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All tickets now £9.95 – that didn’t take long!
I think Empire were a little late putting up listings for the film in screen 1, so it’s going to limp on its current state for a while yet. Five films being juggled across three screens next week.
Had a poke around the online booking for the cinema and it looks like they haven’t sold a single seat in advance for any upcoming performances.
From Friday there’s nothing on in Screen 1. Event, or already refurbishing I wonder?
Now has some external Cineworld branding in the form of a sign just above the doors. The 1980s Empire logo on the doors has been replaced by the Cineworld logo. Inside, the signage about the entrances to the screens still has the Empire logo, and bizarrely the tiled/granite floor opposite the kiosk has been covered over with slightly tatty looking black carpet.
So, debranding inside began even before the final Cineworld customers had left. Bar had already been closed.
Reopens tomorrow as Empire from 7.30pm.
Reading up on this, apparently MGM spent £1.5m refurbishing this cinema in the early 90s including restoring the exterior, removing the false ceiling from the foyer and practically rebuilding the auditoriums from the ground up. There was such an overspend that Ealing (demolished by Empire) didn’t get its proposed bar!
Empire webpage now set up: http://www.empirecinemas.co.uk/cinema_info/empire_london_haymarket/t45/
Given Empire don’t do the 10% discount for online bookings they are technically charging more than Cineworld were. I think they are really going to struggle with this seeing as Empire’s brand is not particularly well known in London.
As an Unlimited member I miss the days before Cineworld bought Picturehouse and they actually made an effort to compete in the arthouse market. Haymarket and Shaftesbury Avenue shared a listings poster and you often ended up with a really interesting and quirky selection of films across the two sites. The value of the West End card is diminished now that you have Fulham Road which most definitely isn’t in the West End, and Leicester Square where two of the screens carry a surcharge and all bar one of the other screens are so tiny that showings routinely sell out in advance. Getting to use Picturehouse Central for £5 is nice but that’s not really the point of the “Unlimited” card.
Confirmed last day as Cineworld is Thursday 6 April (@CineHaymarket Twitter account).
Given Empire’s love of tiny boothless screening rooms I can well see screens 2 and 3 subdivided, and maybe even use made of the abandoned bar in the basement. I just hope they don’t dare carve up screen 1.
It’s leased from the Crown Estate who I would imagine are keen to keep it to help bring footfall to their St James’s Market development.
Cineworld have finally sent out an email to Unlimited members informing them that Haymarket will soon cease to be a Cineworld however it doesn’t specify a date, instead directing members to the Cineworld Haymarket webpage for updates. Right now there’s no date shown but listings don’t extend beyond Thursday (which lately isn’t all that unusual as this site seems to have been a bit tardy at getting its listings up).
The email states that the cinema will be taken over immediately by Empire when Cineworld leaves. I wonder if Empire will give this cinema the refurb it deserves, or will run it as a discount fleapit like their other non-multiplex sites? I do genuinely see them struggle to make this work as a full-price house with only three screens and no membership scheme.
Also looks like they’ll be recycling the old Leicester Square pages from their site: http://www.empirecinemas.co.uk/cinema_info/empire_leicester_square/t5/ . Will they be cheeky and refer to this as Leicester Square?
Once had a Virgin-cinemas operated restaurant called The Waterfront: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/restaurants-on-the-waterfront-1083417.html
My first visit here today since the Starbucks replaced the downstairs bar. Furniture from the downstairs bar has been moved to the upper foyer as well as the Circle Bar (which seems to be used as an event space rather than as a bar) however both concessions kiosks now offer alcohol, and you can take your drink into the screens.
Expected to get a 4DX screen this year. Wonder which screen will get converted? I’ve have thought all but screen 2 are too small and cramped to fit the equipment in but who knows?
Realised this listing needs its title correcting. It’s the O2 (letter O) not the 02.
Visited recently, it seems screens 1-5 have been refurbished (including overhead lighting which is now distractingly bright however the floor lights have been dimmed) plus the Superscreen which now has Dolby Atmos. 6-10 upstairs are untouched, as are corridors meaning this cinema now has four different types of carpet throughout.
This was taken after the final film.
So it’s finally closed, with little fanfare. No message on the readograph, just a backlit poster outside and one or two inside plus film time screens occasionally showed a “That’s all folks” slide.
All food and drink was 25% off with no fountain drinks available at the lower kiosk and no hot dogs at the upper kiosk (I bought a popcorn combo so had to take my receipt upstairs – Coke Zero had run out so I settled on a Diet Coke which turned out to be almost flat).
One slide before the film advising the cinema was closing today and inviting customers to use Fulham Road or Leicester Square – perhaps rather telling that there was no mention of Haymarket? Once that goes then that’s all elements of ex-Classic cinemas gone from the Cineworld gene pool.
A few customers chatting to staff about what happens to them (employment at other sites) and thanking them.
No listings on Vue’s website beyond today so presume it’s closing for refurb from tomorrow?
An interesting account by someone whose mother worked there when she was a child: https://creamcracker.wordpress.com/2017/03/03/the-last-picturehouse/
It’s a shame no pictures seem to exist of the interior of this cinema over the years, as I’d love to see what the bar looked like. Wonder which operator took it out? In my mind I’m picturing the foyers as a sea of brown and orange, for some reason!
Incredibly cheap tickets here, £2.50 Monday to Friday and £3.50 weekends.
Yes, assumed those stains are water damage.
Haven’t been in the IMAX screen since the Pepsi signage came down, unfortunately.
In front of the curved backlit poster you can see evidence of some old water damage, and it’s there that the peeling/tearing in whatever it is on the ceiling can be found – sort of in line with the disused box office. It’s visible in a photo taken a year or two ago which I can’t seem to find right now so it’s something Empire also couldn’t be bothered to fix. On a positive note they’ve put the silver ball back on top of the entrance to screen 5 (it had fallen off and could be seen resting on the ledge). I’ll grab a shot of it on my next visit.
On my last visit the Pepsi Max branding had been removed from signage inside and out, albeit crudely done leaving holes in the metalwork. All other signage still Empire branded.
Still a Cineworld and becoming ever more threadbare. For some reason some of the programming duplicates Leicester Square, even right down to the showtimes.
Noticed the cinema is advertising itself as “London’s biggest screen outside the West End”. Not sure by what metric though as it’s eclipsed in both screen size and seating capacity by Cineworld at the O2. Biggest screen in Central London outside the Wet End? Biggest Curzon screen outside the West End?
I believe that’s the plan. I’m going to miss this cinema; the two larger screens upstairs are actually pretty decent and it’s been well maintained, and staff are friendly. However I won’t miss the uncomfortable, narrow seats with hard armrests (which nearby Cineworld Fulham Road is also afflicted with) and the screen in the basement is comically small for the size of the auditorium.
With Ealing long since demolished, Hammersmith gone, Chelsea closing and Haymarket transferring to Empire (although this seems to have gone very quiet), this could leave only Fulham Road as the last of the slightly oddball rump of non-purpose built multiplexes Virgin kept when they bought MGM. Kind of a shame as they have their own quirky 90s style.
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.