Empire Cinema

5-6 Leicester Square,
London, WC2H 7NA

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CF100
CF100 on November 7, 2013 at 10:15 am

Empire Cinemas haven’t released any information on the ‘IMPACT’ screen, other than its seat count and confirming that Dolby Atmos will be installed. This is a pretty good indication of a high-end installation, as Dolby Atmos uptake has been very limited in the UK, with only a few screens equipped. Also, all of the other screens in the Empire have, IIRC, JBL screen speaker systems; however, without THX certification, the baffle wall will be no more.

As for masking, Empire 1 had a 60ft. screen and had the ‘IMPACT’ brand back existed at that time (2006 upgrade,) they may as well have branded Empire 1 an ‘IMPACT’ screen.

Considering that Empire 1 was host to many premieres, and the development of Leicester Square as an attractive location with the right infrastructure for them, presumably the IMAX auditorium now will be used to host most UK IMAX premieres.

The question is whether the ‘IMPACT’ screen will be used for non-IMAX or smaller premieres, or if these will go to the Odeon LS or (for the time being) the Odeon West End? In any case it seems set to be a venue for major events including the ‘FrightFest’ festival and therefore ought to be run as a premiere screen capable of handling all aspect ratios in the proper manor.

I’d hope that there’s more chance of full masking and tabs in the ‘IMPACT’ screen at the Empire LS than the average local cinema!

thebrat
thebrat on November 4, 2013 at 6:51 am

I’m starting to hate IMAX right now. I’ve always wanted to see a film in Empire 1 for its Dolby Atmos THX 56kw sound system, during a trip to the UK, and now I’ll never get the chance to do so. The IMPACT screen should resemble no more than an ETX or RPX screen here in the US, big screen without masking. :(

FanaticalAboutOdeon
FanaticalAboutOdeon on September 15, 2013 at 4:39 am

The 70mm. film presentations I have seen at both the Empire and Odeon cinemas in Leicester Square during the last half-century have always been superb. The finest 70mm. experience I have ever enjoyed was “Ryan’s Daughter” during its premiere run at the Empire in 1971. Of course, David Lean’s craft, cinematographer and top-notch crew were no less responsible than the Empire’s vast screen, great sound kit and gently reclining armchairs but the glittering sweep of those amazing seascapes, the stunning capture of some of Ireland’s best scenery and what must be the ultimate filming of a severe storm which threatened to become part of some cast and crew members' epitaphs, all created something in a cinema which I don’t expect to ever see bettered or even equalled. It was a technical combination which went beyond dimensions; we felt the ocean breeze on our faces and were we not splashed during the storm? “Virtual” just wouldn’t have done the sensations justice; it was literally stunning, so much was presented to eye and ear that one’s brain had little to do to complete the experience of being there and we were transported. If ever cinema was immersive, it was then!

The twinning of Empire One’s auditorium now renders the Odeon even more special although, as CF100 rightly says, technical upgrades in multiplex screens and distribution patterns/early transfer to DVD and Blu-ray have long-since put an end to exclusive West End runs that were also technically superior to most subsequent general release locations. The Odeon’s owners continue to invest in what they rightly call Europe’s Premiere Cinema and I hope the theatre’s own celebrity and popularity with studios and distributors will ensure this showcase, with its original, undivided stalls/circle layout, huge rectangular proscenium, stage house, dressing rooms, orchestra pit and Compton organ, will survive and prosper.

Does anyone else think it strange that the Royal Film Performance now takes place in a concert hall, the BAFTA awards in an opera house and, come to that, the Royal Variety Performance having forsaken the world’s most famous variety theatre for a concert hall? No doubt number of seats and potential revenue for the respective charities is behind what can only be bad news for the very venues which were designed to present these media at their best.

CF100
CF100 on September 14, 2013 at 4:58 pm

The ‘IMAX’ auditorium’s screen size appears to be roughly within the original IMAX guidelines for minimum/maximum screen width viewing angle for the rear/front rows.

Unfortunately, the large Leicester Square cinemas are now in competition with many ‘upsized’ multiplex screens, including so-called ‘Lie'MAX screens, and the BFI IMAX itself. I hope the Odeon Leicester Square will survive.

CF100
CF100 on September 14, 2013 at 4:09 pm

The interior fittings (acoustic wall coverings, seats, etc.) of the ‘IMAX’ auditorium shown in the computer rendered images look to me to be the same as those in the ‘IMPACT’ auditorium at Empire Cinemas Basildon. (Of course, the overall design follows that part of the former ‘Screen 1,’ particularly the walls/ceilings with concealed coloured lighting.)

Empire Cinemas Basildon ‘IMPACT’ Auditorium Photo

If this is correct then presumably the ‘IMPACT’ auditorium will also use the same fittings. If the ‘IMAX’ auditorium will be the flagship then perhaps the ‘IMPACT’ auditorium will have a more standard design and I can see the ceiling being lowered (it would be very high for a 400 seat auditorium?)

FanaticalAboutOdeon
FanaticalAboutOdeon on September 13, 2013 at 3:41 am

Hope the Impact auditorium, in the front section of Empire One’s stadium layout, will not feel too shallow for the large screen. Odeon Marble Arch may have retained its own giant screen but, with just the front section of the former stalls seating available, it doesn’t have its former “feel”. Putting the largest screen possible into any auditorium isn’t always the wisest course – screen, auditorium size and shape and characteristics should all inter-relate for the best experience. Haymarket’s Carlton, Shaftesbury Avenue’s Columbia and Marble Arch’s Odeon are certainly not the cinemas they were, sub-division has made them run-of-the-mill complexes with no longer anything to make them stand out. Tampering with well-designed cinemas seldom improves the audiences' experience despite appearing to make economic sense. The theory of a wider choice of films does not hold good in central London where there were sufficient cinemas of all sizes offering different films to begin with. Those that survive are mostly carved up and sharing the same selection of films – selected release and art house product excepted. My prediction is that the Empire will end up with one very good Imax auditorium and one that not everyone will take to. Tabs will probably be confined to history to squeeze in as big an image as possible and the Empire “experience” will be diluted. In terms of size, facilities, technology and atmosphere, this twinning will leave the Odeon Leicester Square as London’s only remaining super cinema – long may it thrive!

CF100
CF100 on September 6, 2013 at 7:06 pm

Looking at the renderings, I think the IMAX auditorium will occupy the current “circle” up to a few rows into the rear “stalls” (e.g. notice the existing two entrances from the foyer and the same row layout…)

Other known details:

  • The IMAX “laser” projector will be installed in 2014, whereupon the screen will be enlarged to 26mx15m. (The same width as the BFI London IMAX.)

  • Dolby Atmos will be installed in the IMPACT auditorium.

The loss of “Screen 1” is unfortunate but I think that all the signs are that the new auditoriums will be of a high standard. The IMAX auditorium renderings show the new walls/ceilings will be “staggered” with concealed lighting, and I hope they will be colour sequenced.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on September 6, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Paul, my impression from the renderings is the Imax to be in the front, and IMPACT to be current rear section.

Paul Stephenson
Paul Stephenson on September 6, 2013 at 12:23 pm

The Empire Cinema’s official press release is at
http://www.empirecinemas.co.uk/?page=aboutus&id=179
with a more informative description at bleedingcool.com

Basically, screen 1 will be carved up with a new 750 seat IMAX screen appearing to use the rear “stadium” seats of Screen 1 with a screen size of 24.5m by 13m, and a 400 seat “Impact” screen in the front section. They hope to open this by the end of 2013.

michaelbrent
michaelbrent on September 4, 2013 at 4:19 pm

Empire reveal’s its new IMAX screen http://www.screendaily.com/news/empire-leicester-square-to-get-imax/5059984.article

CF100
CF100 on August 29, 2013 at 4:20 am

Does that mean an 80ft.+ screen is coming with seating primarily in the “circle”? (Hmm… possible limitation may be the “kink” in the right wall where the narrower “extended” part of 1928 site begins from the original 1882 site… and access to any new screen(s) built in the “stalls”?)

d8rren
d8rren on August 28, 2013 at 6:11 pm

its gonna be a 800 seat imax apparently empire cinemas will release a press statement on Screen 1 sometime next week..

CF100
CF100 on August 27, 2013 at 6:46 pm

This is absolutely terrible news. As the laser show used to say… “The Most Spectacular Cinema in the World.” :–(

Fortunately managed to catch “Life of Pi” (stunning!) and “Star Trek into Darkness” (less so) in Dolby Atmos in Screen 1 this year… The days of continuous first run Universal/Paramount product are long gone though…

Is it just possible that there will be a sympathetic “drop wall” conversion and some of the Screen 1 interior will remain? “Rip out” makes it sound otherwise…

d8rren
d8rren on August 26, 2013 at 5:33 pm

Please fill free to leave a comment on Empire Leicester Square Facebook page the toads

times have changed the most I’ve seen Recently in there was 350 for a sherlock holmes on boxing day..as most films are second pick anyway most saturday nights would be about 150 to 200

if I’m going to see a film on at saturday night i would rather travel to LS for either Odeon main screens or the Empire because these would be Emptier than than local multiplexes the Vue always seems busy cos basically its a multiplex with small screens the Odeon will survive but on a bank holiday monday afternoon showing there was less than 30 people in the 1700 Screen 1 thats why these big auditoriums can’t survive.

Still think Empire Cinemas could of done a bit of PR work saying Screen 1 going this is whats happening & a final week with some blockbuster classics charity screening at reduced rate

So they can stick the Digital iMax screen which is not the real thing anyway..

Mike_Blakemore
Mike_Blakemore on August 26, 2013 at 3:32 am

With Getting rid of Spectacular Auditoriums.. There is little point in watching a Major Film in an “Airing Cupboard” Hmm I find watching Films at home on my 7" screen (LCD projection system)has as much impact.. To-days Cinema Owners have just lost the plot.. Alas gone of they days of “Showman Management” Now they are Sweetshops that just happen to show films out the back…. Progress ALL RUN BY LITTLE MEN… :O(

d8rren
d8rren on August 25, 2013 at 2:58 pm

someone asked on their facebook page about Dolby Atmos Showing and was told we won’t be booking any for a while.

All very underhand By Empire Cinemas not to Announce the Closure & Rip out of Screen 1,obviously it can’t be a improvement if your ashamed to Announce the plans…Empire Cinemas will never get another £ off me…..

Robert L. Bradley
Robert L. Bradley on August 25, 2013 at 11:00 am

I sure hope not. It is one of the few remaining beautiful cinema auditoriums in London.

d8rren
d8rren on August 25, 2013 at 9:15 am

Rumour is that screen 1 will be twined with work started on 27/08/13

sad times if true

Ian
Ian on August 2, 2013 at 2:45 am

Interior photos from July 2013 here:–

EMPIRE 1

EMPIRE 1

FOYER

EMPIRE 4

PROJECTION SUITE

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 16, 2013 at 9:17 pm

The 1962 remodeling of the Empire Theatre is the subject of an article starting on this page of the June, 1963, issue of International Projectionist. There are two photos of the auditorium. Enlarge the image by clicking on the + sign in the tool bar at lower right of the page. Scroll down for the second page of the article.

theatreofvarieties
theatreofvarieties on May 15, 2013 at 3:52 am

the seating that was installed in 1962 (and is still in use today albeit refurbished a few times) was made by The American Seating Company. They are still in business.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on January 13, 2013 at 9:50 am

As of this date, still 9.95 lbs all day everyday with website proclaiming that it is the Best Value in the West End.

zappomatic
zappomatic on February 9, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Is this cinema feeling the pinch? Now advertising all tickets for all screens at £9.95 all day, every day. Seems an odd tactic for what should be a premier venue and must make it the cheapest first-run cinema in the West End

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on January 18, 2011 at 4:52 am

A vintage photograph from April 1955, showing the Empire Theatre playing the film “So Deep in My Heart” starring Jose Ferrer, and the Monseigneur News Theatre (later Jacey Leicester Square Cinema):
http://www.flickr.com/photos/allhails/5154554082/