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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!
Planning permission has been granted on appeal.
Three auditoria are proposed for the first floor, 75 seats, 100 seats, and a small cinema for private use. Everyman is cited as the proposed operator.
Rebranding hitch: the Casino is called ‘The Casino at the Empire’…
Or perhaps AMC’s Chinese owners will have other ideas… :–(
At least the Empire/Cineworld Leicester Square should have more ‘pull’ to get bookings.
There’s certainly scope for improving the IMPACT screen.
My comment was as much about maintaining (and respecting the heritage of) the foyer areas, customer service, etc.
It doesn’t sound like you’ll be back unless Screen 1 is reinstated complete with plaster tiles and cold cathode lighting!
Good grief, I’m almost as shocked as when it was announced that Screen 1 was to close!
Let’s hope Cineworld maintain the Empire LS as a first rate venue.
Regarding Bromley, last time I checked there were plans for a multiscreen cinema as part of a ‘mixed-use’ (ugh) development to replace a multi-storey car park, and plans to build a small multiscreen ‘arthouse’ cinema as part of a development on the roof (currently parking) of the Intu Bromley (previously known as ‘The Glades’) shopping mall. Surprised that the former Odeon Bromley isn’t due to be knocked down and turned into another oversized block of flats.
According to http://www.constructionenquirer.com/2016/05/23/demolition-starts-for-400m-marble-arch-place/ demolition has started. However, the developer states that their replacement scheme will “include a relocated Odeon.”
A shame for what was once one of the very finest cinemas in the country.
I have to wonder why VUE no longer consider their West End location to be a ‘flagship’ venue.
It was certainly built as such, and (in the mid-90s) very well equipped with JBL speakers, 2 THX-certified screens (a rarity in the UK, perhaps for ‘political’ reasons), 70mm, early support for 35mm digital formats, etc. Max. auditorium size is only 400 seats (40ft. wide screen) but presentation was excellent.
A difficulty is that a conversion of the current building to modern so-called ‘large format’ (i.e. supersized) screens is, I suspect, all but impossible. The 1990s rebuild (facade only retained) is already tightly packed.
Still, I can’t imagine business is so bad that it can’t be maintained to a normal standard…?!
SethLewis, when I went to the Shepherd’s Bush VUE a couple of years ago, the auditorium I was in had sagging wall fabric and the seats too were in a terrible state!
FanaticalAboutOdeon: Of course any screen with gain is directional… despite the previously linked material, I have found the picture at the OLS in the front stalls to be excellent, and from that position, the 48ft. wide screen and excellent sound system make for a quality and “high impact” experience!
The large LED displays are particularly effective for premiere events where they can be used to show live video, and are a wonderful addition to the facade. (The planning permission only allows for static images outside of special events.)
Very frustrating indeed then that sorting out the auditorium lighting would be rather less costly!
Is it the case that people “don’t notice”…? (Albeit I’m always amazed by people’s lack of awareness of their surrounding environment.) With more obvious features perhaps they do notice when it’s there… but don’t notice that it’s absent?
Example: If my “usual” cinema were the local multiplex, and I turned up to the OLS with beautifully lit tabs, then surely I’d notice it as a special feature—but I’d not notice the absence of tabs—since I wasn’t expecting them anyway?
On the subject of the Royal Circle restepping/reseating, further details on this would be most appreciated… Were the new steps simply built “on top” of the old steps?
FanaticalAboutOdeon: The “new” Warner West End had a good standard of presentation, including as you say the “gold” tabs, and I had many enjoyable trips there. I’m not sure the others of that generation were of the same standard—the one at Lakeside Shopping Centre in Thurrock, for instance, was unimpressive. (Can’t remember if the tabs were in use?)
By the late 1990s, new (by then Warner Village) builds were of the “box” design with wall-to-wall screens and stadium seating (and, for some reason, inferior KCS speakers instead of JBL.) If I remember correctly, tabs had been dispensed with.
A real shame Odeon have stopped installing tabs—it hardly does Odeon’s proud design heritage justice! The streamline moderne Odeons are to my mind the canonical example of “what a cinema should look like.”
Ian: Interesting, I can’t say I remember it not filling almost the full width. Wonder if they’ve changed projectors? Perhaps the screen was intended for a future projection upgrade which has been shelved? (Ideal to upgrade to Dolby Vision with Christie 6P laser projection as it already is equipped for Atmos… but the politics around that must be delicate to say the least!)
Of course the problem is the screen “floats” off the wall… and you can clearly see that when entering from the sidedoor. (Visible in your photo “IMPACT SCREEN TO REAR.”)
FanaticalAboutOdeon—Picturehouse Central-and other venues—really show how there is very much a niche market for cinemas featuring “theatrical” trappings—but perhaps not for the “multiplex hoards”!
Would be nice if the Empire Leicester Square fitted tabs—and the Chinese reinstated them for their IMAX screen—but I doubt there is sufficient space. Vertically, from what I can tell, the screen is jammed right up against the rafters. Horizontally, the top of its sides are up against boxed out sections which I assume hide parts of the roof structure.
I do think the IMPACT screen could use losing a few rows, reducing the screen size, and having some sort of proscenium feature with tabs etc.
I recall the first time I visited a cinema lacking tabs—it was an AMC in the US—and I was absolutely shocked. The (American) individuals with whom I attended remarked “Umm, curtains in a movie theatre?! Aren’t curtains, like, old and stuff?!” Certainly they had no clue about “real” cinemas—and that multiplex had all the charm of visiting a branch of KFC. :–(