Showcase Cinema de Lux Bluewater

Water Circus, Bluewater,
Greenhithe, DA9 9SG

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Showcase Cinema de Lux Bluewater

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Located in the huge Bluewater Shopping Centre, located between Dartford and Gravesend. This opened as a 12-screen multiplex by Hoyts Cinemas on 16th March 1999. The seating capacities in the twelve screens totaled 2,793, and ranged from 464, down to 80. In recent years an 86-seat Studio screen has been added, bringing the total seating capacity up to 2,879. In 2014 it was re-named Showcase Cinemas de Lux. In December 2017 four more screens were added.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 3, 2010 at 4:17 am

This page at the web site of JPRA Architects lists five theater projects the firm has designed, and one of them is Hoyts Cinema, Bluewater, Kent, United Kingdom. Unfortunately they offer no information or photos for this project. JPRA is headquartered in Farmington Hills, Michigan, outside Detroit. In the U.S., the firm designs mostly mixed use projects and shopping centers.

Max the Movie Guy
Max the Movie Guy on September 28, 2014 at 11:21 am

This cinema has been transforming into a Showcase Cinema de Lux since Spring this year. Screen 4 was turned into an IMAX cinema on December 13, 2013.

DavidSimpson
DavidSimpson on August 31, 2015 at 1:57 am

This was the only UK cinema built and operated by Hoyts (their other UK build, at Wood Green in north London, opened as part of the Showcase circuit).

CF100
CF100 on September 4, 2017 at 4:22 pm

This cinema originally opened with two THX certified auditoria, which, at that time, were very few in relative number in the UK compared to most other developed markets—and by the late 1990s not to be expected for a newly commissioned site.

Alas, at that time IIRC KCS speakers were installed—and those screens didn’t sound particularly different to the main screens in any other run-of-the-mill multiplex, i.e. medicore and not comparable to the excellent THX certified installations at the Empire Leicester Square or Warner West End in the 1990s.

(Of course, this is not a comment on the current presentation quality, with which I am not familar.)

Buffer
Buffer on December 13, 2017 at 6:58 am

The Cinema de Lux now has 17 screens, according to press advertising in December, 2017.

CF100
CF100 on June 21, 2018 at 2:27 pm

Showcase Cinema de Lux Bluewater Unveils Four New State-of-the-Art Screens – Inside Kent Magazine.

According to the above linked article, all four of these auditoria are equipped with laser projection and Dolby Atmos, and feature recliner seating.

One of them is an “XPlus,” Showcase Cinemas' premium large format brand, with an approx. 64ft. wide by 27ft. high screen.

LARGE_screen_format
LARGE_screen_format on June 22, 2018 at 8:27 am

Added this to my list of cinemas to visit. I seem to recall watching one movie at this cinema in one of the small auditoria in the mid to late 90’s. Was shopping in Bluewater, hadn’t planned on watching a movie and had already seen the major new releases elsewhere. IIRC the seats seemed comfy (blue velour?) but that’s about all that I came away thinking at the time.

Does anyone know the size of the IMAX screen (screen 4)? Seems an unsual decision to have both an IMAX screen and a XPlus screen (Showcase’s own proprietary large format) in the same cinema as they are two competing large screen formats.

Presumably, the new screens are auditoria 13 to 17 and use Barco laser projection (which is used at Showcase Cinema de Luxe, Southampton)? Their website just lists Sony 4K projection.

Spent some time clicking through almost all of the current movies being shown to get an idea of the auditoria sizes and most seem pretty decent, certainly for a 17-screen multiplex. Screen 4 (IMAX) seems the largest with of 15 rows x 31 seats. Screen 3 has 16 rows x 28 seats. Screen 15 (XPlus) has 11 rows x 29 seats. The smallest screen seems to be screen 7 which is 10 rows x 11 seats followed by screens 13 & 14 which are Event screens I believe where they show opera performances etc.

Signed up to Showcase Insider which is free and entitles you to discounted tickets on Sunday after 7pm and all day Monday and Tuesday. Also, you earn 10% back in rewards on ticket and food/drink purchases. They also accept Meerkat Movies 2-4-1 on Tuesdays/Wednesdays. Regular ticket prices seem reasonable (cheap compared to the West End, London!).

Don’t often head out towards Dartford but this cinema seems like it warrants a special trip!

CF100
CF100 on June 22, 2018 at 10:24 am

I’ve been to this cinema (and therefore Bluewater) many times, but not for many years now and not since any of the later additions/alterations.

Of course, from the point of view of someone such as myself, the mall was full of useless overpriced womens' clothing retailers and bizzare soap shops from which overpowering scents seemed to curiously waft out. ;–)

It was originally masterplanned by Eric Kuhne & Associates and the main mall areas are very comfortable—albeit with very “pastiche” styling.

One of the seemingly pointlessly “vernacular” nods turns out to be functional—the “oast house”-styled shafts on the curved glazed roofs are actually used to provide ventilation.

Otherwise, it was largely a “retail palace” full of fakery—and it’s therefore perhaps ironic that the original cinema, separately designed, was a stripped down affair, the original cinema block exteriors being covered with grey cladding—-no fake columns or roofs hiding services!

I should add that Bluewater’s setting is unique—entered by descending down into another world, a glitzy gulch that was once a chalk pit.

Onto the cinema. I actually can’t remember anything much about it other than the spacious but bland foyer!

LARGE_screen_format:

Added this to my list of cinemas to visit. I seem to recall watching one movie at this cinema in one of the small auditoria in the mid to late 90’s. Was shopping in Bluewater, hadn’t planned on watching a movie and had already seen the major new releases elsewhere. IIRC the seats seemed comfy (blue velour?) but that’s about all that I came away thinking at the time.

I vaguely recollect that the seats were indeed quite comfortable by the standards of the day, and maybe they were indeed upholstered in blue.

I don’t recall any major presentation gaffs (such as failing to switch to the anamorphic lens), I think all the auditoria I visited had moveable masking, but not sure if tabs were installed.

As I said above, though, even the THX certified auditoria were more or less run of the mill, e.g. in terms of sound quality.

Does anyone know the size of the IMAX screen (screen 4)? Seems a strange decision to have both an IMAX screen plus a XPlus screen (Showcase’s own large screen format) in the same cinema as they would be competing against one another.

Doing a quick search on the relevant local authority site, I can’t find any plans among various planning applications, and the licensing database doesn’t include them.

Looking at aerial images taken before the recent extension was built, I’d guess the IMAX screen is no more than 60ft. wide.

The proliferation of formats each with their own pros and cons is frustrating but it’s not unique in featuring both an “own brand” PLF screen as well as an IMAX—and Bluewater has a very high footfall of relatively affluent visitors presumably providing a steady supply of patrons willing to pay for premium tickets!

LARGE_screen_format
LARGE_screen_format on June 22, 2018 at 11:16 am

60 feet (18.29m) wide, if indeed that is the size of the IMAX screen at Showcase Cinema de Luxe, Bluewater, is the same width as Cineworld, Hemel Hempstead. It seats 281 versus ~450 so I expected a larger screen. Will certainly watch a movie there and possibly also one in XPlus although I may save doing the latter in Showcase Cinema de Luxe, Southampton instead.

Thanks again for sharing some interesting info, I must say I do very much enjoy reading your posts. ;o)

CF100
CF100 on June 22, 2018 at 4:05 pm

LARGE_screen_format: (Responding first to the additional material in your revised post.)

Presumably, the new screens are auditoria 13 to 17 and use Barco laser projection (which is used at Showcase Cinema de Luxe, Southampton)? Their website just lists Sony 4K projection.

See website banner for Laser Projection at Showcase Cinema de Lux Bluewater. :–)

On the bookings page those advertised with recliner seating are 14, 16, and 17, so with XPlus being Screen 15, I assume 14-17 are the new auditoria.

As for whether they’re using Barco laser projectors:

National Amusements to install Barco laser projectors in all Showcase XPlus houses.

Screen 14 is programmed with “I Feel Pretty” at 4:30pm on Monday 25th June (I just selected a random date/time when poking about.) I can’t see any “events” programmed? AFAIK it features all reclining seats, so the seat count may belie the auditorium’s size.

Regular ticket prices seem reasonable (cheap compared to the West End, London!).

And… no 3D “upcharge” for the XPlus. :–)

Don’t often head out towards Dartford but this cinema seems like it warrants a special trip!

Dartford Schmartford, it’s in Greenhithe—the only thing worth visiting in Dartford is the River Crossing! ;–)

It’s easy for me to get to, so I’ll definitely check out the XPlus this summer.


60 feet (18.29m) wide, if indeed that is the size of the IMAX screen at Showcase Cinema de Luxe, Bluewater, is the same width as Cineworld, Hemel Hempstead. It seats 281 versus ~450 so I expected a larger screen. Will certainly watch a movie there and possibly also one in XPlus although I may save doing the latter in Showcase Cinema de Luxe, Southampton instead.

The two largest “blocks” in a 2017 aerial image (which shows no differences to a 1999 aerial image of that part of Bluewater other than a large block to the East, that apparently houses an indoor trampoline (!) park; not sure what else is in there) that could house a single auditorium measure slightly larger than 60ft. by between ~85-95ft. externally.

With 15 rows at, say, 4ft. spacing, 60ft. depth would be required for the seating area alone!

Looking at the fire exits using Google Streetview, the ~60ft. x ~85ft. block seems to be the more plausible location to house the IMAX. These “back of an envelope” estimates then add up pretty well, allowing for the distance of the last row to the screen to be beyond, but not disasterously so, the “maximum” 1x screen width—by how much would depend on whether the front row distance to the screen is closer than the “minimum” 0.35x screen width, as well as, obviously, the actual row spacing.

Thanks again for sharing some interesting info, I must say I do very much enjoy reading your posts. ;o)

Thank you again, I’m glad you like them. :–) I enjoy making contributions here, even if I suspect that I’m talking to myself most of the time. ;–)

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