Empire Cinemas - London Haymarket

63-65 Haymarket,
London, SW1Y 4RQ

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Showing 1 - 25 of 126 comments

Lionel on December 30, 2018 at 3:58 pm

I wrote that I’ve never been there but I suddenly have a doubt. I think I may have seen Dragonslayer in 1982 there, in one of the smaller auditoria, when I was a kid. I remember of classic and classy foyer surrounding looking like those found in old West End theatres (wooden panels and carvings, and that kind of things). Could somebody confirm that Dragonslayer was released at the Carlton too ?

HowardBHaas on December 28, 2018 at 3:18 pm

Lionel, I like to sit in the rear, the raised balcony section. With huge new screen, I sat in the top row (for max leg room) & screen still looked large! Most people though sit in the regular section of seats before the balcony, mid back to all the way back. All sight lines are great with this large screen!

Lionel on December 28, 2018 at 3:16 pm

I’ve never been to this cinema before but shall give it a try on my next trip to London. Howard, considering the new bigger screen, where would you recommend sitting ? Thanks.

HowardBHaas on December 23, 2018 at 8:09 am

Visiting annually from the States, I love this cinema & try to see at least one movie upstairs in main auditorium. Picture & sound quality (7.1) were excellent! The picture filled the screen. I estimated the new larger screen at about 40 feet wide (for scope). The prior screen I had estimated as 32 feet or larger (for scope) & had seemed like a very large screen, considering sightlines. “First Man” which I saw in October, was great in this auditorium. In October 2017, “Blade Runner 2049” was what I had seen.

CF100 on December 22, 2018 at 7:05 pm

Kers: See OLS projector alignment example.

A bit of “cropping” should not be a problem, or is even desirable.

I’ve seen some “scope” films having with slight black “bars” to the left/right edges on some shots and not others, which is extremely irritating.

In the old CRT days, TVs invariably “overscanned” the image, with the edges cropped. TVs today still have an (anachronistically named!) “overscan” option setting, and sometimes it’s factory set to “ON.”

Anything that needs to be seen does not belong in the very edges of the frame. (This, of course, gets complicated by the existence of the IMAX-exclusive versions of films having scenes in 1.43 or 1.9:1 ratios, whilst the standard theatrical release is cropped to scope, but that’s another story…)

In any case, how did you find the picture/sound quality?

Kers on December 19, 2018 at 3:56 pm

Further to my post of 2/9/18, I have since been back to Screen 1 a couple of times and I am pleased to say that the projected image does now completely fills the screen. Although I do wonder if the centre of the image is slightly cropped top and bottom. At a tenner per ticket this is probably the best value for money in the west end.

CF100 on December 18, 2018 at 2:07 pm

Good news, and from my POV, unexpected, as I hadn’t been overly optimistic about the prospect of listed status being granted!

Historic England Listed Building Entry—extensive information.

Lionel on December 17, 2018 at 5:35 am

Recent program about the Carlton broadcasted on YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJI_qZ-twwM

HowardBHaas on October 30, 2018 at 12:52 pm

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 11:08 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 2:37 pm

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 6:35 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 6:07 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 6:17 pm

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

Zappomatic on June 4, 2018 at 5:38 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 5:13 pm

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

HowardBHaas on June 4, 2018 at 4:30 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 4:25 pm

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

LARGE_screen_format on June 4, 2018 at 4:21 pm

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

Zappomatic on June 4, 2018 at 4:09 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 3:58 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 5:20 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 4:50 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 4:06 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 6:43 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.