Empire Cinema

St. Nicholas Way,
Sutton, SM1 1AZ

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Empire Cinema

Located in Sutton Surrey, today a district in the southwest of Greater London. Opened by United Cinemas International(UCI) as the 6-screen UCI Sutton on 6th April 1992 with 1,510 seats. It is located in the St Nicholas Shopping Centre in the centre of town. Seating capacities are for two screens each having 326 seats, one screen 304, one screen 296, one screen 260 and one screen 232.

It was taken over by the independent Empire Cinemas Ltd. in 2006. It was closed in June 2017 for refurbishment and enlargement to the plans of architectural firm UNICK Architects and re-opened with 10 screens on 13th February 2018.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

thomastace
thomastace on June 20, 2017 at 5:31 am

This cinema is currently closed. It will reopen in December with 10 screens.

CF100
CF100 on September 23, 2017 at 7:28 am

Plans for the project can be found on Sutton Council’s website, planning application no. B2017/77471.

Two IMPACT auditoriums are to be included, one an “IMPACT LUXE” (no. 3) and the other an “IMPACT BLUE” (no. 8) (whatever that means?) There will also be a D-BOX auditorium (no. 2.)

Seats to include recliner and sofa premium options, except D-BOX (all recliner?)

Preliminary details follow (pending survey following strip out, acoustic engineer’s report, etc.)

Seat counts: 90, 30, 167, 66, 36, 96, 60, 156, 60, 107 = 868 total, of which 147 are recliners, and 238 are sofas.

Screen sizes:

IMPACT LUXE – 13.95x7.54m. (~46x25ft.)

IMPACT BLUE – 13.16x7.12m.

D-BOX – 7.71x4.17m.

Comparing to the existing plans, existing auditoria 2 and 5 are being converted to IMPACT auditoria, with all other auditoria subdivided to form an additional screen each.

The “flyer” on Empire Cinema’s website says “IMPACT Powered by Dolby Atmos,” so I assume both IMPACT auditoria will be so equipped.

Drawings submitted for planning are by UNICK Architects.

DavidSimpson
DavidSimpson on February 20, 2018 at 8:46 am

I believe the press release referred to by CF100 was a touch premature. According to the Croydon Advertiser (Wednesday 14th February), the Empire opened the day before, on Tuesday 13th February. The article also confirmed that pretty much the only thing remaining from the original cinema is the outside wall.

CF100
CF100 on June 14, 2018 at 5:28 am

360° “3D” phototour.

Looking at these photos, the two IMPACT screens both use JBL 3635 rear subwoofers (one on each sidewall) and JBL 9300 side/rear speakers. Overheads are hard to make out but they might be JBL SCS 8.

Both IMPACT auditoria feature the same black stretched fabric with horizontal lines “inset” (as with the Leicester Square IMAX and the more recent IMPACT auditoria), a design which incidentally can be found in other locations using Eomac’s Pro-Stretch system—grey coloured in the “LUXE” auditorium, and blue in the “BLUE” auditorium.

Downfiring LED modules are fitted on the stadia risers behind the seating, red colour in the “LUXE” auditorium, and (surprise!) blue in the “BLUE” auditorium.

Seating: Rear two rows recliners, next two rows sofas in black/red/gold, all rows to front standard. (Again in both IMPACT auditoria.)

The “BLUE” auditorium has a angled “splay” section at the screen end with an exit whilst the right section is straight. As the screen is “wall-to-wall,” this results in an off-centre screen.

Suffice it to say that IMO it would have been a far better to have compromised on screen size to gain a centred screen and I’d avoid this auditorium on that basis alone. However, looking at the original planning application, the left wall was originally right angled to the screen, so presumably this was a “forced” compromise.

The “LUXE” screen is slightly off centre to allow for an exit on the front right, although the right sidewall angles out slightly to account for this, and it looks to be a far more marginal issue.

With what looks like a promising sound system and comfortable interior, the “LUXE” auditorium could be a good place to see a film.

CF100
CF100 on June 14, 2018 at 6:04 am

On the opening date.

Apparently, the opening was postponed due to a delay in seating delivery.

PhilipWW
PhilipWW on September 5, 2018 at 10:16 am

From the auditorium information and the virtual tour on the cinema website, it would appear that both Impact screens (Screens 1 and 8), Screen 10 and the D-Box screen all have 1.85 Flat screens necessitating that Scope have to be shown letterboxed.

If the larger screens are just 1.85 I can only presume that all the rest are too. Whether this is a hangover from when the cinema was built for UCI or a consequence of the upgrade by Empire cinemas, I do not know.

In my opinion, with the majority of films now shot in Scope this does not make this a good place to watch movies in. It will be just like watching a big TV set.

CF100
CF100 on October 12, 2018 at 2:24 pm

The virtual tour can also be seen on Google Streetview, e.g.:

IMPACT LUXE auditorium.

Sidewall, rear LFE speakers, and overhead speakers can clearly be seen.

The fit-out has achieved an exceptional quality of finish—I’m hard pressed to find any glaring flaws—everything looks straight and fabricated or fitted to tight tolerances. If I’m not mistaken, wall carpet has been applied to the walls of the corridor to the auditoria.

The entrance to the IMPACT LUXE auditorium features a small seating area in a corridor under the stadia and/or booth, which leads to the vomitory access.

CF100
CF100 on October 15, 2018 at 7:24 pm

PhilipWW: The cinema was totally refurbished by Empire Cinemas, and 4 of the 6 original auditoria were subdivided. The 2 auditoria that were not are now the two IMPACT screens.

The “Existing Upper Level Floor Plan” which is available among the documents the above-mentioned planning application, and it shows the “Downtakings,” with the screens being marked for removal.

Additionally, to summarise notes on that drawing: all raised floors, blockwork as marked (subject to confirmation by structural engineer), ceilings inc. grid/tiles/lights, and all services inc. duct, pipework, etc. were to be removed.

I suspect ~1.9:1 screens are used to make auditoria look like a Digital IMAX?

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