Odeon Panton Street

11-18 Panton Street,
London, SW1Y 4DP

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Odeon Panton Street

Viewing: Photo | Street View

This was Europe’s first four-in-one cinema, and has a location just off Leicester Square in the West End district of central London. It opened on 12th January 1969 with Jack MacGowran in “Wonderwall” playing in all four screens. The following day, “Wonderwall” remained in one screen, while “Les Biches”, “The Sinning Urge” and “Who Saw Him Die” opened in the other three screens. It was built for the Compton Group who operated several porn cinemas and had their own distribution company; Compton Cameo Films. They built several more Cinecenta cinemas in major cities in England, which like the Cinecenta Panton Street played mostly independent and foreign art house films.

Nigel Farrington of the architectural firm Cassidy, Farrington and Dennys was the architect of this complex which had seating in the four screens; 138, 154, 150 and 145. The policy was to play off-beat and Art House foreign films.

Compton were eventually taken over by Star Cinemas and mainstream programming was started at the Cinecenta. Star Cinemas were taken over by Classic Cinemas and they in turn were taken over by the Cannon Cinemas group who re-named the complex Cannon Panton Street.

Further takovers and name changes continued; MGM, ABC Cinemas and currently Odeon Theatres, who currently programme the cinemas with foreign and art house movies.

Contributed by KenRoe

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

SethLewis on July 23, 2005 at 4:58 am

Thanks for adding this one. Easily the most uncomfortable complex in the West End – with really bad leg room. Went and paid full price under duress to see pictures such as Naked by Mike Leigh and recently Stander because this was the only place they were playing. Odeon should be much more flexible with pricing here.
Said this becaue it is beneath a block of flats, conversion for other use would be rather difficult and because we love cinemas we’re kind of glad it has survived.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 24, 2005 at 3:10 pm

A 2004 photograph of the Odeon Panton Street, in London’s West End:
View link

Ian on July 28, 2007 at 10:31 pm

A 2007 shot of the Odeon:–

View link

scott99 on October 16, 2008 at 1:27 am

God, this little place is a really rotten place to see a movie, it’s so bad, there is almost a charm to it. The screens are tiny, even the ones at the swiss centre seemed bigger (despite being smaller) as there was a feeling of space. At Panton Street, the seats are buched togethyer and the ceilings are low. I saw Running on Empty, Men Don’t Leave and Three Colours Red there among others.

AdoraKiaOra on June 12, 2009 at 1:05 pm

A really horrible place.

CF100 on May 9, 2014 at 4:42 pm

Four-in-one-cinema – Design Journal (1969) article published at the time of its opening as a Cinecenta; it includes a number of photos and a plan. Quite a compromised (asymmetric auditoria) design for a new build.

Woody_London on June 1, 2015 at 10:23 pm

getting a battleship grey make-over while the Odeon West End is being demolished

Lionel on April 16, 2017 at 8:08 pm

The link to the article quoted by CF100 “Four-in-one-cinema” doesn’t work anymore because it was modified. I found it with Google : https://vads.ac.uk/diad/article.php?title=243&article=d.243.39

Only went once to this cinema while on holiday in London in the eighties, to see “Throw momma from the train”. I found both the seat and screen to be small, and had to sit in the first few rows for a satisfactory “wide screen” illusion. I’m surprised to see it still stands today. I guess the program and refurbishment have been smartly thought out.

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