Empire Cinemas - London Haymarket

63-65 Haymarket,
London, SW1Y 4RQ

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Showing 1 - 25 of 103 comments

Zappomatic on March 5, 2018 at 9:06 pm

The exterior and the foyer have had some love ahead of Brief Encounter. The canopy and readograph have been repainted in gold, and there’s new illuminated signage and poster frames below. The foyer now has a parquet floor, has been repainted and given new lighting. Great to see it getting some TLC after years of neglect by UGC and Cineworld.

GPM10 on January 22, 2018 at 11:43 pm

Brief Encounter is scheduled for a lengthy run (all the way through to September) so it may well be that something major will happen to this site after that. After this play’s first run here ten years ago – which I visited – Cineworld pretty rapidly re-installed the large screen to Cinema 1 and went back to showing films. However, I get the impression that without the bolstering effect of Cineworld’s Unlimited scheme. this venue has really struggled to attract viable numbers of patrons – even at cheap admission prices. The best that can be hoped for is a major refurbishment of some kind : I sadly would not be amazed by closure, though.

cultman1 on January 2, 2018 at 7:45 pm

I am going to Brief Encounter in April so things must be moving forward!

Zappomatic on January 2, 2018 at 7:40 pm

Licensing variation application made to serve alcohol from two additional locations (presumably main kiosk and upstairs kiosk), and also to allow alcohol to be consumed in all screens.

Zappomatic on December 4, 2017 at 9:14 pm

The fact they’ve had UNICK in does suggest to me that they intend to carry out a proper refurbishment.

CF100 on December 4, 2017 at 8:37 pm

Planning application for temporary use as a theatre has been received by Westminster Council (24th November.)

There are no differences between the “existing” and “proposed” plans; however, they are a new set of drawings by UNICK Consulting, rather than those dating from 1997(!) in the licensing applications.

(Albeit they may have relied on existing drawings rather than carrying out a full survey, but these do have the convenience of including a printed scale, for those who might be bothered to actually measure e.g. the size of the auditoria, although I suspect that’s only myself!)

HowardBHaas on November 4, 2017 at 5:51 pm

I’ve added now to the photo gallery here my own photo of the concession foyer. It looks much better now especially without the terrible metal trough thing that ran along the ceiling.

Zappomatic on November 4, 2017 at 5:48 pm

Much better https://instagram.com/p/BWDYcwjDOxb/

Zappomatic on November 4, 2017 at 5:43 pm

As illustrated in this Instagram post, the foyer lighting feature installed by Virgin in the 90s has been replaced by much more appropriate chandeliers, and the cove lighting appears to have been fixed too. Can’t tell what colour it’s been painted now but seems the white was just undercoat. https://instagram.com/p/BZhoOOEDGbO/

Zappomatic on November 4, 2017 at 1:58 am

Other cheap cinemas in London include Peckhamplex at £4.99 (3D £5.99) any day and time, and Vue Harrow and Wood Green at £5.99 for all 2D screenings.

Billy on November 3, 2017 at 8:57 pm

Can’t be many other London cinemas that cheap – Prince Charles’s lowest tickets start at £4.50 for weekday matinees (Member price), and Empire Walthamstow is still £3.95 on Tuesdays, possibly Sutton too when that reopens next month.

Zappomatic on October 25, 2017 at 9:55 pm

The next cheapest West End first run ticket I’m aware of is Vue Piccadilly when using their Super Mondays promo, at £4.99 (requires you to get a code from their website first).

CF100 on October 25, 2017 at 9:49 pm

I can’t imagine Empire Cinemas spending £ms to bring the venue up to scratch, too much competition and lots of high quality up-to-date screens in the LSQ-Piccadilly area.

Takes more than a lick of paint to finish a foyer to current expectations. ;–)

£4.99 for a West End cinema ticket… crikey!

Zappomatic on October 20, 2017 at 1:49 pm

Stage performance of Brief Encounter returns from March 2018 https://www.broadwayworld.com/article/Emma-Rice-to-Bring-BRIEF-ENCOUNTER-to-UK-20171019

Zappomatic on October 15, 2017 at 11:56 pm

I’m not aware of any plans. Empire’s record with their older acquisitions isn’t brilliant but who knows? Previously UGC had planned to add screens here, and then before Cineworld acquired Picturehouse they had planned for Haymarket to become one of 20 “The Screening Rooms” luxury cinemas. This cinema seems to have been victim of takeovers happening at inopportune times.

It was tripled in 1977, and then had a Virgin refurb in 1997 involving creating a bar in the old circle. 20 years have passed again – what next?

PhilipWW on October 15, 2017 at 12:30 pm

Thanks Zappomatic. So, is this talk of new plans just a red herring? Do Empire, to our knowledge, plan to do anything to the cinema?

Zappomatic on October 15, 2017 at 11:34 am

Ah this is just plans of the cinema for their alcohol licence. They’re actually from the 1997 Virgin Cinemas refurb!

PhilipWW on October 15, 2017 at 11:31 am

Zappomatic, No, I have only the web link posted below by CF100 on 9 August.

Zappomatic on October 14, 2017 at 11:04 pm

PhilipWW: I can’t find any planning applications. Do you have the reference number?

PhilipWW on October 14, 2017 at 12:15 pm

Is someone able to summarize the plans that Empire have for the cinema? The planning documents are not particularly clear to me.

Zappomatic on October 14, 2017 at 9:58 am

Now doing £4.95 tickets on Tuesdays – cheapest cinema in the West End?

Zappomatic on October 12, 2017 at 11:24 pm

Walked past here today, looked busy due to the BFI London Film Festival (it’s usually deserted). The purple walls in the foyer have been repainted in a cream/magnolia matt paint, with the false columns etc still in their previous yellow and gold. Coupled with the harsh lighting from the now-dilapidated fixture installed by Virgin Cinemas it looks surprisingly stark. Can’t tell if this is a quick fix or the start of something more thorough.

CF100 on August 9, 2017 at 6:52 pm

Zappomatic: The plans for the cinema are on Westminster Council’s site, e.g. http://idoxpa.westminster.gov.uk/online-applications/licencingDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=KDGKTIRP10100

There is also a building control entry, dated 2010, for “Replacement of two structural beams due to corrosion and delamination.”

One therefore might wonder about the building’s overall condition.

Clearly plenty of scope for refurbishment and reconfiguration although I’m also cynical about its future.

Zappomatic on August 2, 2017 at 5:52 pm

The viability of this place must be seriously in question now that it’s not propped up by a chain with a membership scheme. I’ve been having a look at their seat maps just before the posted performance times and it’s not uncommon for the smaller screens to have zero seats sold (ie. only the house seats greyed out) and screen 1 to have fewer than 10 seats sold.

What will the future hold? I’d imagine now that a traditional projection booth isn’t required the two basement screens could be chopped up into four screens without reducing the screen sizes. I actually think Everyman could be the best fit for this cinema, using the disused stalls bar/soda fountain as a restaurant and re-stepping screen 1 to fit in luxury seats and sofas.

Zappomatic on April 17, 2017 at 5:49 pm

All tickets now £9.95 – that didn’t take long!