Odeon Luxe Darlington

220 Northgate,
Darlington, DL1 1RB

Unfavorite 3 people favorited this theater

Showing 1 - 25 of 27 comments

sdw on November 21, 2019 at 1:50 pm

Thanks for the update – will have to check out when all done -I guess the new screen will be fitted early December in time for Star Wars (maybe get 2 weeks of Frozen 2 in screen 1) as prices are £7 & £5 offpeak from 19th (or earlier if finished)

Jamesnielsen73 on November 21, 2019 at 7:48 am

Went to Screen 1 just after it reopened. The front of the circle has been raised to allow for the wider rows to accommodate the reclining seats and extra legroom throughout the former circle. As a result the ceiling at the front of screens 2 & 3 is a lot lower down from the front of the circle. Screen 1 now has approx.160-170 seats, down from 550 and screens 2 & 3 appear to have 65 and 50 seats, from 220 and 149. The reclining seats in screen 1 have not been switched on yet as the existing screen is too low to view with them in a reclined position. When screens 2 & 3 reopen, the plan is to re-close screen 1 and fit a new higher screen – probably in front of the proscenium arch. Whether this will also include a redecoration of the auditorium (they have already fitted new flooring and carpets in screen 1) we will see, but the pink/red décor is looking tired. The stairs and upper foyer have been redecorated and new carpets fitted. AMC are spending a lot of money on this old cinema and hopefully it will continue to compete against Vue. Seat prices are still showing at £3.

sdw on November 19, 2019 at 2:17 pm

Has anyone been since luxe conversion (still £3.00 for the moment) Has Screen 1 had the screen moved forward or resized + S2 & 3 has screen remained same size or gone to 1.85.1?

sdw on October 29, 2019 at 10:28 am

looks like screen 1 is open now (other 2 screens now in concersion) £3.00 still (i guess till all screens converted)

terry on October 29, 2019 at 7:57 am

Photo uploaded showing work in progress in screen 1. A friend is visiting this evening and hopes to take photos of the place as it now is – presumably with the screen brought forward and the front circle floored over with the old front stalls sealed off.

sdw on October 27, 2019 at 6:51 am

£7 for a recliner (£5 Mon-Thurs before 5 is seems)is same (well £6.95) as Vues most expensive seating (non reclining seats)

£3.00 less than showcase luxe at teesside so i think will do well (as not as many seats to fill as it once had once conversion done)

Looks like screen 1 will reopen 15 Nov (as thats when disabled access is back)

Tony Newman
Tony Newman on October 23, 2019 at 3:02 am

I can honestly say that since the VUE opened I have never been to a film where there has been more than a hundred in, usually you can count on your fingers how many are in. Not sure if i’m right but I have believed that this cinema makes it’s living out of kids films. When there is a kids film Lion King, Dora Secret life of pets etc. it seems to do well. When the kids are at school it has stopped opening during the day. £3 a ticket or £10 for a family and it is within walking distance of many houses around North Rd it is “first choice” ( old ODEON catch phrase)for the kids. It may not be as posh but what do you want for 3 quid. At £7 a ticket I fear your right they will go into town to the VUE.

terry on October 22, 2019 at 3:44 pm

Looking at the plan of screen 1 it would appear that the front circle has been completely lost and that there are 196 seats in the rear circle (which originally seated 438).

When entering the former circle now it will appear totally different with all the theatre’s original features obliterated.

If the brand new Vue Multiplex charges only £4.99 (for ALL performances?) I would imagine that most people will opt to go there. The only reason the old Theatre Royal/Regal/ABC/Cannon/ABC/Odeon has lasted so long is simply because the site it occupies has no commercial value otherwise it would have been sold decades ago……..

Tony Newman
Tony Newman on October 22, 2019 at 11:38 am

I have just looked at Odeon’s website for booking tickets for Star Wars and there is a layout of the auditorium which has double seats the screen has been brought forward and the tickets are £7! with VUE only been £4.99 I hope they are not going to be over priced. Only time will tell

sdw on September 24, 2019 at 8:44 am

Must still be viable if Odeon spending the cash – Normally loose around 60% of seting so Id thought they would be 160-200 Seats in S1 (just over 500 at present time), and less than 50 in other 2 screens.

Vues prices for 2D VIP seats (non recliner) is £6.95…so Id guess £8 (cheaper than showcase luxe at teesside park)

terry on September 23, 2019 at 3:10 pm

I was Manager here from 1989 – 1995; it was not my favourite post as full Manager (Newcastle was by far the best followed by South shields whilst Chester was the most unhappy appointment ever ) and I was instrumental in having the place redecorated (expensively by ‘Cosmos’ of Glasgow) and re – seated, albeit with the best available second hand seats from two ‘Cannon disposals’, viz Newcastle and Manchester Deansgate.

The main auditorium (circle) had been reduced from 628 to 590 seats upon triple conversion in 1977 and , as a result of the front circle being fitted with Newcastle’s wider seats whilst I was there, this capacity was further reduced to 578.

Until Showcase arrived at nearby Stockton on Tees the cinemas were 75% full during the week and completely full at the weekends; I refer to the evening performances although the afternoons were respectable. Upon the emergence of Showcase, the business was hit considerably although the theatre remained profitable. I ‘pushed’ for the circle to be re-stepped and reduced in capacity to around 400 seats and actual plans were drawn up with this intention in mind although it never came to fruition.

I honestly thought that this building would have closed when Vue arrived in the town but, having spent its ‘9 lives’, it now appears to be starting a new cycle………

I assume that finally the circle will be re – stepped and its capacity will be reduced not to 400, as I recommended decades ago, but to somewhere in the region of 250 – 300? I am furthermore guessing that the screen will be brought forward from the proscenium and will, accordingly , be considerably wider than the 38 feet it was when I was ‘at the Regal’! Naturally, being AMC, there will be no tabs even though Odeon fitted brand new ones when they took over in 2001 (?). This will be a shame as they provide the ‘gift wrapping’ which, happily, continues in certain superior independent cinemas.

Amazingly, Darlington will retain its two oldest theatrical venues with the Hippodrome and here (which, of course, is the reconstructed Theatre Royal) in addition to the town’s first Odeon which has reverted to its original name, the Majestic.

Tony Newman
Tony Newman on September 23, 2019 at 11:43 am

and lets hope they don’t put the prices up too much and finish it off. Looking forward to a long future.

sdw on September 23, 2019 at 3:51 am

As previous comments said this cinema really has 9 lives…now being converted to Odeon Luxe (reclining seats etc). Screen 1 being refurbished now, Screens 2 & 3 to follow.

terry on January 19, 2019 at 4:39 pm

Entertainments pages with all Darlington cinemas for the years 1952 and 1961 uploaded (together with my comments and observations)to the photos section…..

terry on August 26, 2017 at 11:44 am

If ever a cinema had nine lives it is that one……….

Tony Newman
Tony Newman on October 8, 2016 at 10:38 am

Well the new VUE has opened in the town and I am surprised to say that unusually the ODEON is still open and it seems they maybe making a fight of it. They have dropped the ticket price to £3 all shows all days. lets hope this town is big enough for both of them.

terry on May 13, 2016 at 3:47 pm

A well meaning contributor has uploaded 2 photos of the Odeon (Gaumont) Doncaster. The cladding at the front is similar to that on the Fronts of House of the original Odeon Darlington and the replacement Odeon Stockton.

terry on May 13, 2016 at 3:05 pm

1937 shot of Theatre Royal (prior to reconstruction as ABC Regal) uploaded

terry on October 22, 2015 at 6:56 pm

A very well meaning contributor to the site queried one of the photos in the relevant section and I have given a definitive, but respectful, reply.

terry on July 3, 2015 at 3:46 pm

This theatre was never equipped to show Cinerama (or Todd AO/70mm) and the nearest venue to present films in 70mm format was the ABC (former Elite) Middlesbough; this was the case from its modernisation in 1964 until tripling in 1974 when the large screen and the 70mm equipment were removed. The new Odeon Stockton was also thus equipped from its opening in 1968 until closure in 1981.

The nearest Cinerama was the Queens Newcastle although the ‘3 strip’ format lasted only very briefly before 70mm was adopted and blown up onto the Cinerama screen. Other 70mm venues were the Essoldo Newcastle (later ABC) and the Pavilion Newcastle which generally played the product deemed either not good enough for the Queens or which the latter was unable to play owing to long term commitments as was the case with ‘The Sound Of Music’ which played there for nearly three years.

Re this venue an opening photo of the (now disused) Front Stalls has been uploaded.

lornaliz on December 31, 2014 at 1:47 pm

Does anyone know whether the Odeon in Darlington showed cinerama films?

terry on May 4, 2014 at 7:48 pm

The Odeon, Bondgate, Darlington,was going to become a drop wall triple cinema – IE the original circle looking onto the original proscenium as screen 1 and two mini cinemas in the underhang of the circle (IE in the rear stalls).

A problem arose whereby there would be insufficient clearance (owing to the positioning of the main supporting girder)for the projection from port to screen in the two ‘minis’. The conversion was therefore cancelled.

The ABC(Regal)Northgate had been conspicuous by its absence from a list of proposed conversions of ABC Theatres published in 1976 from which one could deduce that the writing was on the wall for that venue. However, as soon as it became known about the problem with the Odeon (Majestic), the ABC was not only added to that list but was rushed ahead in the queue and was converted in very much the same manner which had been intended for the Odeon (Majestic).

So, had the best laid plans of mice and men gone ahead the Odeon (Majestic) would have seen the ABC off instead of vice versa and, I dare say, would eventually have been further sub divided like most surviving Odeons.

Anyway, it seems very likely that the Vue Complex is finally going to go ahead in Darlington and that surely will spell the end for the Regal/ABC/Cannon/ABC/Odeon, Northgate.

terry on May 4, 2014 at 7:01 pm

Union Cinemas, who briefly operated the Majestic prior to its purchase by Oscar Deutsch, were taken over by Odeon’s rival company, ABC. Union had plans to open a brand new Ritz Cinema in Darlington but this failed to materialise. A possible reason for this could have been that ABC (who already had the Regal Northgate) were able to cancel the project upon their acquisition of Union. Had it come to fruition and had, in turn, the Majestic been a Union Cinemas outlet upon takeover by ABC then that company would have had the three largest and most modern cinemas in Darlington and it is therefore debatable as to which of those three would have been retained.

Ian on November 25, 2011 at 3:37 am

In November 2011 the Odeon is receiving a major refurbishment, inside and out. The two mini’s have already been finished, the exterior has been repaired and repainted and is still under scaffolding, and the the main screen refurb is due to start shortly.




terry on December 24, 2008 at 4:41 pm

Not all the side walls of the Theatre Royal were retained, as in order to widen the building, it was necessary to demolish the south elevation.

The circle originally seated 628 and was reduced to 590 in 1977 when the built out section from the circle (to accommodate the screen areas of the 2 minis below) encroached upon the sightlines; so the front row of the circle was removed.The 590 seats were reduced to 578 when I was manager there and some larger seats from my former theatre (Newcastle) were installed in the front circle.