Vue West End

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

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Warner Theatre

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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 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 and 12th November 1970 as the Warner West End & Rendezvous Warner West End. 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 auditorium section of the sub-divided original Warner Theatre was closed on 12th September 1991 and was demolished, retaining the original 1937 facade.

Nine new auditoriums were built behind the original facade 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 Waner 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 thoughout 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 88 comments)

CF100 on August 30, 2017 at 9:59 am

I paid a visit to the Vue West End yesterday to see the re-released 3D/4K transfer/restoration/conversion of “Terminator 2.”

The new foyer and associated auditorium access areas are very attractive, being bright, welcoming and fresh, yet warmly lit, in an appropriate way for a cinema. I could nit-pick, but in a nutshell they have done a fabulous job.

Brass balustrades in the escalator stairwell landings, along with marble tiles, are, I believe, retained from the original 1993 fit-out. All windows to Leicester Court were blacked out, and I had assumed that the automatic door exit from the escalators were out of use, but looking at a photo I had taken, I had most likely been confused.

Unfortunately, the screening was not such a positive experience. Only one screening was listed as scheduled, in Screen 5, and I had booked a seat in the centre of a row. Alas, after obtaining my tickets from the vending machine, on presenting my tickets, I was informed that the screening was now in Screen 6, which I gather was due to Screen 5 being used for an event. I expressed my dissatisfaction to their disinterested ears.

Once in the auditorium, I discovered that my reallocated seat was off-centre, and the centre seats in that row were later occupied by other patrons. “Non-sync” music was played before the feature, and I may be mistaken, but it sounded something like a bizarre “muzak” version of generic movie soundtrack material. Tabs were left open with only a blank screen shown.

At the scheduled programme time, a member of staff entered the auditorium and curtly announced from the rear that we would have to wait 10 minutes for the film. This seems bizarre for a digital presentation, and I can only imagine that the DCP was frantically ingested at the last minute or similar!

The film started with a “pop”, no preceding material being played, and ended similarly abruptly, with the house lights remaining dimmed even after the end credits, and patrons had to find their way out of the auditorium using the “torch” function of their mobile phones; one of them quipped, “this cinema is terminated!”

Picture quality was very good, but on the dark side with 3D glasses on, and the black level (with glasses off) a little high. Geometry was also good, but with a bit of a curve towards the screen edges at the bottom.

Sound quality was good, although I assume playback was slightly less than reference level, and the LFE seemed restrained. Still, maximum levels were easily handled, with clear and clean high frequencies at all times, albeit coloured by a little peakiness.

The better auditoria in the 1993 multiplex were built to achieve excellent acoustics, with the advantage of not being four parallel walls as today’s auditoria tend towards, and this was apparent today with a highly controlled reverberation time and overall flat room contribution, and very good front stereo imaging.

However, it must be said that Screen 6 has too small a screen size, with seating too far away, certainly by today’s standards, and pales in comparison to the new “large format” digital screens in a certain cinema only a couple of hundred feet or so away—or for that matter the Odeon Leicester Square from the front stalls. It would be adequate for a smaller scale film, but is not for a monumental affair like T2.

The auditorium was very comfortable with good seats and excellent air conditioning, albeit all black in colour.

As for the film, to my mind, it goes without saying that T2 has a vastly more coherent and structured plot, better characterisation and more depth than today’s average “summer blockbuster”. The new transfer is outstanding with no visible grain, and almost perfect colour grading to the originally intended tints. It looks almost new, albeit not quite as detailed as current digitally acquired material. The 3D conversion is generally on the conservative side.

On leaving the Vue West End, I complained to a member of staff, who was very friendly and understanding, clearly enthusiastic about cinema in general, and they apologised profusely saying that Vue were “deeply humilated” by what had happened with the T2 screening.

Based on today’s visit, having spent £6.6m to modernise the Vue West End to create a very attractive and comfortable premium flagship location, with pricing to match, Vue really need to improve the overall customer experience and presentation to a consistent standard.

I will definitely return in the belief that next time will be better…

I have taken a number of photos, uploads to follow—alas only limited shots of the auditorium as it was too dark after the film finished!

CF100 on August 30, 2017 at 1:50 pm

A number of photos of the facade, foyer and lobby areas of the refurbished Vue West End now uploaded.

Robert L. Bradley
Robert L. Bradley on August 31, 2017 at 12:14 pm

Just got the program for this year’s BFI London Film Festival, and I was surprised to see that they are again using the larger auditoriums of the Vue, considering the greatly reduced seating capacity after the renovation.

CF100 on September 1, 2017 at 8:22 am

Looks like they will be also be using a temporary cinema in Embankment Gardens again.

PhilipWW on September 26, 2017 at 7:20 am

After its 1993 refurbishment 8 of the screens were full Scope screens with side masking. Just one (screen 2 I believe) had a 1.85 screen necessitating Scope movies being shown with top down masking; this was due to architectural constraints.

Is this still the situation after the 2017 refurbishment? Is the masking still there. With 80% plus of movies now made in Scope, the current vogue is for cinemas not to have side masking and for 1.85 ‘Flat’ movies to be shown pillarboxed on the Scope screens.

CF100 on September 26, 2017 at 10:00 am

When I went there last month, there was still masking in Screen 6. Tabs are still there as well, albeit left open. Was going to go to Screen 5 yesterday to check out the Atmos installation but couldn’t fit it in. :–(

CF100 on December 13, 2017 at 5:55 am

It appears that the step lighting, contrary to my description the linked photos page, is not an LED strip but uses an LED-lit side glow fibre optic rod.

CF100 on February 3, 2018 at 3:52 pm

In response to Zappomatic’s post on another page:

A few weeks ago I passed by the Vue West End, and noticed one of the new doors was out of operation! Photo has been uploaded.

I have revisited Vue’s planning applications for the updated frontages, and hidden away in 16/06275/FULL is the “EXISTING SIDE CANOPY” drawing, which states:


Some other information I stumbled across in the same application:

The “ELECTRICAL SCHEDULES” document has some vague details on the proposed LED strips:

–“Pro Strip” – 5W/m, 304 lumens/metre, 60 LEDs per metre, colour temperature 2700K (i.e. warm white.) –“Pro Strip RGBA” – 20W/m, 60 LEDs per metre. This one is interesting in that each SMD chip has red, green, blue and amber LEDs, “to achieve the desired RAL colour,” rather than the more typical RGBW types.

The “PROPOSED LARGE SIGNAGE” document reveals that the (IMO, horrid) Vue font is “Isonom Befop – Regular.”

It also details the proposed materials and fixings, as do the “PROPOSED FRONT CANOPY” and “PROPOSED SINAGE” documents.

Proposed materials include black lacquered steel and laser cut letters.

The canopy underside lights are specified as “1400mm warm white T5” fittings.

Zappomatic on February 24, 2018 at 8:39 am

Passed by here today and the large LED display is advertising Fifty Shades Freed for just £4.99 (still too much if you ask me!). Underneath in smaller text it says “At Vue Printworks and Vue Lowry” – oops! Actual price at this cinema is £17.49.

CF100 on February 24, 2018 at 9:42 pm

Oops! Maybe if they offered to pay out £1749 (that’s one thousand seven hundred and forty nine) I might consider seeing it. ;–)

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