Commodore Cinema

2 Star Street,
Ryde, PO33 2HX

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Commodore Cinema

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The Commodore Cinema opened in August 1936. Ryde is the largest town on the island, and the Commodore was the largest cinema built on the island, having a seating capacity of 1,507 in stalls and circle levels. It was operated as an independent cinema by Ryde Cinemas. It was fitted with full stage facilities and there was a cafe and a ballroom inside the building.

In 1962 it was acquired by Isle of Wight Theatres Ltd, and then in 1969 was taken over by the Star Cinemas circuit of Leeds. They sub-divided the building into a bingo club in the former stalls area and a twin-screen cinema in the former circle, each seating 184. The ballroom was converted into Screen 3, which has a seating capacity of 176. It was taken over by the Cannon Group and re-named Cannon. The 3-screen Cannon was closed in September 1987, but the bingo club remained open.

Ten years later, the cinema section was taken over by Peter Walker and re-opened on 11th December 1997 as the Picturedrome. It was then operated by the independent chain Reeltime Cinemas. It continues today operated by Leo Leisure, as does the Cascade Bingo Club in the former stalls area.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on June 7, 2008 at 8:44 pm

The Commodore Cinema/Bingo club in 1974 when it was under the control of Star Cinemas:
http://flickr.com/photos/12494104@N00/2235157968/

james2003
james2003 on April 15, 2009 at 4:08 pm

The operating company who owned the Commodore has gone into administration and the future of this cinema is now in question. At present it continues to trade as the administrators have been keeping it open and according to a local press report, a sale has been agreed but let’s hope it is somebody stepping in to keep the cinema open.

james2003
james2003 on April 27, 2009 at 1:48 pm

Leo Leisure Ltd a family owned business who run the Bingo club in the former stalls area of the cinema are to take on the running of the Commodore’s three screens.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on March 4, 2010 at 6:14 pm

Thanks James2003.

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris on May 31, 2011 at 9:44 pm

I’ve a fond memory of visiting this cinema back in 1969/1970 while on a family holiday in Ryde. My Sister and I went along to the Saturday morning picture show, we sat through a CFF programme with a packed auditorium, presumably a mixture of local children alongside us holidaymakers.

There was no bingo then the entire cinema was a single screen operation. It is hard to imagine it as a three screen cinema with bingo in the original stalls.

If my memory serves me right KES was the movie playing during the main performances for that week, which would have been August. The cinema itself offered a moderate size auditorium, the facade I’m sure was brilliant white and the cinema name was featured in large letter signage above the entrance. Stills from the main feature were displayed outside as was common back then.

During a visit to Ryde a couple of years ago I walked past the Commodore cinema, it looked so much smaller to how I remember it. I think Peter Walker had recently acquired it and had tidied the facade. I would love to see a photograph of the venue interior and exterior as it would have been back then.

Reading here that the venue is under threat I do hope it can continue to operate as a cinema.

KitGreen
KitGreen on September 20, 2011 at 4:39 pm

I saw a film here (Spy Kids[2001]?) some years ago. For some reason the staff were all dressed as cowboys. I cannot remember which screen we were in, the walls were a rather bright pinky red and the projector could be heard even during the not so quiet parts of the film.

It was good to be in an almost proper cinema!

Susan18
Susan18 on April 12, 2013 at 10:39 am

Does anyone know the previous history of the cinema… I see it was opened in 1936… My parents played there in a dance band in the early 1940s and my mother (who is now 91) has fond memories of the dances at the Commodore at that time…

cinemafan78
cinemafan78 on April 1, 2014 at 6:23 pm

When the Commodore originally closed on December the 3rd 1987, the final films to be shown were, Surrender, A nightmare on Elm street part 3 and Ishtar.

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