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Come to think of it, what’s needed is more steeply raked seating in the front stalls.
BTW, here is a very high-resolution scan of the old OLS “cut-away” diagram:
Great news, hopefully!
From the Variety article: ““It’s impossible to think anyone would object to what we have planned for Odeon Leicester Square,” Aron said, adding that the upgrades would improve the site while retaining its character.”
Hmm, “impossible to think anyone would object”—maybe I’m being paranoid, but that sounds slightly omninous!
The Empire conversion and VUE West End refurb came in at around the £5m mark, so £10-15m sounds very extensive.
The large IMAX screen was only possible in the Empire by a hair’s (or roof truss'!) breadth.
I imagine there is some scope for increasing the screen size within the existing proscenium provided the rear stalls are removed—possibly in part for the additional toilets mentioned in the Variety article?!
FantaticalAboutOdeon—Re. reclining seats at the Empire—the same type of seats are installed in the “IMPACT” screen and they do recline. I don’t think there’s enough space in the IMAX screen because it’s using the original 1928 circle steppings.
As for the “iSense” brand—the OLS already is “iSense”… if you sit towards the front!
“A £6.6 million investment will see Vue’s West End venue […] offer guests the choice of fully reclining leather seats […] all other seats will be ‘VIP’ and have been designed to be super spacious, with extra room to stretch out and relax. […] There will be a total of 1,385 VIP and luxurious reclining seats. […]
“*Dolby Atmos installed in two screens […] all screens will also benefit from […] Sony 4K digital projection.
“retail offer with two new hot food concessions – Square Pie and Pizzeria Maletti – as well as a complete redesign of the foyer and existing bar area. A 62.7m² digital screen will also be installed on the exterior of the building.”
Surely the “IMPACT” screen? The auditorium (from the plans) looks to be about 22mx18m or so, with a high ceiling, whilst Screen 2 is about 18mx13m?
The Licensing Application is up on Westminster Council’s website, no. 17/00626/LIPVM.
From it, here are the new seat counts:
Auditorium 1 68 standard / 22 VIP / 9 Luxury/ 99 Total / 1 AccessibleAuditorium 2 57 standard / 12 VIP / 10 Luxury / 79 Total / 1 AccessibleAuditorium 3 121 standard / 24 VIP / 10 Luxury / 155 Total / 2 AccessibleAuditorium 4 121 standard / 24 VIP / 10 Luxury / 155 Total / 2 AccessibleAuditorium 5 229 standard / 48 VIP / 20 Luxury / 297 Total / 4 AccessibleAuditorium 6 120 standard / 20 VIP / 10 Luxury / 150 Total / 2 AccessibleAuditorium 7 229 standard / 48 VIP / 20 Luxury / 297 Total / 4 AccessibleAuditorium 8 89 standard / 26 VIP / 8 Luxury / 123 Total / 2 AccessibleAuditorium 9 138 standard / 30 VIP / 9 Luxury / 177 Total / 2 Accessible
All auditoria 1172 standard / 254 VIP / 106 Luxury / 1532 Total / 20 Accessible
Works mentioned in the application include:
-Front box office removed.
-Ground floor concessions counter to be removed and replaced with two counters on the side walls.
-Changes to first floor lounge including new seating and refitted bar.
-Managers' office converted to a ‘Green Room.’
No significant internal changes are shown on the plans, so I would assume the ‘refurb’ of the auditoria will be ‘cosmetic,‘ with the same (or similar) sized screens etc.
Hello cinemasimon—I’m assuming you the person who posted an incredible number of pictures of the OWE ‘behind the scenes’ on Flickr?!
A ridiculously obsessive project—I love it. :–)
Albeit the fact that the original ceiling of the Leicester Square Theatre wasn’t removed and was crumbling away, down onto the top of the 1960s auditorium false ceiling, was rather worrying!
I’m confused—why would the council be responsible plans for the basement screens?
Thanks for your reply.
Water damage—I noticed stains on the ceiling?
Something like the patchy area in this photo:
Regarding Pepsi Max signage, has this been removed from the seats in the IMAX auditorium as well?
davepring: Excellent news!
Bet they ditch the tabs though. :–(
Peeling paint/paper on the foyer ceiling? Where is that?
I always thought the red covering on the foyer ceiling was felt.
I also noticed the broken fibre optic lighting. It’s nearly 30 years old now, maybe repair is out of the question?
It’s sounding all too much like Cineworld are treating it as ‘just another venue’ rather than a flagship…
If soundproofing is installed, even if the cost is not bourne by the developer, they may require access to the residential units on the first floor. Whilst they could avoid installing soundproofing by pressuring Curzon into surrendering their lease (i.e. Curzon may just decide they don’t want to face the mounting costs of potential litigation), the risk is that they would end up with very high costs themselves. Which doesn’t sound like a cunning scheme dreamt up by a greedy developer—but, hey, what do I know?
I’m afraid “the law is an ass”…
I have now found the planning application, Westminster Council reference 13/03290/LBC.
It turns out that the upper floors are already residential use, with the conversion of the remaining office space on levels 2 and 3 the subject of the above referenced application.
The planning documents do include an environmental noise survey, but this is in relation to external plant-generated noise.
Westminster Council’s Decision Notice document granting planning approval makes no reference to sound control.
I would hazard a very uneducated guess that specialist acoustic consultants were not involved in this project and the result is now a complex dispute.
Any changes Sadiq Khan makes would not apply retrospectively; however, as the article notes, the installation of soundproofing was included as a condition of granting planning approval of the 2013 application for this development. (I cannot find the planning application on Westminster Council’s website.)
In the previously linked article (http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/thousands-back-campaign-to-save-mayfair-curzon-from-closure-a3348601.html) Westminster Council says “we imposed a condition that protects the future use of the cinema from complaints by residents by making the developer responsible for installing adequate soundproofing. We are now investigating whether this soundproofing has been properly implemented.”
In the http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/sadiq-khan-plans-tough-new-rules-for-developers-as-he-wades-into-curzon-cinema-row-a3352481.html article, the developer says “There are a number of outstanding complaints from a number of leaseholders, including existing residents on the third floor, and health and safety issues, and a remedy for volume and vibrations needs to be found.
“Up until now Curzon have simply refused to address the problems which are their responsibility. No changes to the fabric of the cinema have been suggested and no investment has been demanded. Indeed, we have no idea where the earlier reported figure of £500,000 has come from.”
So, from the above, it’s not clear whether the complaints are from leaseholders occupying units pertaining to the 2013 application, and/or otherwise, what type of soundproofing, if any, was installed; and the reference to vibrations suggests that extensive work may be needed; the mere installation of a bit of mineral wool won’t be adequate!
All new dwellings must conform to “Part E” of the Building Regulations (“Resistance to the Passage of Sound”) but AFAIK these would never require sufficient attenuation for movie playback at reference volume levels.
That said, can Curzon not simply apply limiting to all sound channels and possibly turn off the LFE channel, which would not affect dialogue intelligibility?
Presumably a forced attempt at rendering the cinema unviable so as to use the space for more lucrative options. After all £500K, the cited cost of soundproofing, is chump change in terms of “luxury flat” prices in such a location.
The planning application is 16/06275/FULL.
Unfortunately, it appears that the only proposed neon lights are a refurbishment of the existing strips at the top of the facade.
The front canopy will be reduced in size, lighting to “enhance the external appearance of the building,” and the “design of the external doors [is] inspired by the art deco design of the building.”
There will be one main vertical VUE sign, on existing black covered vertical board (formerly the “Warner”/“Village” sign), angled on both sides to be visible from either approach.
Also amongst the application documents are a couple of photos from the “Warner Village” period.
Can’t say I like the “copper” colour scheme shown in the renderings but they are hardly “photorealistic” and it can hardly be worse than what’s already there.
Looks like the casino is now called the “Empire Casino.”
Film will degrade during a run even with proper handling and equipment maintenance.
xbs2034, what issues were there with the ‘Hateful Eight’ and other film screenings you attended?
Remote monitoring and auto-calibration is standard in an IMAX Digital installation, laser or not. The audio system calibration (IMAX nXos which uses Audyssey EQ technology) was first installed in 2010, so depending on when IMAX Digital projection was installed at Lincoln Square, might be an addition.
Also, aside from the addition of the side/overhead speakers for IMAX’s 12 channel sound system, the screen speakers and rear speakers could be upgraded to IMAX’s “Kanga” speakers if they have previous generation speakers. The screen will also need to be replaced for laser projection.
I’ve seen dual projector 3D setups misaligned, most noticeable as double images on the end credits and other titles. IMAX’s dual projection system requires alignment to subpixel accuracy.
Daily auto re-calibration of image and sound to restore to the original calibration is a good thing.
All screens are monitored by IMAX’s Network Operations Center in Mississauga.
In the days of 35mm, IME (outside of premier venues which retained ‘showman’ projectionists) it wasn’t uncommon for multiplexes to have substandard projection with poor film-handling, out of focus picture, and even failure to switch to the anamorphic lens for the main feature, etc.!
It would be interesting to consider comparative ‘uptime’ figures for digital vs. film projection. But whereas digital tends to be ‘all or nothing,’ film will degrade with every screening.
Hence the state of suspended animation! It may turn out to be a formality…
An article on the Basildon cinema in a local newspaper published on the 10th August 2016 says that the sale was “voluntarily referred… to the Competition and Markets Authority.”
Indeed, a disasterous subdivision!
The planning documents show a cinema consigned to the basement—alongside plant rooms, services, etc. Alas, the auditoria are small, seating 8 abreast, and between 4-6 rows. I assume these are “premier” large seats.
“Empire” and “Empire Leicester Square” are registered trademarks of Empire Cinemas Group (UK) Limited for “Cinematographic entertainment services.”
The September 2016 issue Cinema Technology Magazine has an article on the Odeon Orpington on p72.
The article says that the iSENSE screen is masked, and has a “56 channel” Dolby Atoms installation, with 18 ceiling speakers. Screens are Harkness Clarus 170 with RealD used for 3D. LuiS WaSSman amplifiers/speakers are used throughout, with Dolby CP750/850 processors.
All seating is “premier.”
This is currently the only purpose-built multiplex in all of the London Borough of Bromley (pop. ~300,000); a long time coming with various proposed schemes, notably the Crystal Palace megaplex which never came to fruition! An oddity in area with many leafy well-heeled districts.
With a new 9-screen cinema (Westmoreland Road redevelopment) in Bromley town centre under construction, this situation has rapidly changed.
Little visible progress on the replacement building, but the newsletter posted on the perimeter hoarding states that the piling is due to be finished on the 8th July.
Quick look from outside today. No changes to the marquee, save for the Cineworld logo as one of the images on the left-facing LED display. Box office is by the entrance doors, with film times shown on several flat panel displays; staff are wearing Cineworld uniforms (ugh.)
A printed board outside says that the cinema is now operated by Cineworld, and one near bottom of stairs says “Please bear with us whilst we transform you cinema into a better place to watch a movie”—alas, I suspect they do not mean that Empire 1 will be reinstated!
No idea whether they are selling Coke or Pepsi, but the Pepsi Max logo on the marquee remains.
The old Empire logos on the entrance doors were, I think, covered over with advertising for Finding Dory. Fortunately, the marble cladding on the right wall of the vestibule was not covered over.
It seemed to be reasonably busy in early evening.
There is an application to Westminster Council for license transfer dated 12th August 2016, but no record of any new planning application in relation to signage.
The Casino owner holds the leasehold of the property, with the cinema operator as a sub-tenant.
Expect the IMPACT screen to be rebranded “Superscreen”.
Blurb on Cineworld’s corporate site
This says: “No further material capex is required due to the investment in the portfolio in recent years, and all the multiplexes are modern with state of the art equipment.”
Cineworld FAQ on the acquired cinemas
Facebook page is up
The Facebook About page says “Welcome to the official Facebook page for Cineworld Cinemas Leicester Square at the Empire Theatre in London.”
Ambak, AFAIK the freehold of the building is owned by London and Regional Property, who acquired it from First Leisure (operators of the “Equinox” nightclub formerly below the cinema.) IIRC it was sold to Mecca by MGM before the 1962 reconstruction. (Incidentally, my previous research reveals that Mecca’s original plans may have been to completely replace the existing building.)
They will presumably remove “EMPIRE” sign on the marquee as that’s Empire Cinemas' logo but not cover over the “EMPIRE THEATRE” letting at the top of the facade.
HowardBHaas, absolutely, it is THE Empire!