Comments from CF100

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CF100 commented about Odeon West End on Sep 20, 2018 at 12:35 pm

SethLewis: Yes, the entrance will be separate. Entry will be via a small lobby with escalators down to the main foyer.

Looking at the planning application and comparing to old licensing plans, the replacement Screen 1 will be about the same size as the old auditorium, were it straightened up and made rectangular in shape, i.e. sidewalls moved in and back wall moved up to the front of the booth.

As measured on the plans, replacement screen size is about ~50ft. vs. ~37ft. wide for the previous.

Screen 2 will have a smaller auditorium, but the screen at ~33ft. wide is slightly smaller than the previous. (~37ft.)

So, whilst not saying that this scheme somehow compensates for the loss of heritage, etc., entailed by demolishing the existing, from the POV of the average patron, if anything, it will be a superior offer.

Whether or not there will be sufficient demand to fill them is another matter!

Change of use of the cinema may require planning permission and I would imagine that Westminster Council would not be keen. It also looks very much like its own demise down in the basement and doesn’t integrate well with the rest of the hotel scheme.

Bedrooms could hardly be put in the basement; most obviously they could be used as conference rooms, but then the cinema can hire out the auditoria anyway, and I’d imagine Odeon has very favourable lease terms. I may have to eat my words, but my prediction is it will be a cinema 5 years after opening—if cinemas in general are still viable!

CF100 commented about Odeon West End on Sep 19, 2018 at 9:15 pm

Ian: This project has had more than one proposal and the current one has been revised, so it can get confusing!

I’ve checked Westminster Council’s planning applications search site, and the most recent application is dated March 2018.

Most of this application relates to minutae of limited relevance here; however, some of the plans are included and looking in particular at the document marked “PROPOSED ELEVATION NORTH” there have been no changes to the existing scheme in respect of the cinema layout and frontage, Odeon’s entrance being on the North East corner with a vertical Odeon sign; the detailing of this section clearly has taken cues from the hoarding that was in front of the original facade.

The two auditoria are at basement levels but—and not that this matters once you’re in the building!—they are on the Northern side of the building.

(No revised proposals have been included for the basement levels in the above-linked planning application.)

Odeon may at times be geographically challenged, but I trust that they will have no reason to call it the “Odeon Trafalgar!” ;–)

I’m thinking that the capacity of the two auditoria will be adjusted downwards if they are to be “Luxe” screens with recliner (?) seating.

CF100 commented about Odeon West End on Sep 19, 2018 at 8:55 am

[Evening Standard advertorial](

  • Hotel name announced: “The Londoner.” [Yawn…!]
  • 5 star hotel to open 2020.
  • The basement cinema will feature 2 Odeon Luxe screens.

Recent photo taken from LSQ uploaded.

CF100 commented about Cineworld Cinema - The O2 Greenwich on Sep 14, 2018 at 6:20 pm

wall coverings (including the bulges housing the surrounds) are all from the original fit-out for Vue.

Hmm, I assume, specifically regarding wall coverings and the surrounds, you mean in the non-ScreenX auditoria?

CF100 commented about Cineworld Cinema - The O2 Greenwich on Sep 14, 2018 at 4:28 pm

Zappomatic: Ah, that explains the handrails!

I suppose the seating would have to be removed to replace the vinyl floor covering.

CF100 commented about Odeon Leicester Square on Sep 14, 2018 at 4:22 pm

LARGE_screen_format: At a “constant” 50ft. high (about that of the LSQ IMAX), the screen width needed for 2:35 would be 120ft. And for a 1.4:1 IMAX like the BFI, it would be ~140ft.

Getting a bit impractical, isn’t it? ;–)

moviebuff82: These things are usually region or country-specific, regardless of parent company.

AMC Stubs T&C’s.

To quote:

“Membership is valid at participating AMC Theatres in U.S. locations.”

CF100 commented about Empire Cinemas - London Haymarket on Sep 13, 2018 at 1:37 pm

Kers: Thank you for the photos and the update.

A few weeks I spoke to a member of staff at the Cineworld (Empire) Leicester Square, not necessarily someone you’d expect to know about higher level decisions but who had been working there prior to the Cineworld acquisition, and they told me that they understood that Empire Cinemas were minded to refurbish Haymarket.

Wasn’t expecting further changes so soon!

Wonder if the screen upgrade will help draw in more trade to this now somewhat “secondary” location?

CF100 commented about Odeon Leicester Square on Sep 13, 2018 at 1:28 pm


“The final aspect in Dolby’s quest for the perfect projected image is the use of a constant height screen. That means the screen is the width of the auditorium and uses an aspect ratio of 2.35:1. […]

“There is nothing that says cinema better than watching side masking move out to reveal a full 2.35:1 widescreen image.”

I agree… however, this seems to be a convenient way of differentating Dolby Cinema from IMAX, whilst not requiring the vertical field of view that IMAX requires, and—not wishing to issue amateur legal advice here!—possibly infringing IMAX’s patent(s), e.g. Conversion of cinema theatre to a super cinema theatre.

Taller, wider… seems to me that using either between 1.78:1 (aka 16:9) or 1.9:1 would make the most sense!

Update: Having a quick look a couple of days ago, the outside of the Odeon Leicester Square is essentially the same as mentioned in previous posts, with the facade largely covered by fire retardant sheeting, hiding scaffolding behind.

A couple of extra photos, including a view behind the LSQ facade fire retardant sheeting taken from the left side, to follow.

CF100 commented about Cineworld Cinema - The O2 Greenwich on Sep 13, 2018 at 9:33 am

Addendum: The stretched lacquered black fabric mentioned in the above post was fitted to the foyer ceilings only.

CF100 commented about Cineworld Cinema - The O2 Greenwich on Sep 13, 2018 at 8:42 am

A couple of weeks ago, I went to the Cineworld O2 to attend a screening of “The Meg” in the ScreenX (Screen 9, IIRC.)

The least said about this “monster” (pun intended!) of a movie, the better.

Cineworld O2 Extension/“Project Loop” Update:

On the day I visited the O2, the external fabric of the building was partially complete.

(It will have to be kept in mind here that the O2, aka the “Dome,” is a large tent—thus it does afford a degree of protection against the elements, but does not provide the necessary insulation, nor, obviously, any insulation between the new building and the other parts of the Dome.)

In some parts of the facade, Rockwool mineral wool slabs and Tyvek breathable water resistant membrane visible in other areas, pending the installation of the cladding; in others that cladding had been attached.

Other parts remained “open,” allowing for a view into the building shell, where already installed services (e.g. HVAC ducts.)

Cineworld O2 ScreenX Auditorium:

Detailed notes were stored in my head and typed up as a late night “brain dump” on returning home.

As it has now been a couple of weeks since my visit, I will do my best to unravel them here.

On entering the ScreenX auditorium, it seemed quite comfortable—however, the seating, which had a slight “rocker” action, was narrow and uncomfortable. Legroom, however, was on the generous side for “standard” seating. The vinyl floor in front/under the seating also looks “cheap,” not matching the quality of other parts of the venue, and ditto the handrails on the sidewall(s.)

Presentation before/after the feature was poor—e.g. I had entered the auditorium not long after the doors had “opened” for the performance—all that could be heard was ventilation (perhaps on the slightly loud side?) Abruptly, non-sync music started, then the Cineworld slideshow. After the feature, the house lights came back up and, IIRC, the non-sync music started, and a sudden “thump” sound and it came to a halt again. Admittedly, I was the only one left in the auditorium by this time, as all other patrons left the auditorium as soon as the credits started!

There was also a clear stepping in the “ventilation” sound level after the feature ended which may have been the ScreenX projectors internal fans or extraction turning off or perhaps an “energy saving” mode being used whilst the auditorium was empty.

The sidewalls were a grey colour not too dissimilar to the post-1989 tile colour in the old Empire 1, and were reasonably effective in terms of not reflecting too much back from the main screen (just appears as a sort of “colour wash” towards the front) whilst the brightness level from the ScreenX projectors matched the main scope “stage” screen.

The image on the “stage” screen (floating, no moveable masking) seemed to me not to be as bright as it might have been; however, it did match the sidewall brightness levels.

Picture alignment on the “stage” screen was good, with little or no barrel distortion, and also appeared to have good colour calibration. However, there was some visible centre to edge (vignetting) brightness loss, and the black level could have been better, but I didn’t notice too much clipping of low level detail.

There were 4x ScreenX sidewall projectors, two on each sidewall. As Zappomatic noted, there is an overlap in the middle of each sidewall between the two ScreenX sidewall projectors; whilst this could be seen clearly when no sidewall content was played but the projectors remained on, it was primarily only visible in darker scenes as an increase in black level.

The ScreenX projectors did not quite fill entire height of sidewalls, with a gap top and bottom; the upper gap was where the sidewall projectors and the (small) rear array sidewall speakers were positioned vertically; there was also a slight shadow cast below each ScreenX projector.

With the ScreenX projectors being fed content to display, it seemed to me that a “cylindrical” type stretch was used towards the rear of the auditorium with the ScreenX projectors, presumably to accomodate for different auditorium depths, and/or it is intentional since the human visual system is used to this stretching at the extremes of the horizontal visual field. In any case it works perceptually.

As Zappomatic noted, there was a noticeable delay between the “stage” projection and the sidewall projectors. I can’t be sure, but it also seemed that the right sidewall projectors were further delayed slightly compared to the left sidewall projectors, sometimes it seemed like there was some “tearing” indicating a lack of “vertical synchronisation.”

Furthermore, the sound and front “stage” projection also seemed to be delayed with respect to the audio, with the dialogue preceeding the picture by a perhaps few tens of milliseconds.

However, I may have become oversensitive to this from having adjusted video/sound synchronisation myself, e.g. due to the large latency caused by the processing in modern TVs.

The scenes which used the “full width” afforded by ScreenX seemed to be somewhat random, and sudden jumps between the “stage” screen only and the “full width” being used was sometimes jarring.

The system was very effective in producing an “immersive” wrap-around display, an amazing sense of width and activation of the peripheral vision motion sensitivity.

The overall brightness level seemed sufficient with all projectors in use.

It did, however, seem to me that the “stage” screen was insufficient in size relative to today’s expectations, but, obviously, this is something of a trade-off with the ScreenX system, and I did sit quite far to the back in order to get the full width experience.

Furthermore, the colour rendering match between the “stage” and sidewall ScreenX projection was inconsistent; at times close, at other times, obviously out, being too green—but this depended on the colours being displayed.

The sound system was reasonably good, with sufficient brightness sounding, although not quite at the high end of refinement. Playback didn’t seem to be at reference level though, and may have been peak limited. LFE was OK, and the rear array may have been calibrated at too high a level.

Reverb time was outstanding, and this might be due to the performance of the Armstrong Tectum product noted in previous posts on this page as being used by ScreenX for the sidewall “screens.”

(Incidentally, the seams and lack of colour consistency between these were sometimes (or often?—can’t remember) visible.)

As Zappomatic has mentioned, the “honeycomb” lights work well and were not distracting during the main feature.

Cineworld O2 – Foyer/lobbies/toilets—some random observations:

I was not as impressed by the finishes and standard of work toilet fit-out as Zappomatic. A screw missing in one of the grilles above the urinals.

However, they were super clean and feature the excellent Mitsubishi Jet Towels—“Made in Japan” as the label on them boasts—which in my view are superior to the Dyson Airblades that I have encountered, which lack sufficient room to insert my hands without touching the sides.

The background music speakers in the foyer/lobby areas did not achieve a high quality of sound; some were wall mounted, with ceiling units in the toilets.

Some areas had what looked like black lacquer stretched fabric, as used in Cineworld (Empire) Leicester Square’s newly refurbished foyer. However, on section of these appeared not to be sufficiently tensioned, as it “flapped” about slightly, presumably being moved by the HVAC air flow.

ScreenX was being heavily promoted, with signage—and there was also ScreenX sign on the rear of the auditorium.

Numerous displays (LED module type and large, presumably LCD, display types) throughout the foyer/lobby areas.

The standard of finishes in the foyer/lobby areas remains inconsistent, with the lowest level foyer still having “bumpy” walls and ceilings. Perhaps a further makeover to this area will occur when this foyer is expanded into the cinema’s extended area.

Staff were all very good, and one stood outside the auditorium thanking me for visiting, even though this was some time after all other patrons had left the auditorium, and two members of staff were waiting in the vomitory to clean the auditorium.

Overall, I thought the ScreenX system was effective at what it did, and could be put to very good use; its niggles could be overlooked, but they ideally need ironing out.

With Cineworld committing to numerous installations, it will be interesting to see how much content is made available for the system. But it is getting ridiculous that key titles can now be seen in an IMAX, “PLF” with Dolby Atmos, 4DX, ScreenX, soon in the UK Dolby Cinema, and “regular” auditoria. And, given the choice, I can’t imagine why ScreenX would be chosen over a ~90ft. wide screen fitted with an IMAX with Laser projection system.

Photos of the Cineworld O2 Extension/“Project Loop” under construction and the foyer/lobby areas of the Cineworld O2 to follow.

CF100 commented about Odeon Leicester Square on Sep 5, 2018 at 3:52 pm

Update: Essentially no changes visible externally from Leicester Square, the facade is still largely hidden by fire retardant sheeting. Looking through a slight gap in the sheeting on the far right, it appears the facade works are a long way from complete.

Based on this alone, I think it is fair to guess that the OLS won’t be reopening by opening by the 10th October for the BFI London Film Festival 2018, and looking through the calendar for this, it is indeed not one of the festival’s venues.

CF100 commented about Empire Cinema Ipswich on Sep 3, 2018 at 9:32 pm

PhilipWW: You can have a look at some of the other screens in the virtual tour on Empire Cinemas' site.

Just had a look at the auditorium information page—I see that most of the auditoria are on the small size.

Empire Cinemas also seem to have made a slight error on that page:

“Screen 6: 70 Seats 105 Superior Standard Seats 5 Double Sofas 6 Leather Recliners Wheelchair Spaces x 2”

Spot their mistake! ;–)

CF100 commented about Empire Cinema Ipswich on Sep 3, 2018 at 4:15 am

MovieGeek2013: Thanks for posting your observations on the cinema.

Looking through the virtual tour on Empire Cinemas' site:

  • The speakers in the IMPACT auditoria are Christie’s Vive brand—LA series surrounds/overheads—line arrays with ribbon tweeters—and S series rear subwoofers.

  • The rear rows of seats in the IMPACT auditoria are very close to the false ceilings. Would have been better if Empire hadn’t jammed in the last couple of rows of seats?

  • Looking at the virtual tour of the IMPACT auditoria at Empire Sutton, these also appear to have the same issue? Seems to be a design decision rather than the Ipswich location being built within the shell of a former department store.

Might be worth a visit off-peak to avoid the projection obstruction issue?!

CF100 commented about Cineworld Cinema - Basildon on Aug 26, 2018 at 8:00 am


Incidentally, apparently D-BOX motion data has been included on some Blu-Rays, so you can setup a D-BOX seat as part of your home cinema (LOL) — see e.g.

I’m not sure Auditorium 2 as a “PLF” screen has been dropped, it’s just that “IMPACT” isn’t marked on the revised plans. The auditorium still looks like an “IMPACT” in terms of layout, the recliners are a bit more than one screen distance away from the screen the rest is (OK, the sofas row is 2% out according to my estimates!)

I suppose all depends on whether they’ll equip it with top-end projection and Atmos.

Regarding the auditorium sizes, the cinema just isn’t that big. Looking at the proposals, most obviously it would appear that Auditoria 3 / 4 could be combined but that wouldn’t yield the largest auditorium or screen either. Dreaming up more radical reconfigurations is easy, but the practicability of them is unknown given possible structural, access and fire escape constraints.

I guess nowadays having more auditoria and therefore a wider range of programming takes precedence over having fewer auditoria with larger screens and increased seating capacities?

As I understand it, seating fill (occupancy) rates actually go down as more screens are added. Hence, one strategy is to have medium to large (or premium format inc. 4DX/D-BOX) auditoria programmed with new releases, and then “move over” to smaller auditoria, rather than having lots of medium sized screens. (Small/medium/large is rather vague, I know, but I think you can figure out what I’m getting at!) Obviously, this is aided by digital which makes “move overs” trivial as well as allowing for “boothless” auditoria.

The development of a smaller multiplex in Poole would seem to make more sense rather than another megaplex?

CF100 commented about Cineworld Cinema - Basildon on Aug 26, 2018 at 5:35 am

Addendum: To clarify, the outcome of the Dolphin Centre, Poole cinema/restaurant development planning application has not yet been decided.

CF100 commented about Cineworld Cinema - Basildon on Aug 25, 2018 at 7:26 pm

LARGE_screen_format: Re: D-BOX – I haven’t been to one. I seem to recall that Zappomatic has?

According to the Wikipedia page for D-BOX (granted, not necessarily the most reliable source on the planet, but currently too tired for further research!)—the D-BOX seats tilt and shake—so 4DX (albeit 4DX has various options for an installation with fewer features available with the basic versions) with its “environmental effects” would seem to be a more fully featured system?

CF100 commented about Cineworld Cinema - Basildon on Aug 25, 2018 at 7:18 pm

Planning application for the Dolphin Centre, Poole cinema development.

Having a quick look through, the application was referred to the Secretary of State due to the development being in “identified future flood zones […] where the Environment Agency have not been prepared to withdraw their objection despite discussion between those parties and justification for the design by the applicants.” (See the “NATIONAL PLANNING CASEWORK UNIT” document.)

However, in correspondence dated 9th August 2018, Secretary of State states that the application will not be “called in.” (See the “SECRETARY OF STATE DECISION” document.)

Though the original planning application was received by the Borough of Poole in October 2017, “AMENDED PLANS” are available from July 2018.

These plans are marked as being sourced from T.P. Bennett, and the only comment for the revised plans is “Levels amended”—however, the auditoria plans definitely look like they are from UNICK Architects.

Whilst the originally submitted plans showed an Auditorium 2 (the largest) marked as “IMPACT,” with curved rows of seats, the revised one is no longer marked as an “IMPACT” screen, has straight rows of seats, and, based on my scaling from these drawings is slightly smaller.

Specifically, as scaled from the revised plans, Auditorium 2 is proposed to be built to the following dimensions:

  • Auditorium size – ~14.3x17.2m.

  • Screen width – ~13.9m. (~45.5ft.)

  • Distance from screen to last full row – ~14.6m.

  • Distance from screen to last row – 16.5m.

The middle section of the last row is occupied by the projector(s).

Similar to the Basildon proposals, the disabled bays are at the front of the auditorium (this time between row 1 and 2), the last row is all recliners, and the last full row is all sofas.

Seating count – 175 + 2 disabled, of which 144 standard, 13 recliner, 18 sofa.

Auditorium 7 is a D-BOX with 17 recliners.

Other seating counts:

Auditorium 1 – 94 + 2 disabled (72 standard, 10 recliner and 12 sofa.) Auditorium 3 – 51 + 2 disabled (37 standard, 6 recliner and 8 sofa.) Auditorium 4 – 36 + 2 disabled (22 standard, 6 recliner and 8 sofa.) Auditorium 5 – 104 + 2 disabled (87 standard, 8 recliner and 9 sofa.) Auditorium 6 – 31 + 2 disabled (31 standard.) Auditorium 8 – 55 + 2 disabled (40 standard, 7 recliner and 8 sofa.)

CF100 commented about Odeon Luxe Swiss Cottage & IMAX on Aug 25, 2018 at 6:15 pm


this was the first Imax I have experienced for years

Haven’t you attend any performances at the Leicester Square IMAX? I see there’s a good photo of it among the photos you’ve uploaded to Flickr.

CF100 commented about Odeon Luxe Swiss Cottage & IMAX on Aug 25, 2018 at 6:11 pm


Has that IMAX Theatre Design article not been updated since 1983? Things have moved on since then!

Things have moved on a lot since then—e.g. digital acquisition, editing, CGI, and distribution/projection. :–)

From US Patent 7,911,580 – “Conversion of a Cinema Theatre to a Super Cinema Theatre” (IMAX Corp., filed 2009.) — (i.e. A “retrofit” conversion of an existing auditorium to an IMAX.):

“The minimum horizontal field of view of the improved theatre is now about 55 degrees, while the minimum vertical field of view is about 30 degrees.”

c.f. the 1983 SMPTE paper, which specifies 60 degrees minimum horizontal field of view, and 40 degrees minimum for the vertical field of view.

The human visual system hasn’t changed since 1983, we still have the same eyes and brain decoding the information received from them. ;–)

It’s possible that post-1983 developments in the understanding of the human visual system could inform auditorium design in ways not anticipated in 1983, but I’m fairly stumped as to see how it could in terms of the design of auditoria with a slightly curved screen on one “wall,” where it is of “wall to wall, floor to ceiling” size, with tiered seating all of which faces towards that screen, in ways that would improve upon the specifications laid out in that SMPTE paper.

Note from the 1983 SMPTE paper: “The bottom edge of the screen is placed so that the audience can look down and up to the sides. This allows the horizon to be in a natural position for most viewers.”

It might be said that the purpose made IMAX content, e.g. the classic IMAX 70mm documentaries, would be framed with the auditorium design in mind, but even so, I can’t see that looking down at the screen would be an optimal position?

In a nutshell the classic IMAX “Grand Theatres,” the expensively purpose-built auditoria of which are mostly found in institutional venues, are the “gold standard” for IMAX auditorium geometry… the existence of which goes back more than a decade before the 1983 SMPTE paper. ;–)

CF100 commented about Cineworld Cinema - Basildon on Aug 25, 2018 at 8:13 am

Was just trying to find out how many IMPACT screens Empire sold to Cineworld and stumbled across this:

Bournemouth Echo – Article on new cinema and restaurants at the Dolphin Centre, Poole – September 2017.

It says that Empire have signed a 25 year lease, and the cinema is proposed to include an IMPACT screen, D-BOX, and (sigh) an open-air rooftop cinema.

Can’t find any articles from 2018, which seems odd, unless the scheme has been shelved?

Either way, another case of Empire Cinemas planning on opening a new cinema just up the road from one only just sold to Cineworld!

CF100 commented about Odeon Luxe Swiss Cottage & IMAX on Aug 25, 2018 at 6:52 am

Looking at Ian’s “IMAX Logo in Auditorium” photo, the vertical geometry of the auditorium appears to be compromised in terms of seating height in relation to the screen. In particular, according to the 1983 article published in the SMPTE Journal which details the geometric requirements for a “classic” IMAX, the last row should be in line with about the mid-point of the screen height.

Simply put, the screen is too low.

(Incidentally, the article states that at time the smallest IMAX screen was 21.3ft.x32.7ft. in an auditorium having 120 seats, and the largest was 70.5ft.x96ft. in an auditorium having 988 seats.)

CF100 commented about New Theatre on Aug 23, 2018 at 5:44 pm

Having a look at various photos on the web—this place certainly has a very impressive—if somewhat overbearing—proscenium!

I actually prefer the more muted colour scheme in Ian’s 1986 photo than the current look.

LARGE_screen_format: I’m assuming Dolby Stereo wasn’t installed for the “Star Wars” presentation?

The first film I saw in a cinema was “The Jungle Book” (1967) during its run as a re-release in the mid-80s. Alas, this was in the local Coronet, which although it was once a lovely “streamline moderne” 1930s Odeon, had seen better days and was badly subdivided.

But then a few years later I then “discovered” Empire 1 and found shangri-la. :–)

CF100 commented about Cineworld Cinema - Basildon on Aug 23, 2018 at 9:00 am

According to the Cineworld Group plc’s 2016 Annual Report, the acquisition of the 5 sites from Empire Cinemas in 2016 for £94.6m represented a “goodwill of £60.6m” over the “fair value of net assets acquired” of “£33.9m.” theatreofvarieties confirmed on Cinema Treasures that Empire sold those sites because Cineworld were offering “silly money.”

It seems that the idea of a new multiplex in Basildon’s town centre has been floating around for a while, and in 2016 no operator had been found for a different scheme.

This scheme (“East Square Regeneration”) seems to be local authority led—maybe it will be leased to Empire Cinemas on favourable terms? It would definitely seem to be a case of “overbuilding” though?!

CF100 commented about Cineworld Cinema - Basildon on Aug 23, 2018 at 7:46 am

Addendum: The proposed Auditorium 1 would also appear to be a probable IMPACT screen—similar layout with 242 seats (165 standard, 31 recliner and 46 sofa / + 3 disabled on row 2.) Proposed floor-to-ceiling height in “Section AA” of the “Proposed Sections” document is 9.43m (~30.9ft.)

Auditoria 1 and 10 are orientated at 90° to each other, and share a large projection room.

The proposed Auditorium 2 (120 seats) is a D-BOX screen.

CF100 commented about Cineworld Cinema - Basildon on Aug 23, 2018 at 7:29 am


It has a relatively low row count (9) for what used to be an IMPACT screen and was classed as Empire Cinemas second flagship cinema.

Thomas Anderson (“beneficial owner” of Empire Cinemas) holds (via “IMAGE LTD.”) a couple of patents on cinema auditorium geometry, of greatest relevance here:

A cinema structure and a method for constructing a cinema structure.

Where the full text and drawings are available for the US application.

I’ve covered this previously in other posts on CT, but this now seems to be a revised version and the patent has been granted by the UK Patent Office.

To quote — the abstract:

“A cinema structure comprises an auditorium defined between a floor, a ceiling, front and rear walls and side walls, which is of length similar to its width and of height, approximately half its width. A screen which is substantially the width and height of the auditorium is located adjacent the front wall.”

In other words, essentially all rows are within 1x screen width from the screen.

The geometry described in these patents is used for the IMPACT auditoria, for example:

Christie Digital – Press Release – “Christie adds Vive Audio Excellence to Luxury Empire Cinemas Screen” — to quote:

“The IMPACT screen uses Empire Cinema’s patented IMPACT design…”

(Thomas Anderson holds another patent for small auditoria, branded “STUDIO” by Empire Cinemas. Screen 5 (former Screen 7) at the Cineworld (Empire) LSQ is a good example of one, although it wasn’t actually branded as “STUDIO” screen.)

No idea what the screen size is/was for the former IMPACT auditorium; Basildon Council’s site does not have any publically available full database of licensing applications/grants.

I think it was a pilot site for the IMPACT concept and perhaps the low capacity and correspondingly not quite “super-size” screen means that Cineworld don’t consider it big enough to be a “Superscreen”? In any case, the IMPACT geometry detailed in the above-linked patent reveals why there aren’t that many rows, as the auditorium depth would need to be about the same as its width.

I did have a look through the planning applications to no avail; however, there is a scheme for a new 10 screen cinema as part of the “East Square Regeneration” scheme—planning application (Received 24th February 2018, approved 22nd August 2018.)

It turns out that the operator will be Empire Cinemas: Basildon Council Press Release -Cinema Provider Announced in New Town Centre Leisure Scheme.

(The above linked press release is dated 11th June 2018—you may need to rub your eyes; but, no, not 1st April!)

The largest auditorium shown in the plans is Auditorium 10, with the following seating configuration:

  • 457 seats – 354 standard, 43 Recliner, 60 Sofa / + 4 disabled.

  • 12 rows – of which the front 8 – standard (3 disabled in row 2), the next 2 – sofas, and the rear 2 – recliners (and 1 disabled on the last row.)

Now for the interesting part—looking at “Section BB” in the “Proposed Sections” document, Auditorium 10 has a proposed floor to ceiling height* of 13.29m (=43.6ft.) If a 1.9:1 ratio wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling screen is installed, then this means that the possibility exists of a screen size well over 21m/70ft. wide—maybe even close to 80ft. wide.

Either way, if this development proceeds with Empire Cinemas as the operator, looks like an IMPACT auditorium is making its way back to Basildon, this time presumably with top-end laser projection and an Atmos sound system…