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The American-based Walter Reade Organisation opened the 450 seat Bloomsbury Cinema as their first and only British venture. It opened on 19th January 1972 with the movie “The Trojan Women” starring Katharine Hepburn. Located in a basement in the (then) newly-built Brunswick Square complex which included a shopping centre, residential units and a car park.
With its close proximity to the University of London and the British Museum (and two minutes from Russell Square Tube station), it aimed to attract many young people and students with its art house programming. However due to its high admission prices, and hidden location, the Bloomsbury Cinema was a failure and it was taken over by EMI on 4th May 1974 and re-named ABC Bloomsbury. Re-named EMI International Film Theatre in January 1977 it continued its programming screening foreign movies. This venture failed and it was sold to Cinegate who operated the Gate Cinema in Notting Hill Gate, West London. It was re-named the Gate 2 from 23rd February 1978.
The cinema was twinned by a dividing wall down the centre of the auditorium and it re-opened as the Gate 1-2 on September 24th 1981 with seating for 251 and 241 in the two screens, however this closed on 30th October 1985.
After a short period of closure and a re-furbishment by architects Burrell, Foley Associates it re-opened under the management of Artificial Eye and was renamed Renoir Cinema on 9th May 1986.
It has now found success and flourishes as an art house cinema. It was refurbished in 2008 and in November 2008, was taken over by the Curzon Cinemas chain. It closed on 1st June 2014 to be converted into a 6-screen cinema, which is due to re-open in February 2015 as the Curzon Bloomsbury.
The Renoir Cinema is a Grade II Listed building.
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