Cineworld Cinema - Leicester Square

5 Leicester Square,
London, WC2H 7NA

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Zappomatic on February 10, 2018 at 6:06 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 on February 9, 2018 at 10:10 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 on February 9, 2018 at 4:16 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 on February 9, 2018 at 10:31 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 on February 9, 2018 at 9:47 am

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

Zappomatic on February 9, 2018 at 8:02 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 on February 6, 2018 at 5:20 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 on February 5, 2018 at 9:31 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 on February 5, 2018 at 3:58 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 on February 4, 2018 at 1:22 pm

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 on February 4, 2018 at 4:43 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?


CF100 on February 3, 2018 at 7:13 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 link as CT’s software seems to turn the full URL into a link to the Fox Theatre in Detroit!)

CF100 on January 31, 2018 at 9:44 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 on January 31, 2018 at 12:41 pm

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 on January 29, 2018 at 6:16 pm

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

CF100 on January 29, 2018 at 5:36 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 on January 29, 2018 at 4:40 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 on January 28, 2018 at 7:33 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 on January 28, 2018 at 6:20 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.

Zappomatic on January 11, 2018 at 6:10 pm

I saw a film in screen 4 on 30 December (side masking not used, grr!) and hadn’t been back until 7 January (The Greatest Showman, Superscreen), so some time between those dates.

CF100 on January 11, 2018 at 5:17 pm

D'oh! I’m running a tracker blocker plug-in, I guess that’s what’s blocked it as I see the banner in another browser.

How long have Screens 4/5 been blocked?

Yes, those “DFS”-grade sofas were always awful—good riddance!

Zappomatic on January 11, 2018 at 4:45 pm

On the Cineworld website I’m seeing a banner stating that the cinema is closed and to visit Picturehouse Central. It’s served as an ad so if you’ve got an ad blocker running you probably won’t see it.

They had Tensabarriers in front of the doors to screens 4 and 5 and had moved the saggy leather sofas from around the foyer to be in front of them just to drive the message home! (Made the mistake of sitting on one of those a few months ago, was very hard to get back up again)

CF100 on January 11, 2018 at 4:17 pm

Zappomatic: Blocked with sofas? Maybe they’ll be refurbishing Screen 4/5 concurrently?

Thanks for uploading the photos of the foyer’s last night of service—I haven’t been there in months now as no desire to keep saying “goodbye” again!

Oddly, Cineworld’s site makes no mention of the closure—just has no trailer nor screening times listed!

CF100 on January 11, 2018 at 3:33 pm

Bye-bye 1962/89 foyer. :–(

I’ve uploaded a photo (taken last night) of the blacked out front entrance doors, with the notice reading:


“Whilst we work on improving your cinema, you can visit Picturehouse Central to watch the latest movies.”

I walked around the entire block (i.e. Leicester Sq., Leicester Street, Lisle Street and Leicester Place)—no signs of the refurb (yet?) externally.

There is a hoarding on Leicester Street which has been there for quite some time, but I assume this is for the redevelopment of 1-4 Leicester Square (Ground floor to 9th floor) only. All the more puzzling since Screen 2 has been closed for months!

Zappomatic on January 7, 2018 at 12:32 pm

Noticed in the cinema state that it’ll be closed from tomorrow until 6 February. The doors to screens 4 and 5 have been blocked with sofas and the foyer generally feels tired and ready for the refurb.