Vue West End

3 Cranbourne Street,
Leicester Square,
London, WC2H 7AL

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Related Websites

Vue Cinemas UK (Official)

Additional Info

Operated by: Vue

Previously operated by: Village Cinemas, Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corp.

Architects: Thomas R. Somerford, Edward Albert Stone

Firms: UNICK Architects

Functions: Movies (First Run)

Styles: Art Deco

Previous Names: Warner Theatre, Warner West End & Warner Rendezvous, Warner West End, Village West End

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 440871.224.0240

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News About This Theater

The Warner West End in July 1991

Originally on this site was a playhouse theatre, Daly’s Theatre, which was opened on 27th June 1893 and designed by architect Spencer Chadwick. It was closed on 25th September 1937, and was purchased by Warner Bros. to be demolished. Warner Bros. built the new 1,789-seat Warner Theatre on the site which opened on 12th October 1938 with Errol Flynn in “The Adventures of Robin Hood”.

The architects of the Warner Theatre were E.A. Stone and T.R. Somerford. The frontage was faced with reconstructed marble with a large relief panel by sculptor Bainbridge Copnall in each corner depicting spirits of sight and sound. There is a large central tower feature in a concave recess bearing the ‘Warner’ name. The Warner Theatre was equipped with a Compton 3Manual Paramount Mark 2 model organ. Many premiere’s were held at the Warner Theatre, including on 28th April 1967 the World Premiere of “Privilege”, a Gala Premiere on “You’re a Big Boy Now” on 25th May 1967, a Gala Premiere of “Triple Cross” on 22nd June 1967 and on 16th November 1967 a Royal European Charity Premiere of “Camelot” starring Richard Harris, which was attended by HRH the Princes Margaret.

The original Warner Theatre was twinned reopening on 29th October 1970 as the Warner West End in an extension of the former circle seating area with a Gala Premiere of Kirk Douglas in “There Was a Crooked Man” and on 12th November 1970 as the Warner Rendezvous in the former stalls seating area opened with Peter Cook in “The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer”. The Warner West End upstairs had 890 seats and the Rendezvous downstairs had 680 seats. In September 1974 the former bar was opened as Warner West End 3, with the other two screens being renamed Warner West End 1 & 2. Screen 2 was twinned in November 1975 and reopened as Warner West End 3 & 4 seating 270 and 454 Screens 1 & 3 were then re-named 2 & 1. In October 1981 the 180-seat Warner West End 5 opened in previously unused space. The Royal Film Premiere of “Never Say Never Again” was held on 14th December 1983. The auditorium section of the sub-divided original Warner Theatre was closed on 12th September 1991 and was demolished, retaining only the original 1937 façade.

Nine new auditoriums were built behind the original façade to the plans of architectural firm HGP Greentree Allchurch Evans, and they created a total seating capacity for 2,482 when it re-opened on 23rd September 1993 with a Royal Charity Premiere of “The Fugitive” attended by Princess Diana and film stars Harrison Ford, Clint Eastwood, Roger Moore, and singers Sting and Phil Collins attending in person. On 6th December 1996 it was re-named Warner Village and in March 2004 it was taken over by Vue. In 2010 the seating capacities totalled 2,412: Screen 1: 177, Screen 2: 126, Screen 3: 300, Screen 4: 298, Screen 5: 414, Screen 6: 264, Screen 7: 410, Screen 8: 180 and Screen 9: 303.

The Vue West End closed for a refurbishment on 9th March 2017 to the plans of UNICK Architects, which includes the installation of 1,385 VIP and luxurious recliner seats throughout all the screens, and Dolby Atmos sound in some auditoriums. It re-opened 11th July 2017.

It has an excellent location on Cranborne Street on the corner of Leicester Square and occasional premieres are held here.

Contributed by Ian Grundy

Recent comments (view all 134 comments)

CP200
CP200 on August 21, 2020 at 11:39 pm

Does this cinema even have THX anymore?… Oh just read lost its THX oh well no point ever going to this place if it doesn’t have serious THX sound system.

Lionel
Lionel on September 10, 2020 at 12:26 pm

@vindanpar : I just uploaded a picture which should answer your question. Transformation for 70mm in 1964, but still as a single-screen theatre.

Ambak
Ambak on April 20, 2021 at 11:11 am

The subdivision of the Warner in the seventies is the subject of some confusion, due to certain published works getting it wrong. When the new cinema was built in the former bar area it was decided that the auditoria would have numbers rather than the names in use since twinning in 1970. The upstairs Warner West End became the Warner West End 2, the smaller downstairs Warner Rendezvous became the Warner West End 1 and the new small cinema became the Warner west End 3. While it might have seemed logical that the largest auditorium would be the number 1 screen, this was not the case, as perusal of advertising shows, all the big new films went into Warner West End 2, which retained this number until closure (note that the whole complex was now referred to as “Warner West End”). The Warner West End 1 was closed on August 14th 1975 and in the space of two weeks (!), a subdividing wall was installed to divide the auditorium into front and back sections. The back section reopened (still as Warner 1) on September 4th 1975 using the original projection box with a new screen in front of the dividing wall. Work on the new fourth auditorium then went on until this opened on November 6th 1975, at which point it became Warner West End 3, with the previous cinema in the old bar area renamed Warner West End 1 and the former number 1 becoming Warner West End 4. These were subsequently joined by the number 5 screen which was in a basement area with mirror projection. Why the Warner decided not to number the auditoria in size order is a mystery, but they didn’t and the order was 2, 4, 3, 5, 1.

CF100
CF100 on September 19, 2021 at 6:14 pm

CP200: THX certification is long gone. The sound systems in Screens 5 and 7 were replaced in the 2017 refurbishment. They are still premium installations, full Atmos systems with Dolby SLS speakers. Projection is dual Sony SRX-R515’s (Xenon lamp light source since Vue have been slow with laser.)

As an aside, I’m surprised to see that ALL digital cinema projectors on Sony’s website are labelled as “Discontinued,” so I assume they have pulled out of the digital cinema market. (Not up to speed on cinema technology news at the moment.)

CF100
CF100 on September 19, 2021 at 11:10 pm

rivest266: Thank you for posting the Evening Standard article from 1970; fascinating reading even though I never knew the cinema in that form. It is possible to get a higher resolution copy from that site (link can be found by getting the URL of the image source)–although it only allows for one free page before requesting sign up.

I have summarised the information within thusly:


Architect: Lesile C. Norton, AIAA.

Designer: Felix Holton, FSIA.

Décor: Alan Best.

Equipment, seating and carpeting: Pathé Equipment.

Project duration: ~8 months.

Upper cinema: West End

  • Old circle, new floor added.

  • Capacity: 890 in “specially designed tip-back seats.”

  • 70mm capable.

  • Colour scheme: Two-tone orange in auditorium and upper lounge bar.

  • Carpet: 190sq.yds. of two-tone carpet with WB motif, covering upper lounge-bar also.

  • Clusters of 400 glass fibre drums, “pools of reflected light” diffused over auditorium.

  • No tabs, instead “20ft. decorative openwork mental panel which slides in half automatically to reveal the screen.”

  • Upper lounge bar: “the surround area is picked out in orange fabric with stainless steel trim.”

Lower cinema: The Rendezvous

  • Capacity: 686, “tip-back seats.”

  • 70mm capable.

  • Colour scheme: Green and blue.

  • Carpet: 1300 sq. yds. of green-blue carpet, geometric design, covering lower foyer bar also.(Doesn’t quite make sense given the above 190sq.yds., unless this covered substantially more lobby space?!)

  • Seats: Woven fabric, green-blue mixture.

  • “Clusters of overhead lights from the predominant dark ceiling light the auditorium, and these are backed up with ceiling spots which pick out reflected strips of glass-fibre set into the green-pleated fabric walls.”

  • No tabs; “the screen merges into white wing walls on either side to give a total white effect from wall to wall. The wings are darkened to provide masking for the cinema screen.” (Whatever that means?)

  • Lower foyer bar: “Centre section of the surround walls is picked out in herculite plaster panels. Deep bands of stainless steel support the panels which, when lit, give a floating effect. The ceiling has an inset circular well with random lighting.”

Interestingly, the “behind the scenes” section of the article mentions that foundations of the former Daly’s Theatre that was on the site before the cinema were found during the works. I assume this means that some excavation took place?

It also mentions that the “original rich velvet drapes” from Daly’s Theatre were found hanging behind the screen for acoustic absorption!

(The article continues on another page, but I am unable to access this.)


As an aside, it really is rather depressing to compare the quality of writing and attention to detail, even if probably culled from the press release etc., with today’s media.

CF100
CF100 on September 20, 2021 at 11:51 pm

[Corrections to previous post: 1) The images link directly to the clippings on Newspapers.com, which allows those pages to be viewed without a subscription. 2) The article is in fact an advertorial, albeit the previous comment on the decline in standards of copy still applies.]

Thank you for posting those pages, rivest266.

It turns out that the “twinning” involved extensive reconstruction works. A measure of this is that the screens were “set at either ends”–the architects are quoted as saying:

“We did it to make best possible use of the existing shell, as well as providing for maximum structural strength.”

Other facts:

  • 2,500 tons of clay were moved.

  • 70 tons of new steelwork, including 4x4ft. deep beams of 60ft. length supporting the upper auditorium.

  • Upper auditorium volume: 330,000cu.ft.

  • Lower auditorium volume: 150,000cu.ft.

From the “both are heated to 70°F” statement, it does not sound like full air conditioning was installed.

The designer, Felix Horton, is described being “one of the most avant-garde designers in Europe;” the article mentions some of his other work, including luxury aircraft and cruise ship interiors, as well as a palace in Kuwait.

CF100
CF100 on September 21, 2021 at 12:04 am

Ambak: Interesting information! It is odd that the 1970’s conversion was clearly expensive, whilst you state that the lower auditorium was subdivided in “two weeks” by building a wall. I suppose this is a measure of just how rapidly cinema attendance patterns were changing, and an emergent unwillingness to properly invest in exhibition, but why there was not more foresight I find somewhat puzzling.

What, if any, decorative changes did this subdivision involve–or was all simply left “as is” the maximum possible extent? Were 70mm projection facilities still available? (Presumably, if so, in the rear auditorium only?)

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