Cineworld Cinema - Hemel Hempstead

Jarman Square,
Hemel Hempstead, HP2 4JW

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Cineworld Cinema - Hemel Hempstead

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The 8-screen Odeon opened on 25th August 1995 with 1,840 seats. It was designed by the firm S & P Architects. It was part of the Jarman Park Leisure World complex which included a bowling alley, a nightclub, ice rink, water splash park and restaurants. Seating capacities in the screens ranged from 433 down to 130. The Odeon was taken over by Empire Cinemas in October 2005.

Unfortunately, the complex became very rundown (it became known, rather disparagingly, by locals as ‘Wally World’). Plans to redevelop Jarman Park were put forward in December 2011. These eventually came to fruition in 2014-2015 when, in an £8.5m deal, Capitol and Regional sold the site to Tesco Pensions Trust. Three principle locations now comprise the newly name Jarman Square. A Tesco Extra superstore, an XC extreme sports centre and a separate complex encompassing a number of restaurants, Planet Ice and a new Empire multiplex.

Empire Cinemas acquired 35,000sqft of space to the rear of the existing cinema, and 9 new screens opened on the 9th October 2015. At that point the existing former Odeon screens were closed and demolished. These were replaced on the 26th October with 5 new screens. A few days later an IMAX auditorium opened, followed by and IMPACT BLUE screen.

Seating capacities are:Screen 1(IMAX):278 seats, Screen 2(IMACT BLUE):185, Screen 4:104, Screen 5:104, Screen 6:35, Screen 7:114, Screen 8:86, Screen 9:78, Screen 10:60, Screen 11:52, Screen 12:60, Screen 13:48, Screen 14:48, Screen 15:60, Screen 16:60 and Screen 17:78. There are additional wheelchair spaces in all auditoriums.

There are now 17 screens, but the IMPACT LUX auditorium (Screen 3) to be situated adjacent to the IMPACT BLUE (Screen 2) had not opened at the time of this writing in July 2016.

In July 2016 it was one of five Empire Cinemas purchased by the Cineworld chain. The other four were the Empire Leicester Square, London, Basildon, Poole and Bromley.

Contributed by Ken Roe, David Simpson

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

CF100
CF100 on May 30, 2015 at 6:20 pm

One of three Empire Cinemas locations, following on from the Empire Leicester Square, that will have an IMAX screen:

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/empire-cinemas-expands-imax-commitment-with-three-theatre-deal-in-england-300068241.html

Zappomatic
Zappomatic on September 3, 2016 at 6:06 pm

Now operated by Cineworld.

LARGE_screen_format
LARGE_screen_format on June 6, 2018 at 5:43 pm

Spoke to a manageress when visiting this cinema, whilst under Empire Cinemas ownership, to watch Captain America: Civil War (May 2016) regarding their IMPACT screens. Their website mentioned a new IMAX screen plus two IMPACT screens were being added as part of a major refurbishment. My movie was in Screen 2: IMPACT Blue. Enquired when the second IMPACT screen (I believe it was going to called IMPACT Red?) was due to open and would there be any difference to the existing one? Was told it would be identical and would hopefully be open in six months time.

There must have been a change of plans as Screen 3 was never converted into an IMPACT screen whilst an Empire cinema. It has 10 rows of 20 seats whereas screen 2 is 10 rows of 30 seats. Cineworld obviously later rebranded screen 2 to their own equivalent of IMPACT which is SUPERSCREEN.

CF100
CF100 on June 6, 2018 at 6:15 pm

LARGE_screen_format: Thomas Anderson (“Benefical owner” of Empire Cinemas) holds a couple of patents on auditorium geometry.

Cinema structure and a method for constructing a cinema structure.

IMAX Corp. also holds patents on “theatre geometry.”

Therefore, I’m not sure if Cineworld’s Superscreens “can” be the “same” as IMPACT auditoria, excepting the ones they’ve inherited from Empire Cinemas. Certainly most (or all?) “premium large format” auditoria I’ve looked at have the last row considerably further away from the screen in relation to the screen’s width.

Not sure exactly what “IMPACT Blue” means? My impression was that it related to luxury seating vs. the “regular” “IMPACT” screens.

Christie adds Vive Audio Excellence to Luxury Empire Cinemas Screen.

The above linked press release is about the Hemel Hempstead IMPACT screen (as it was then), it looks like Christie Vive line array speakers were installed, so your views on the sound quality achieved would be of interest?

Also, notice it says “The IMPACT screen uses Empire Cinema’s patented IMPACT design…”

LARGE_screen_format
LARGE_screen_format on June 6, 2018 at 7:39 pm

Whilst under Empire Cinemas ownership, both the IMAX plus IMPACT auditoriums at this Hemel Hempstead site weren’t numbered as were all of the others. Instead they had huge logos beside the relevant entrance doors. As there were originally plans to build two IMPACT screens, each would have had another monicker to differentiate them, Blue and Red. AFAIK that’s all that these two colours meant. There was never any IMPACT Luxe signage that I saw.

As for sound quality, I was deeply disappointed with the Dolby Atmos system in IMPACT Blue. Zero activity from the overheard speakers and yet I thought an action-packed blockbuster such as Civil War would have been demo material for such a system. Watched Central Intelligence on the IMPACT screen (balcony seats) at Empire, Leicester Square and found the same thing. Then earlier this year revisited the Hemel Hempstead cinema, this time after it was rebranded as a Cineworld SUPERSCREEN and watched The Commuter. Now either the sound mixers on each of these movies have chosen not to use the overhead channels or the volume level has been set far too low?

The best sound I’ve heard at this cinema by far was in IMAX when watching Kong: Skull Island. They look similar to photos of IMAX Kappa(?) speakers at Cineworld ‘Empire’ Leicester Square that were in one of the links you posted. The sweet spot seems to be around the centre of row G in order to fully appreciate the sound. I have watched around a dozen movies in this IMAX screen over the past couple of years and it wasn’t until I watched Kong and sat in row G that I experienced really good sound from the two massive corner mounted speakers. The back row in the centre section is slightly behind these speakers and as they are front firing you totally miss out on hearing most, if not all of the sound. And as for the two or three tiny rows in the two corners of the auditorium well they are positioned even worse. You can’t even see the speakers from there as the ceiling above you must be the floor of the projection booth above. Not a very good design imo hose seats should be heavily reduced in price or simply should not exist.

The old Empire Cinemas sign (as you entre Jarman Park from the roundabout) still hasn’t been replaced by a Cineworld one and the leather seating in the IMAX auditorium still have Empire Cinemas embroidered into the backs.

CF100
CF100 on June 7, 2018 at 6:28 pm

LARGE_screen_format:

As there were originally plans to build two IMPACT screens, each would have had another monicker to differentiate them, Blue and Red. AFAIK that’s all that these two colours meant. There was never any IMPACT Luxe signage that I saw.

Ah! That makes sense—it was IMPACT LUXE that, now that you mention it, I had been thinking of as far as luxury seating goes. (I hadn’t read the Cinema Treasures text.)

As for sound quality, I was deeply disappointed with the Dolby Atmos system in IMPACT Blue.

Thanks for your thoughts on the sound system in that auditorium. I wasn’t really thinking of Atmos in terms of rear/overhead use, so much as particularly an overall clean uncoloured sound, including the screen speakers as they use a number of ribbon tweeters rather than the usual horn-loaded mid/high frequency sections which are prone to colouration.

The rears also use this configuration:

Empire Cinemas Ipswich 3D Tour – Select “Floorplan” – They can be seen in any of the IMPACT auditoria photos but most clearly in the second IMPACT Luxe photo—line array of cone drivers with line array of ribbon tweeters in front.

I’d imagine a similar installation in the Hemel Hempstead Superscreen?

Now either the sound mixers on each of these movies have chosen not to use the overhead channels or the volume level has been set far too low?

Use of overheads does depend on the film and sometimes it does seem that the Atmos mix is an afterthought, plus it’s an aesthetic choice whether to place too much strong directional audio rather than ambience away from the screen.

They look similar to photos of IMAX Kappa(?) speakers at Cineworld ‘Empire’ Leicester Square that were in one of the links you posted.

Those are IMAX’s “Project Kanga” speakers; it’s very difficult these days to find any information on them—there are a few links still floating around the web but they lead to pages which no longer exist (and can’t be retrieved from web.archive.org either!)

They were intended for full size IMAX “GT” auditoria.

Most of the smaller IMAX Digital auditoria seem to use what looks like a scaled down version of them; not sure if they’re the IMAX “MPX” speakers that were IIRC originally designed around the same time for the “MPX” 15/70 system designed to fit into retrofitted venues.

Image of auditorium with smaller IMAX rear speakers.

The back row in the centre section is slightly behind these speakers and as they are front firing you totally miss out on hearing most, if not all of the sound.

Alas this situation is far from unique, and it’s perhaps surprising that it should those seats should be considered acceptable for IMAX presentations (or in THX certified auditoria for that matter.)

The old Empire 1 (the THX certified system from 2006) actually had two seats of rear speakers, one at booth level, the other on the rear wall underneath the ceiling below booth level, with the two sets time aligned.

Even then, sitting right at the back of the circle/stadia would have been a highly compromised location.

You can’t even see the speakers from there as the ceiling above you must be the floor of the projection booth above. Not a very good design imo hose seats should be heavily reduced in price or simply should not exist.

Although IMAX and others like to claim wide sweet spots, there are inevitably plenty of seats which are totally useless for anyone seeking the best presentation quality possible.

I always pre-book centre of row seats and never at the very back of the auditorium. However, many patrons just don’t know or apparently care. ;–) This can become particularly irritating if you happen to be attending a screening with such individuals as rolling eyes tends to be their response when it is indicated to them that the sound would be ruined in their choice of seats. :–(

A more serious problem is very odd shaped rear arrays, e.g. where some rear speakers are placed on the rear wall and others on top of an entrance/exit area protruding into the auditorium! In such conditions there’s no “sweet spot.”

the leather seating in the IMAX auditorium still have Empire Cinemas embroidered into the backs.

Good grief. They were changed from “EMPIRE CINEMAS” to “PEPSI MAX / IMAX” logos in the Empire Leicester Square IMAX not long after opening! Cineworld do seem to suffer from corporate interia at times.

How much of Empire Cinemas' interior finishes remain in the various auditoria?

LARGE_screen_format
LARGE_screen_format on June 7, 2018 at 9:48 pm

Thanks again for taking the time to share such a detailed reply.

It’s rare that I go into an auditorium at Cineworld, Hemel Hempstead whilst the lights are on prior to when the adverts and trailers begin but I will certainly have a look when there next. My friend who I visit in that area can’t stand trailers (I’ve always enjoyed watching them myself, after all, it is often based on the strength of a good trailer that I decide if I wish to watch a particular movie at the cinema or wait for the home release) and so often delays us arriving in plenty of time which is what I always do when going to cinemas with others or myself.

That link to the Empire cinema in Ipswich is awesome. Wish all cinemas offered something similar online as it reveals so much more information than what can be found on the majority of their websites. Let’s face it most seem to merely be a portal for online bookings and very little else!

With regards to the interior of the auditoriums at Cineworld, Hemel Hempstead, I can’t comment on all of them as 90%+ of my recent visits have always been to the IMAX screen. I’ve watched one movie in the old IMPACT Blue and one in Cineworld’s SUPERSCREEN and maybe 3-5 in the some of the smaller screens, generally when just catching movies towards the end of their release run. Ordinarily, I generally wouldn’t normally bother and instead, wait for the home release but if I was already planning to watch a newly released movie there and had time to fit in a double or triple-bill on the same day then I have gone ahead and done so. Often depends on the performance times whether or not this is a viable option.

Empire Cinemas that I have visited (High Wycombe and Hemel Hempstead) have had a black box style auditorium design in all of their regular auditoriums. Black walls with no Empire signage. Not sure of what changes Cineworld have made since taking over? I’ll try and ask a member of staff the next time I’m there but based on past experiences most of the cinema staff I approach say they are new and don’t know or probably aren’t interested in such details! The photos uploaded by members here showing the various corridors with pink-lit screen numbers are all from when Empire refurbished this site. The biggest change Cineworld implemented was the whole main foyer area as you enter the cinema. The main concession stand is now directly opposite the entrance as opposed to down the left-hand-side (Empire ownership). Black floor tiles with sparkly flecks like Cineworld ‘Empire’ Leicester Square and other sites plus lots of LED signage with video advertising.

I’ll see if I can manage to take a photo of the very large rear IMAX speakers so you can perhaps identify the exact type/model. They are the largest surround speakers I can recall seeing in any auditorium recently, perhaps ever. I’ve, thus far, only managed to visit a handful of IMAX cinemas: Pepsi IMAX, Trocadero Centre, Cineworld, Enfield, BFI IMAX, The Empire/Cineworld, Leicester Square, Cineworld, Hemel Hempstead and Odeon, Greenwich. I did walk into the IMAX screen at Cineworld, Stevenage after watching Justice League in 4DX there just to see the size of the auditorium. It is probably the smallest IMAX screen I’ve seen and certainly not one I’d pay to watch a movie on!

Looking forward to checking out the new IMAX screen at Cineworld, Watford in a few months. The only other two IMAX screens in the UK that I wouldn’t mind checking out at some point if ever in the areas would be Vue, Manchester Printworks (previously owned by Odeon) and Cineworld, Sheffield which is the only other current IMAX with Laser in the UK other than Cineworld ‘Empire’, Leicester Square.

Just stumbled across this article outlining the possibility of a new cinema/restaurant complex in Hemel Hempstead town centre:

http://www.hhs.herts.sch.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Article-on-New-Cinema.pdf

Couldn’t see any date mentioned or whether these possible plans have since been scrapped after Empire Cinemas spent £7m totally refurbishing what was old Odeon 9-screen cinema on the Leisure World (now renamed to Jarman Place) site?

I imagine you’ve already seen this article regarding Empire, Hemel Hempstead using Christie’s Vive Audio for their IMPACT installation back in 2015/2016:

https://www.christiedigital.com/emea/about-christie/news-room/press-releases/vive-audio-empire-cinemas-english

Spoke to Andre Mort a bunch of times in the past as he often spent time visiting the UCI Wycombe 6 (now an 8-screen Empire cinema) site which was my local cinema for many years.

CF100
CF100 on June 9, 2018 at 6:09 pm

Thanks again for taking the time to share such a detailed reply.

You’re welcome, thanks also for your long reply. :–)

My friend who I visit in that area can’t stand trailers (I’ve always enjoyed watching them myself, after all, it is often based on the strength of a good trailer that I decide if I wish to watch a particular movie at the cinema or wait for the home release)

I do find it odd that someone would flat out refuse to sit through trailers? In my view there should be a whole sequence of “pre-show” elements extending from the entrance (or even before the entrance), through the foyer… and the trailers would certainly form part of that sequence. At least they’re all on YouTube in good quality these days…

That link to the Empire cinema in Ipswich is awesome. Wish all cinemas offered something similar online as it reveals so much more information than what can be found on the majority of their websites. Let’s face it most seem to merely be a portal for online bookings and very little else!

It’s great, I particularly like the “Dollhouse” mode where you can see the whole complex in 3D.

Empire Cinemas have generally been better than others at posting auditoria details on their site but they’re still very patchy. Their site used to have an excellent 360deg photo of Empire 1; I found the file from the page source and downloaded the software needed to view it. :–)

I’ll see if I can manage to take a photo of the very large rear IMAX speakers so you can perhaps identify the exact type/model. They are the largest surround speakers I can recall seeing in any auditorium recently, perhaps ever

Thanks, that would be great. :–)

I did walk into the IMAX screen at Cineworld, Stevenage after watching Justice League in 4DX there just to see the size of the auditorium. It is probably the smallest IMAX screen I’ve seen and certainly not one I’d pay to watch a movie on!

Not sure how big the Stevenage IMAX is? It does get into the difficult question of what makes an IMAX an IMAX. Obviously absolute screen size is part of it but it’s also about the geometry of the auditorium and in particular relative distance to screen width and height from seats.

IMAX and OMNIMAX Theatre Design – March 1983 SMPTE Journal.

Looking forward to checking out the new IMAX screen at Cineworld, Watford in a few months. The only other two IMAX screens in the UK that I wouldn’t mind checking out at some point if ever in the areas would be Vue, Manchester Printworks (previously owned by Odeon) and Cineworld, Sheffield which is the only other current IMAX with Laser in the UK other than Cineworld ‘Empire’, Leicester Square.

Of the IMAX formats the only one you’re missing is OMNIMAX—I went to one in the US a couple of times.

According to an article in the Hollywood Reporter, the new IMAX with Laser system—aimed at smaller auditoria—costs $600,000-700,000.

Just stumbled across this article outlining the possibility of a new cinema/restaurant complex in Hemel Hempstead town centre:

http://www.hhs.herts.sch.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Article-on-New-Cinema.pdf

Couldn’t see any date mentioned or whether these possible plans have since been scrapped after Empire Cinemas spent £7m totally refurbishing what was old Odeon 9-screen cinema on the Leisure World (now renamed to Jarman Place) site?

Hmm, where was the £7m figure from?

Planning Application Received August 2017 (Granted.)

Having estimated a 90ft.+ wide screen for the Auditorium 1, with an almost 9000sq.ft. auditorium, I checked satellite imagery of the existing site, and based on this the scale on the floorplan I’m looking at (Proposed Second Floor—the third link marked “Proposed Floor Plan” in the planning application documents page) is out by a factor of 2!

With this corrected scale, the proposed Auditorium 1 I’d estimate to be a slightly more than 14m deep by 14m wide, giving a possible screen width of 45ft or so in a 2000sq.ft. auditorium. I counted about 140 seats, with larger seats in the last two rows.

Given that it doesn’t seem to have anything much in the way of a unique offer in an already well-served catchment area, it’s hard to see this scheme as viable at this stage?

Spoke to Andre Mort a bunch of times in the past as he often spent time visiting the UCI Wycombe 6 (now an 8-screen Empire cinema) site which was my local cinema for many years.

I seem to recall reading somewhere that Empire Cinemas had some technical facilities there for testing/configuring new gear, etc. Would you be kind enough to share anything interesting he said to you? :–)

LARGE_screen_format
LARGE_screen_format on June 10, 2018 at 9:32 am

Saw the £7m refurbishment cost of Empire Cinemas, Hemel Hempstead in this article:

https://www.hemeltoday.co.uk/news/phase-one-of-7million-cinema-revamp-set-to-be-unveiled-1-6909849

Cineworld, Stevenage IMAX is 11 rows by 31 seats. Not sure of the screen or auditorium dimensions but it did not look particularly big when I popped in (no movie or trailers were playing at the time) and had a quick look.

CF100
CF100 on June 11, 2018 at 7:47 am

LARGE_screen_format: Thanks for the link!

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