Cineworld Cinema - Leicester Square 4DX

5 Leicester Square,
London, WC2H 7NA

Unfavorite 2 people favorited this theater

Empire Screen 2

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Ritz Cinema opened on 25th November 1937 with William Powell & Myrna Loy in “Double Wedding”. With a seating capacity of 430, it was designed in an Art Deco style by architect George Coles for exhibitors Clavering and Rose as an intended large newsreel theatre. However as it is located next door, to the left side of the Empire Cinema, then owned and operated by MGM (Loew’s Inc.), they decided it would make an excellent move-over house for their productions (the opening film had played for two weeks at the Empire).

Although not really suited to sit through feature length movies, due to poor sightlines and an oppresively low ceiling (the cinema was in a basement under an office building), it became popular due to its locality. “Gone With The Wind” moved over to the Ritz Cinema from the Empire Cinema and ran for four years during the war.

It was closed in April 1970 for modernisation to the plans of architects Sidney Kaye, Eric Firmin and Partners. It reopened on 21st May 1970. The seating capacity had been reduced to 393. On 9th November 1972 the Ritz Cinema was re-named Empire 2 and in 1973 it reverted back to the Ritz Cinema name. In 1978 improvements and modernisations were made to the cinema, reducing the seating capacity to 350 and it became Empire 2 again. The entrance and small foyer was converted into a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop and the Ritz Cinema’s canopy and signage were removed. It also resulted in the loss of most of the decoration in the auditorium, which is now bland. Patrons now had to purchase tickets from and gain entry to the cinema via the main Empire Cinema foyer, making the former Ritz Cinema, a screen within the Empire complex, with a seating capacity for Empire Screen 2 being 304.

In July 2016 five Empire cinemas were purchased by the Cineworld chain. Including the Empire Leicester Square, the other four are at Basildon, Hemel Hempstead, Poole and Bromley.

In August 2017 the Empire Cinema – at the Empire Theatre – Screen 2 was closed for conversion into a 4DX screen to the plans of architectural firm Chapman Taylor. It reopened in March 2018 as Cineworld Cinema -Leicester Square 4DX with a reduced seating capacity of 136.

Contributed by KenRoe

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

SethLewis on July 31, 2005 at 2:21 am

Have seen a number of Paramount and Universal releases here over the year including Carlito’s Way, Henry & June, Jungle Fever, Schindler’s List, Star Trek Generations and Gangs of New York

This whole complex seems lately to playing second fiddle since the Odeon UCI merger with moveovers coming in from across the square…a shame because despite its basement location this is still a good screen in which to see a first run if you can survive without stadium seating

AdoraKiaOra on May 4, 2007 at 4:54 am

A terribly flat auditorium that despite not being ‘stadium’ in design offers very bad sightlines especialy if a full house. It has no appeal and is basicaly just another box cinema stuck to the side of another grander cinema like the main Empire auditorium. See what you want to see in another cinema if i were you.

AdoraKiaOra on May 4, 2007 at 4:58 am

I remember this being called ther Ritz Leicester Sq but is still no better today than it was then. Most cinemas around Leicester SQUARE seem to be BOXES- maybe it should be renamed Liecester BOX – look at the seating capacitys of the Odeon Panton Street, The Empires 2 & 3, most of the VUe cinemas (ex Warner) and the shoeboxes that are the Odeon Mezzanine- i know there are plasma TVs you can buy for your home that are bigger than some of these screens!

davepring on April 12, 2012 at 6:39 am

Empire 2 has now been refurbished and has stadium seating and capacity is now 304.

Zappomatic on August 13, 2017 at 4:45 pm

No programming in this screen this week, presumably closed for conversion to 4DX.

Zappomatic on August 16, 2017 at 1:55 pm

Also no programming next week, I think it’s safe to assume closed for conversion.

Zappomatic on August 21, 2017 at 10:18 am

Quite a lot of work going on to fit in the 4DX, with the floor lowered and old projection booth brought back into use.

“Breaking of the lower level concrete slab of the room and rebuild at a lower level to increase the space required for the system and new seating arrangement. Installation of suspended trusses between the columns which will support the equipment for the 4D effects (wind fans, water spray tanks, snow machine, fog machine) – Removal of all projector and installation of new one at the back of the room, in the former projection booth. – New floor, wall and ceiling finishes – New finishes at the access staircase and lobby. – All fire escapes remain unchanged.” (with thanks to CF_100 for finding the building control application)

Zappomatic on March 16, 2018 at 1:40 pm

Former screen 2 is now bookable for Avengers: Infinity War from 26 April. It’s now named 4DX (rather than having a number however I suspect it’s now technically screen 4) and seating is reduced to 136 across 9 rows (8 rows of 16 and the back row of 8).

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater