Vue West End

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

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Warner Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

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’s built the new 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 1,789 seat cinema was equipped with a 3Manual Compton 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 in 1970 and by 1981 there were 5-screens inside the building and it was known was the Warner West End. The auditorium section of the original Warner Theatre was demolished in the mid-1990’s.

Nine new auditoriums were built behind the original facade. In 2010 the seating capacities in the screens are: 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.

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 60 comments)

CF100 on January 26, 2016 at 3:21 pm

Do the curtains still work?

HowardBHaas on January 26, 2016 at 4:10 pm

From Philly, I can answer that when I visited in 2012 & 2013, curtains not used, and the later time, even matting wasn’t used!

Robert L. Bradley
Robert L. Bradley on January 26, 2016 at 6:07 pm

When I attended the BFI London Film Festival in 2014, the curtains were used, but not at the 2015 festival.

CF100 on January 27, 2016 at 12:56 pm

They were in use during my last visit (Screen 7, 2010) and the overall standard of presentation was good. However, the seats were in desperate need of an overhaul.

It seems the presentation standard is now failing to meet the standards one would expect of a (previously) flagship West End venue, with prices to match. I will not return until I hear anything to the contrary.

ericcartman on April 23, 2016 at 4:48 am

I saw the first Batman here, in 1989, when I was 12 years old, and saw films here many times in the early 90’s. It was the most beautiful cinema in London when it was Warner’s. It is so sad to see what it has become- the lobby is a shabby, neglected disgrace.

SethLewis on April 23, 2016 at 5:44 am

This is now a complete tip…The local Vues at Westfield (White City) and Shepherds Bush are better maintained. Westfield even hosts premieres. While the Empire was being refurbished in the early 90s this was a first choice – there was a lot of good WB and Disney product also coming through the pipeline

A real shame

CF100 on August 3, 2016 at 11:22 am

I have to wonder why VUE no longer consider their West End location to be a ‘flagship’ venue.

It was certainly built as such, and (in the mid-90s) very well equipped with JBL speakers, 2 THX-certified screens (a rarity in the UK, perhaps for ‘political’ reasons), 70mm, early support for 35mm digital formats, etc. Max. auditorium size is only 400 seats (40ft. wide screen) but presentation was excellent.

A difficulty is that a conversion of the current building to modern so-called ‘large format’ (i.e. supersized) screens is, I suspect, all but impossible. The 1990s rebuild (facade only retained) is already tightly packed.

Still, I can’t imagine business is so bad that it can’t be maintained to a normal standard…?!

SethLewis, when I went to the Shepherd’s Bush VUE a couple of years ago, the auditorium I was in had sagging wall fabric and the seats too were in a terrible state!

zappomatic on September 5, 2016 at 7:22 am

Vue have applied for planning permission to replace the front canopy and entrance doors, with new neon strips and uplighters. Looks like they’re ditching the now mostly unused box office windows, and installing one massive digital display (will upload photo shortly). The rendering looks much less cluttered than its current incarnation.

CF100 on September 23, 2016 at 3:38 pm

About time…!

The planning application is 16/06275/FULL.

Unfortunately, it appears that the only proposed neon lights are a refurbishment of the existing strips at the top of the facade.

The front canopy will be reduced in size, lighting to “enhance the external appearance of the building,” and the “design of the external doors [is] inspired by the art deco design of the building.”

There will be one main vertical VUE sign, on existing black covered vertical board (formerly the “Warner”/“Village” sign), angled on both sides to be visible from either approach.

Also amongst the application documents are a couple of photos from the “Warner Village” period.

Can’t say I like the “copper” colour scheme shown in the renderings but they are hardly “photorealistic” and it can hardly be worse than what’s already there.

Robert L. Bradley
Robert L. Bradley on October 24, 2016 at 6:28 pm

I visited the Vue West End again for the 2016 BFI London Film Festival, and the curtains and stage lights were used in Cinemas 5 and 7. It looked very nice. Then I saw a non-festival film in one of the basement cinemas, and curtains and stage lights were not used. I could see that they have the type of curtain that rises because I could see it above the screen. What I don’t understand is, if they have them, why don’t they use them? It makes for a much nicer presentation.

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