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The Empire-style menu boards at the concessions counter have been replaced with Cineworld ones, and with that comes some price changes: combo deals have gone up to £7 from £6.50, but there are some decent offers on alcohol such as two glasses of Prosecco for £7.50 and double up on spirits for £1. It does make you realise how pared-back Cineworld’s offering is.
Otherwise still selling Ben & Jerry’s, advertising is still Pearl & Dean, still using old unreliable ATMs inherited from Empire and no change to any signage.
The CMA has approved Cineworld’s acquisition so it will be interesting to see how they set about the rebranding. I’m hoping they’ll sort out some of the broken fibre optic lighting and peeling paint/paper on the foyer ceiling but given Empire left that broken for years and the state of Cineworld Haymarket I’m not getting my hopes up!
Visited today and the refurbished screens have new carpet and new seats (identical to the ones trialled as “Star Seating” at some other locations including nearby West India Quay) – seems odd to replace very comfortable seats that were only nine years old and in good condition. Seems to have reduced the legroom slightly.
New red LED strips on the edges of steps, and bright row indicators (replacing old blue LEDs that were starting to fail). This also includes very bright white strips along both sides of the ramp up into the screen, which unfortunately manage to shine on the screen on that side and wash out the picture in darker scenes.
Ceiling and wall lighting remains the same, which means the house lights are dim, cold LED bulbs from 2007 – as you might imagine most of these are starting to fail too.
Bizarrely the bar is covered in some fake wood panelling and red bulbs in many of the lights. Presumably this is something to do with the Empire Live event as it looks temporary and pretty awful!
I’m just finding this all a bit odd as they have other sites in London greater need of upgrading, for example other than the Star Seating trial and some new carpet the screens are unchanged from their 2000 state meaning a metal bar can be felt in the backrest of many of the seats.
Planning permission applied for to add eight screens, some of which will be VIP screens as installed at Milton Keynes, 4DX and possibly a Superscreen.
Also twitter reports seem to suggest that existing screens are being given new carpets and new or reupholstered seats, which is interesting as there are definitely ofher Cineworlds that could use new seats first such as West India Quay.
Vue have applied for planning permission to replace the front canopy and entrance doors, with new neon strips and uplighters. Looks like they’re ditching the now mostly unused box office windows, and installing one massive digital display (will upload photo shortly). The rendering looks much less cluttered than its current incarnation.
Now operated by Cineworld.
Now operated by Cineworld
May be rocky times ahead and may explain the apparent delay in rebranding and why Haymarket is still Cineworld: https://www.gov.uk/cma-cases/cineworld-group-empire-cinemas-merger-inquiry
Still no sign of when this is going over to Empire. Listings have appeared for next week and bizarrely two of the films are also showing at the former Empire Leicester Square, often at similar start times. Surely better to offer more choice?
Slightly odd experience during the brand changeover! A few Cineworld banners but everything else still says Empire. Kiosk still selling the old Empire menu and brands eg. Pepsi instead of Coke. Staff still getting to grips with systems. Ads from Pearl & Dean instead of DCM and no Cineworld indents at all.
Weirdest thing was anyone could just wander in from the street and into the screens without having their ticket checked!
Cineworld page now up and booking open. https://www.cineworld.co.uk/cinemas/london-leicester-square
Looks like this page has been renamed prematurely – despite Cineworld announcing the various Empires transferring to them from this weekend, nothing has been said about Haymarket and in fact they have released listings for next week. Wonder how long Cineworld will hold onto Haymarket for? For Unlimited members the overlap period will definitely be great in terms of choice!
Transferring to Empire Cinemas, presumably from 12 August.
Last day as part of the Empire chain will be 11 August 2016 http://www.empirecinemas.co.uk/news/its_a_wrap/n252
Closing down mid-April
Wow, I’ve waited at the bus stop opposite so many times and never noticed this detail.
This cinema is getting a Starbucks – no idea whether this will replace or be in addition to the existing bar.
Appeal has been allowed and the owner of the site has permission to demolish the building. I wonder when this cinema will close?
Programming has taken a real turn for the worse lately, mostly consisting of relatively mainstream yet second-rate films that seem to run for weeks on end, with the odd Bollywood film thrown in. Curious as to what their strategy is.
An appeal against the decision is currently in progress.
Off to the launch event tonight – looks great in the photos!
Seems to have abandoned its typical programming of the less mainstream films and is showing pure Hollywood stuff now, and seemingly doing quite well out of it. But structually this place is just limping along… the ceiling on the way down to screen two is still water damaged and crumbling, and rather than replace the foam that’s come away from certain armrests they’ve just put black tape over the wood!
Might we see some kind of refurb or rebranding announced shortly after Picturehouse Central opens?