Cineworld Cinema - The O2 Greenwich

The O2, Peninsula Square,
London, SE10 0AX

Unfavorite 2 people favorited this theater

Cineworld Cinema - The O2 Greenwich

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Located in the southeast London district of Greenwich. Opened on 29th June 2007, this Vue cinema is located within the Millenium Dome (now known as The O2). It doesn’t occupy the whole building as there are two performance spaces, one of which has a seating capacity of 23,000 and there are shops as well!

The largest of the eleven screens has a seating capacity of 776, of which 220 of these are ‘Gold Class’ and are located in a mezzanine at the rear of the auditorium. This screen is equipped to screen digital presentations and has what is claimed to be the largest screen in London, which is 24.4m wide(just over 80feet).

Other screens in the cinema have a seating capacity ranging from 186 to 298. Facilities include a fully licenced bar and Green Room. It was taken over by Cineworld in June 2010. On 14th August 2018 a 204-seat ScreenX was installed, giving a 270 degrees viewing experience on the side-walls.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 74 comments)

Zappomatic
Zappomatic on August 16, 2018 at 6:56 am

Skyscape was a temporary structure and dismantled after the Millennium Experience closed. I believe it actually ran as two side by side 2,500 seated cinemas and could be used as one large space for live performances.

CF100
CF100 on August 16, 2018 at 2:50 pm

LARGE_screen_format: According to the above linked ES Global Solutions page, the “Skyscape” building took 16 weeks to build, 8 weeks to dismantle, and cost £10m(!) As the “project completion” date was April 2002, I assume that’s when “dismantling” had been completed.

The page also says: “Skyscape was required for the duration of the Millennium Dome event as dual cinema venues each having capacity for 2,500 people. The East cinema was also designed to be deployed as a 5,500 capacity auditorium for music shows and other events.”

The former gasworks on Greenwich Peninsula have been (and continues to be) built out since the “Millennium Experience”—on the Dome site per se AFAIK the only (major?) buildings left are the Dome itself—if an oversized tent* can be called a “building”!—and the above-ground part of North Greenwich station.

(*Not to demean it… excepting that the fabric seems to permanently be in a state requiring cleaning, it looks cool and is definitely iconic, and I’d be fairly annoyed if it was ever torn down!)

According to the above Skyscape promotional video it was the UK’s largest cinema with 3,300 seats!

Looking at an interior photo courtesy of ES Global Solutions, it looks fairly “barebones” and—hard to say from this photo—but it doesn’t look like there’s any acoustic treatment to the ceiling.

Having said that, it turns out that it was fully equipped in terms of film projection and “A-chain” sound equipment—in70mm.com – 70mm DTS at the Millennium Dome—to quote:

“Cinemeccanica Victoria 8 35/70 & Console 7kW Xenon. Cinemeccanica 70 CNR Platter. DTS 6AD with ES Processors. Screen size 20m wide.”

LARGE_screen_format
LARGE_screen_format on August 16, 2018 at 3:11 pm

A screen 20m wide doesn’t seem so big by today’s standards for an auditoria containing 2,500 seats. But then it was built all the way back in 2002.

CF100
CF100 on August 16, 2018 at 4:46 pm

LARGE_screen_format: Indeed, 2000 was before the emergence of IMAX in the feature film sector and the development of PLF screens as “competitors” of sorts.

Besides, 20m wide would be on the very large side (outside of perhaps “drive-in” locations!) for 35mm and 5/70mm film projection?


Remember also that the “classic” viewing distrance guidelines were based on the limitations of conventional projection of 35mm film prints, i.e. placing the audience far enough away that their perception of the inherent artifacts was kept at an acceptable level; and, also, that IMAX introduced their “DMR” process, initially so that 35mm sources would be acceptable when blown up to 15/70 and shown in an IMAX auditorium, including the use of digital noise reduction to reduce grain.

IOW… it would make no sense to stick in an IMAX-sized screen relative to the auditorium size without suitable projection (and content!) to match…

Or to put it another way, if you like super large screens, then consider yourself lucky that today there’s an ever-expanding embarrassment of riches to choose from thanks to digital. ;–)

CF100
CF100 on September 13, 2018 at 8:42 am

A couple of weeks ago, I went to the Cineworld O2 to attend a screening of “The Meg” in the ScreenX (Screen 9, IIRC.)

The least said about this “monster” (pun intended!) of a movie, the better.


Cineworld O2 Extension/“Project Loop” Update:

On the day I visited the O2, the external fabric of the building was partially complete.

(It will have to be kept in mind here that the O2, aka the “Dome,” is a large tent—thus it does afford a degree of protection against the elements, but does not provide the necessary insulation, nor, obviously, any insulation between the new building and the other parts of the Dome.)

In some parts of the facade, Rockwool mineral wool slabs and Tyvek breathable water resistant membrane visible in other areas, pending the installation of the cladding; in others that cladding had been attached.

Other parts remained “open,” allowing for a view into the building shell, where already installed services (e.g. HVAC ducts.)


Cineworld O2 ScreenX Auditorium:

Detailed notes were stored in my head and typed up as a late night “brain dump” on returning home.

As it has now been a couple of weeks since my visit, I will do my best to unravel them here.

On entering the ScreenX auditorium, it seemed quite comfortable—however, the seating, which had a slight “rocker” action, was narrow and uncomfortable. Legroom, however, was on the generous side for “standard” seating. The vinyl floor in front/under the seating also looks “cheap,” not matching the quality of other parts of the venue, and ditto the handrails on the sidewall(s.)

Presentation before/after the feature was poor—e.g. I had entered the auditorium not long after the doors had “opened” for the performance—all that could be heard was ventilation (perhaps on the slightly loud side?) Abruptly, non-sync music started, then the Cineworld slideshow. After the feature, the house lights came back up and, IIRC, the non-sync music started, and a sudden “thump” sound and it came to a halt again. Admittedly, I was the only one left in the auditorium by this time, as all other patrons left the auditorium as soon as the credits started!

There was also a clear stepping in the “ventilation” sound level after the feature ended which may have been the ScreenX projectors internal fans or extraction turning off or perhaps an “energy saving” mode being used whilst the auditorium was empty.

The sidewalls were a grey colour not too dissimilar to the post-1989 tile colour in the old Empire 1, and were reasonably effective in terms of not reflecting too much back from the main screen (just appears as a sort of “colour wash” towards the front) whilst the brightness level from the ScreenX projectors matched the main scope “stage” screen.

The image on the “stage” screen (floating, no moveable masking) seemed to me not to be as bright as it might have been; however, it did match the sidewall brightness levels.

Picture alignment on the “stage” screen was good, with little or no barrel distortion, and also appeared to have good colour calibration. However, there was some visible centre to edge (vignetting) brightness loss, and the black level could have been better, but I didn’t notice too much clipping of low level detail.

There were 4x ScreenX sidewall projectors, two on each sidewall. As Zappomatic noted, there is an overlap in the middle of each sidewall between the two ScreenX sidewall projectors; whilst this could be seen clearly when no sidewall content was played but the projectors remained on, it was primarily only visible in darker scenes as an increase in black level.

The ScreenX projectors did not quite fill entire height of sidewalls, with a gap top and bottom; the upper gap was where the sidewall projectors and the (small) rear array sidewall speakers were positioned vertically; there was also a slight shadow cast below each ScreenX projector.

With the ScreenX projectors being fed content to display, it seemed to me that a “cylindrical” type stretch was used towards the rear of the auditorium with the ScreenX projectors, presumably to accomodate for different auditorium depths, and/or it is intentional since the human visual system is used to this stretching at the extremes of the horizontal visual field. In any case it works perceptually.

As Zappomatic noted, there was a noticeable delay between the “stage” projection and the sidewall projectors. I can’t be sure, but it also seemed that the right sidewall projectors were further delayed slightly compared to the left sidewall projectors, sometimes it seemed like there was some “tearing” indicating a lack of “vertical synchronisation.”

Furthermore, the sound and front “stage” projection also seemed to be delayed with respect to the audio, with the dialogue preceeding the picture by a perhaps few tens of milliseconds.

However, I may have become oversensitive to this from having adjusted video/sound synchronisation myself, e.g. due to the large latency caused by the processing in modern TVs.

The scenes which used the “full width” afforded by ScreenX seemed to be somewhat random, and sudden jumps between the “stage” screen only and the “full width” being used was sometimes jarring.

The system was very effective in producing an “immersive” wrap-around display, an amazing sense of width and activation of the peripheral vision motion sensitivity.

The overall brightness level seemed sufficient with all projectors in use.

It did, however, seem to me that the “stage” screen was insufficient in size relative to today’s expectations, but, obviously, this is something of a trade-off with the ScreenX system, and I did sit quite far to the back in order to get the full width experience.

Furthermore, the colour rendering match between the “stage” and sidewall ScreenX projection was inconsistent; at times close, at other times, obviously out, being too green—but this depended on the colours being displayed.

The sound system was reasonably good, with sufficient brightness sounding, although not quite at the high end of refinement. Playback didn’t seem to be at reference level though, and may have been peak limited. LFE was OK, and the rear array may have been calibrated at too high a level.

Reverb time was outstanding, and this might be due to the performance of the Armstrong Tectum product noted in previous posts on this page as being used by ScreenX for the sidewall “screens.”

(Incidentally, the seams and lack of colour consistency between these were sometimes (or often?—can’t remember) visible.)

As Zappomatic has mentioned, the “honeycomb” lights work well and were not distracting during the main feature.


Cineworld O2 – Foyer/lobbies/toilets—some random observations:

I was not as impressed by the finishes and standard of work toilet fit-out as Zappomatic. A screw missing in one of the grilles above the urinals.

However, they were super clean and feature the excellent Mitsubishi Jet Towels—“Made in Japan” as the label on them boasts—which in my view are superior to the Dyson Airblades that I have encountered, which lack sufficient room to insert my hands without touching the sides.

The background music speakers in the foyer/lobby areas did not achieve a high quality of sound; some were wall mounted, with ceiling units in the toilets.

Some areas had what looked like black lacquer stretched fabric, as used in Cineworld (Empire) Leicester Square’s newly refurbished foyer. However, on section of these appeared not to be sufficiently tensioned, as it “flapped” about slightly, presumably being moved by the HVAC air flow.

ScreenX was being heavily promoted, with signage—and there was also ScreenX sign on the rear of the auditorium.

Numerous displays (LED module type and large, presumably LCD, display types) throughout the foyer/lobby areas.

The standard of finishes in the foyer/lobby areas remains inconsistent, with the lowest level foyer still having “bumpy” walls and ceilings. Perhaps a further makeover to this area will occur when this foyer is expanded into the cinema’s extended area.

Staff were all very good, and one stood outside the auditorium thanking me for visiting, even though this was some time after all other patrons had left the auditorium, and two members of staff were waiting in the vomitory to clean the auditorium.


Overall, I thought the ScreenX system was effective at what it did, and could be put to very good use; its niggles could be overlooked, but they ideally need ironing out.

With Cineworld committing to numerous installations, it will be interesting to see how much content is made available for the system. But it is getting ridiculous that key titles can now be seen in an IMAX, “PLF” with Dolby Atmos, 4DX, ScreenX, soon in the UK Dolby Cinema, and “regular” auditoria. And, given the choice, I can’t imagine why ScreenX would be chosen over a ~90ft. wide screen fitted with an IMAX with Laser projection system.


Photos of the Cineworld O2 Extension/“Project Loop” under construction and the foyer/lobby areas of the Cineworld O2 to follow.

CF100
CF100 on September 13, 2018 at 9:33 am

Addendum: The stretched lacquered black fabric mentioned in the above post was fitted to the foyer ceilings only.

Zappomatic
Zappomatic on September 14, 2018 at 7:11 am

The blue vinyl flooring and grey handrails in the screens here are all left over from the original fit-out, which is why they perhaps look slightly out of place.

CF100
CF100 on September 14, 2018 at 4:28 pm

Zappomatic: Ah, that explains the handrails!

I suppose the seating would have to be removed to replace the vinyl floor covering.

Zappomatic
Zappomatic on September 14, 2018 at 5:02 pm

The seating is newer than the blue flooring so they must have decided retain it in the refurb. In screens 1-10 the seats, lighting and carpet are new. Ceiling, hard flooring, hand rails and wall coverings (including the bulges housing the surrounds) are all from the original fit-out for Vue.

CF100
CF100 on September 14, 2018 at 6:20 pm

wall coverings (including the bulges housing the surrounds) are all from the original fit-out for Vue.

Hmm, I assume, specifically regarding wall coverings and the surrounds, you mean in the non-ScreenX auditoria?

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