Empire Cinemas - London Haymarket

63-65 Haymarket,
London, SW1Y 4RQ

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Showing 1 - 25 of 118 comments

HowardBHaas on October 30, 2018 at 9:52 am

another article about the great news! https://www.savebritainsheritage.org/campaigns/item/526/Listing-success-Historic-cinema-in-Londons-West-End-is-celebrated-and-protected-through-listing

Zappomatic on October 24, 2018 at 8:08 am

Following a campaign, this cinema is now grade II listed: https://www.thestage.co.uk/news/2018/londons-empire-cinema-home-kneehighs-brief-encounter-granted-listed-status-following-campaign/

CF100 on September 13, 2018 at 11:37 am

Kers: Thank you for the photos and the update.

A few weeks I spoke to a member of staff at the Cineworld (Empire) Leicester Square, not necessarily someone you’d expect to know about higher level decisions but who had been working there prior to the Cineworld acquisition, and they told me that they understood that Empire Cinemas were minded to refurbish Haymarket.

Wasn’t expecting further changes so soon!

Wonder if the screen upgrade will help draw in more trade to this now somewhat “secondary” location?

Zappomatic on September 2, 2018 at 3:35 am

That’s an impressively large screen but does look a bit like a temporary set of scaffolding! Shame the masking has gone.

The canopy lighting was installed just prior to Brief Encounter. From the photos the seats are not new but in fact the old ones with covers fitted over the top, done for Brief Encounter.

Kers on September 2, 2018 at 3:07 am

Screen 1 is now back in use as a cinema following the early closure of Brief Encounter, which ended on 22nd July. Screen 1 reopened on 31st August showing Christopher Robin. A new, larger, screen and new seating has been fitted. The new screen lacks side-masking and is somewhat curved. Since the projected image is a straight throw on to the screen this unfortunately leaves gaps around the edges, as the picture does not line up with the curvature of the screen. This is not a mega-issue and hopefully they can fix this (I was told by a member of staff the changes were only just finished in time for the reopening). I also spotted that rows of light bulbs have been installed underneath the canopy but I do not know if this was pre or post Brief Encounter. Screen 1 is a great place to see a film and fantastic value for money by West End standards. I have uploaded several pictures.

CF100 on June 4, 2018 at 3:17 pm

Hmm, do such duct tape repairs really cut it health and safety wise?!

Zappomatic on June 4, 2018 at 2:38 pm

As far as I’m aware the current seats and carpets are from Virgin Cinemas' refurbishment which took place around 1997 – when Cineworld handed it over to Empire there were plenty of threadbare armrest and lots of duct tape covering sharp edges on the plastic shells covering the backs of the seats.

LARGE_screen_format on June 4, 2018 at 2:13 pm

Have the seats been changed since the mid 90’s?

HowardBHaas on June 4, 2018 at 1:30 pm

To clarify, at this time, no movies currently in the main auditorium upstairs. Before the play began, there were movies & hopefully again after the play ceases. Don’t want anyone thinking there’s movies daily before & after the live show. Also, auditorium looks the same as early 1990s. No curtain/tab used for movies. The screen is very large. Lobby, stairs, etc. more or less also the same in this lovely historic movie theater.

Zappomatic on June 4, 2018 at 1:25 pm

Yes, and at the same price as the two smaller screens.

LARGE_screen_format on June 4, 2018 at 1:21 pm

Before and after this theatre production does screen 1 still operate as a cinema?

Zappomatic on June 4, 2018 at 1:09 pm

Screen 1 is currently being used as a live theatre, for a production of Brief Encounter.

LARGE_screen_format on June 4, 2018 at 12:58 pm

Is screen 1 at this cinema currently closed? I’ve clicked through on a number of movies via the Empire Cinemas website at various times on a number of different days and all seemed to only display seating plans for screens 2 & 3.

Used to visit this cinema quite a bit back in the early/mid 90’s when I believe it was run by MGM? Comfy seats and a fairly large screen plus traditional interior decor are what I remember. Ticket pricing seemed reasonable too.

Good to see Empire Cinemas offering very affordable ticket prices (£4.95 on Super Saver Tuesdays and £9.95 on all other days).

Shall certainly try to revisit this cinema at some point soon to see how it has changed since my visits in the 90’s and just in case it closes down completely!

Zappomatic on May 22, 2018 at 2:20 pm

It’ll be a huge shame if this cinema is lost and I hope the mainstream media pick up on the threat it’s facing.

CF100 on May 16, 2018 at 1:50 pm

Alas the “wrecking ball” may eventually be on the horizon as the freehold owner is applying for a Certificate of Immunity from listing:

SAVE Britain’s Heritage calls for urgent listing of last surviving grand 1920s West End cinema.

N.B. The façade is within the Haymarket Conservation Area.

Zappomatic on March 5, 2018 at 1:06 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 3:43 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 11:45 am

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

Zappomatic on January 2, 2018 at 11:40 am

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 1:14 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 12:37 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 10:51 am

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 10:48 am

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

Zappomatic on November 4, 2017 at 10:43 am

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 3, 2017 at 6:58 pm

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.