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Empire Cinema Ipswich

Buttermarket and St Stephen's Lane,
Ipswich, IP1 1DT

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Advert from when cinema opened

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Empire Cinema, Ipswich, opened on Friday 31st March 2017, in the recently renovated Butter Market Shopping Centre. The cinema features 14 screens. The largest screens (Impact: Luxu and Impact: Blue) both feature Dolby Atmos Sound. There are also 2 D-BOX screens (screens 13 and 14). The seating ranges from 293 to 44 seats. Most screens seat around 50 people.

The cinema is only the second cinema in the UK to have all screens equipped with laser projectors. All the screens have luxury seating as standard, but there are also 2 seater sofas (for a small additional charge) and reclining chairs in the 2 largest screens.

Contributed by Paul Arch

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

MovieGeek2013 on April 16, 2017 at 11:48 am

Visited this cinema last week. Some parts of the cinema are still being built. The entrance to the cinema is rather understated, a simple Empire Cinemas logo above the entrance and that is it. Considering the space the cinema has been build in (an old department store) they have made a lot of the space. I visited the largest screen (Impact Luxe). The screen was large, though you walk in right next to the screen and late arrivals can cause shadows on the screen. The luxury seating is very nice and the Dolby Atmos sound was good. The laser projection was bright and gave a good image. The screen did feel though a little sterile and lacked the charm of older multiplexes and older traditional cinemas.

PhilipWW on April 5, 2018 at 3:29 am

Impressive Scope screen in the main auditorium

MovieGeek2013 on April 7, 2018 at 3:42 pm

Sadly all of the other screens are tiny in comparison to this one and most are not scope screens.

LARGE_screen_format on June 11, 2018 at 2:43 pm

Was just on the Barco website trying to find out if there are any Auro 11.1 equipped auditoriums in the UK and it listed six, one of which was Empire Cinema, Ipswich. Although the auditorium information page only mentions Barco Laser Projectors and nothing about Auro 11.1 surround sound.

Ireland has a number of cinemas equipped with Auro 11.1, does anyone know if any exist in the UK?

CF100 on June 11, 2018 at 3:35 pm

LARGE_screen_format: From memory…

I’m not aware of any Auro 11.1 auditoria in the UK, although I can’t say I’ve gone to any particular effort to find them, and Barco now offer AuroMax which, like Dolby Atmos, is object-based.

As you may know, Irish chain Omniplex Cinemas are, like Empire Cinemas, an Anderson-family owned business. Omniplex Maxx, which is the subject of your second link, is their “premium large format” brand which might be considered to be a sibling of Empire’s IMPACT screens, albeit superficially different to reflect their own house style, but it’s easy to spot the similarities, including seating.

IIRC those Omniplex MAXX auditoria that had Auro 11.1 installations have been or will be upgraded to Dolby Atmos, and more recent MAXX screens are having Atmos systems installed.

Incidentally: Timelapse video of a MAXX auditorium build at Omniplex Banbridge.

(Can’t seem to find the Cinema Treasures page for that cinema to post the link on?)

LARGE_screen_format on June 11, 2018 at 3:50 pm

Thanks @CF100 for that info.

Why are cinemas in the UK lagging behind with new technology available elsewhere in Europe and the U.S.? Dolby Vision and Auro 11.1 being just two examples.

CF100 on June 12, 2018 at 4:35 am


As I alluded to in my previous post, I don’t think a lack of Auro 11.1 locations is overly concerning as it’s superseded and Atmos rollout is ongoing.

From my point of view, there are 3 Atmos locations within 20 minutes' drive of where I reside, plus getting to the West End is also trivial, even if in recent years finding the time (to go to any cinema) hasn’t been!

Regarding Dolby Vision, I’d guess there are political factors, pre-existing contracts, and so on to consider.

For example, Vue uses Sony projectors in all auditoria, save for IMAX, and it’s only fairly recently that they’ve commissioned IMAX screens themselves, the first being at Cheshire Oaks (2015.)

Dolby Vision might gain more traction in the UK now that Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group has been acquired by AMC; I think it might have a UK launch at the remodelled Odeon Leicester Square.

Alas, I’m sorry to say that I can’t provide a more definitive answer than the above, but clearly operators are investing in UK sites.

P.S. You might like to read a feature on LED direct view cinema screens in Cinema Technology Today.

LARGE_screen_format on August 5, 2018 at 4:09 am

Unless I’m mistaken IMPACT Luxe at Empire, Ipswich is the largest IMPACT screen within the Empire Cinemas chain at 19.5m x 8.2m (that’s even larger than the old screen 1 at Empire, LSQ which was 18.2m x 7.68m). This coupled with Barco laser projectors and Dolby Atmos sound puts in the flagship cinema category imo.

IMPACT Blue is quite a bit smaller at 12.4m x 6.7m

MovieGeek2013 on August 6, 2018 at 2:06 pm

The impact Luxe is their flagship screen, but although it is atmos equipped the sound is a little tiny as the screen is very much a black box in a building that was originally a clothes store and not designed to house cinema screens. The speakers also seem to not be a high end brand. The projectors are very low and as a result a lot of shadows appear on screen from people moving about.

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