterally.

There is a building control application dated March 2017 for a full refubishment of the Casino. That scheme doesn’t seem to have been taken forward but it might be the case that an overhaul is in the pipeline.

From my previous post linking to a conceptual proposal for complete redevelopment of the Empire site by London and Regional Properties, the casino is branded as “Caesars Palace” in the drawings of the facade and as Caesars Entertainment now operate the casino it might be the case that any replacement would take that name along with Cineworld branding.

IOW, I’d guess a refresh is due but not just yet…

joeswin on June 4, 2018 at 6:31 am

Do you think they plan on renewing the canopy and signage outside the cinema, its starting to look quite shabby especially as Vue and Odeon have, or are currently updating theirs?

LARGE_screen_format on June 3, 2018 at 11:02 am

So part of the reason that Cineworld Empire, Leicester Square was closed briefly at the start of 2018 was to convert one of the auditoriums to 4DX and make changes to the main foyer area? Any other changes?

Have watched a number of movies at this flagship cinema over the past three decades and there have certainly been a number of changes made internally over that period.

Looking forward to the next visit…

CF100 on May 27, 2018 at 4:10 am

The Wurlitzer Organ of the Empire Leicester Square Installed at the Home of Mr. Len Rawle.

A few facts according to this document:

  • Shipped from the factory on the 11th August 1928.
  • Weight: 20 tons.
  • Largest 4 manual organ in Europe at the time.
CF100 on May 24, 2018 at 2:16 pm

Zappomatic: Hmm, I’d assumed they do sequential numbering of Screens 1-3 from the front-to-back (or left-to-right) of the foyer…

The former Screen 4 (96 seats) is the one that uses the space that was previously toilets; you took a photo of it from the foyer in a stripped out state a couple of months ago.

I, too, found that performances were scheduled for Screen 2 a couple of days ago. I can’t remember what seating layout was shown, though. (i.e. Whether it was the former Screen 4 or 5!)

Incidentally, there is an article on these screens in the September 2008 issue of Cinema Technology Magazine—complete with a picture taken from the roof above the former Screen 5 showing Swiss Centre in a mostly demolished state!

Zappomatic on May 24, 2018 at 12:52 pm

I may be mixing up my screen numbers. However it seems that a few days after my post all performances in screen 2 were cancelled so either someone programmed that screen by mistake (meaning we could still see a revised seating plan) or things are taking longer than planned.

CF100 on May 23, 2018 at 2:43 pm

Now I’m getting confused. Isn’t Screen 2 the former Screen 4? Also had a good look through listings on the Cineworld site for Friday this week, couldn’t find any performances in Screens 1 or 2…

Addendum to previous post: This scheme seems to be somewhat “pie in the sky” in terms of its feasibility given the potential constraints on adding significant basement depth with numerous adjacent properties and obscuring windows of the Premier Inn and the new hotel (Hotel Indigo) in 1-4 Leicester Sq. (The cross-sectional view doesn’t make sense at all in terms of cinema auditoria size and positioning, but of course that could soon be changed were this project taken forward.)

Zappomatic on May 16, 2018 at 9:39 am

Screen 2 (formerly screen 5) is now bookable for performances from next Thursday. Layout and seat count is unchanged.

CF100 on May 15, 2018 at 3:57 pm

I hope theatreofvarieties' suggestion that London & Regional Properties (who own 5-6 Leicester Square) weren’t planning on demolishing the building any time soon was correct (also, decades left on the cinema lease…)

But here’s a nightmare conceptual proposal commissioned by L&R to create an utter carbuncle with below ground cinemas:

The Empire Leicester Square Redevelopment Project.

CF100 on May 15, 2018 at 10:49 am

Cineworld will be doing a large scale rollout of laser projection:

Cineworld Group Signs Deal for 600 Movie Screens Worldwide with Barco Laser Projectors.

IMAX and Cineworld Group Sign Agreement to Install New IMAX with Laser Experience in 55 Cineworld and Regal IMAX Locations.

Hopefully, this means that the LSQ Superscreen will benefit from new Barco laser projectors.

CF100 on May 10, 2018 at 4:23 pm

Chapman Taylor – Cineworld Leicester Square – Refurbishment of a World-Famous Movie Premiere Location.

Architectual practice Chapman Taylor now have a project page for the refurbishment, which includes a number of photos.

According to the page, the lobby areas are 660 sq. metres (=7100 sq. ft.) in area.

CF100 on May 8, 2018 at 3:10 pm

I (finally!) managed to have a “proper” visit to the Cineworld (Empire) LSQ today; alas, I should have heeded my earlier apprehension over seeing “Avengers: Infinity War”—I did see it in the 4DX auditorium, and I will post comments on that part of the cinema on the Cineworld Cinema – Leicester Square 4DX page, and this comment will cover aspects applicable to the venue as a whole.

Having had a chance to have a thorough look at the main foyer section area under the IMAX stadia, it did feel more spacious and comfortable than the “old” foyer, and certainly one can sit and relax in the sofas, which, whilst not the omega of luxury, are a definite improvement over what was there before, and they certainly look very attractive.

My previous observations about the very high fit-out standard continue to apply, except that, from what I could tell, the cove LED lighting is simply LED tape that’s been—perhaps slightly hastily—adhered to the surface. My previous concern that the foyer would be too dark wasn’t the case—it was certainly the LED display modules that made it look that way by comparison—but I’d put a question mark over the long term performance of the installation.

The reflectively lacquered stretched fabric ceiling also gives a sense of height in a space lacking it; I had to remind myself that I was looking at a reflection, and not a magically raised ceiling!

On this occasion, a forgettable selection of background music was playing throughout the main foyer area and upper vestibule, to a medicore standard of sound quality. I’m sure what was playing during my last visit was considerably louder, and seemed to have a fair bit of low frequency energy, and watching Zappomatic’s video again— in which the music seems to be played over speakers in the upper vestibule only—it seems that I’m not misremembering.

However, it must be said that the arrangement of LED display modules on the stair risers and on the curved wall section rather break the rules of showmanship, with the “finale” coming first, and, at least in the case of the 4DX, a progressive dive towards a largely featureless black box. Also, the black wall above the entrance section, with its lower ceiling, I found jarring on exiting the venue; the marble cladding served to “ease” one back into the brighter outside world. Whether that was ever an intended aspect of the 1962 design, it’s these subtle features and thought that make places special.

The foyer air conditioning was excellent, and exactly what was called for to cool off on a hot day. (Which was not the case in the 4DX!)

I had a brief conversation with a member of staff, who worked there prior to the Cineworld acquisition; they were positive about how things were going under Cineworld, and said that it (foyer refurbishment/4DX) had been a “long build,” but that it had been “worth it.”

Asked if Cineworld intended to refurbish the IMAX and Superscreen, they said that they did not that think they were at the present time, as they were only completed a few years ago.

They seemed to have their antennas up and picked up that I might be concerned about “corporatisation” of the cinema, and on telling them that I thought that the new foyer looked fantastic, they said “but it did mean the loss of the classic look that it had,” but that they supposed that it was a move “onto better and brighter things.”

Finally, the staff are to be commended for first rate and very willing customer service throughout my visit—not just as I experienced it, but from what I observed of their interactions with others. Whether or not Cineworld truly understand the special nature of what they are stewarding, and it seems that they do but perhaps not deeply enough, it’s most certainly still being run as a flagship West End venue.

CF100 on April 27, 2018 at 9:18 am

Zappomatic: Hmm, guess that means seating replacements for the IMAX and Superscreen (and any decorative changes they might care to make) aren’t scheduled any time soon then. Not that they are in need of an overhaul!

Zappomatic on April 27, 2018 at 8:33 am

At long last the Empire Cinemas logo has been removed from the seats in the Superscreen. Still no sign of when screens 1 and 2 (formerly 4 and 5) will reopen but I look forward to seeing what they’ve done with them.

CF100 on April 27, 2018 at 1:38 am

Chapman Taylor have posted a news item on the project:

Cineworld Leicester Square Opens.

It says that the foyer areas were designed by Innebo Architects of Warsaw, whilst the 4DX is attributed to Chapman Taylor’s leisure team.


“Cineworld Leicester Square, formerly Empire, is a world-famous cinema in the heart of London’s leading entertainment district. […]

“The refurbishment of the […] cinema’s lobbies [has been to the] highest standards of finishing […]

“This refurbishment helps put this renowned film venue at the industry’s cutting-edge. We wish Cineworld all the very best success with this landmark development.”

Renderings on Innebo Architects' site.

It can be seen that the foyer design has evolved a bit since those images were created, with changes to the ceiling adjacent to the entrance doors, auditorium entrances, concealed lighting, and large wall signs.

Innebo Architects' “portfolio” pages show that they have been involved in several projects for Cineworld Group on an international basis, with the current house imaging style, whoever conceived it, shared across Cineworld and Cinema City sites.

CF100 on April 26, 2018 at 3:09 pm

That being said, I did manage today to have a quick look at the new foyer from the lower vestibule, and I’ve uploaded a few photos.

From what I could see there, the fit-out has been completed to a very high standard indeed. I’m not sure if the dark grey wall finishes are paint, but they are extremely smooth and flat—and no roller or paintbrush marks or wonky plasterwork in sight.

The glossy lacquered stretched fabric ceiling is stunning, and the concealed lighting actually provides quite even illumination when seen in person.

There was music playing at the top of the vestibule/stairs, as could be heard in Zappomatic’s YouTube video; however, I was slightly surprised that it wasn’t audible externally. (I assume they don’t have licencing for this?)

The LED display modules fronting the step risers and the curved wall are very bright compared to the surrounding environment; and perhaps the new foyer is actually too dark, or perceptually they result in the impression of relative darkness, but it felt like stepping into a cinematic environment rather than a “graduated” progression into one.

The “gold” squares in the ceiling appear to simply be acrylic/perspex with a dotted pattern somehow applied. Disappointing, but they still look attractive.

The black marble to the left of the vestibule/adjacent to the 4DX entrance has been retained.

Overall absolutely fantastic, and it feels like you’ve entered the “Rolls Royce” of cinemas, with a definite sense of occasion and anticipation. The only question is whether wear and tear will take its toll—there are already a couple of scuffs on the corner of one of the new dark grey walls.

Bravo Cineworld!

CF100 on April 26, 2018 at 3:26 am

Perhaps against my better judgement, I was going to check out the 4DX today to see “Avengers: Infinity War.” Unbelievably, the IMAX, Superscreen and 4DX are all heavily booked, even for the earliest screenings!

For the 19:15 performance in the Superscreen, there are just over 20 non-balcony seats remaining at this time, side seats in row “B” and one far left seat in row “C.”