Opera Cinema

place de la Republique Francaise,
Liege 4000

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The Opera Cinema located in the Opera shopping mall in Liege was a 6-screen multiplex opened in 1981 by the Groep Claeys (later renamed Kinepolis Group). The theaters were miserable, screens having no screen masking or curtains and mono sound only except in the largest one. All theaters had an automation system which never worked correctly, resulting in constant failed projections which finally reached the ears of distributors and the press.

The largest theater had 500 seats, a very big screen and stadium seating and, at that time, offered the best sight in town. But it suffered from having a huge window in lieu of the left wall, with a view on the street. At projection startup, a thick velvet curtain would close the view from the rear of the auditorium to the screen, and succesfully isolated the theater from the outside light, but not completely from the noise (ambulances and similar stuff could be heard during quiet moments of some films).

In 1989 the largest theater was equipped for 70mm but only one film was shown there in 70mm as first-run regular engagement “Dick Tracy”. Although “Dick Tracy” is the first film with digital sound (the now defunct Cinema Digital Sound), the print exhibited at the Opera had conventional magnetic Dolby Stereo. The rest of the time, 70mm shows consisted of move-overs from the Palace Cinema which the Groep Claeys had taken over in 1983.

The Opera Cinema was closed in 2003. It was replaced with nothing. The empty space just remains part of the Opera shopping mall.

Contributed by Lionel Fouillen
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