93-107 Shaftesbury Avenue,
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This cinema in Shaftesbury Avenue opened in February 1959 as the Columbia Cinema, leased to Columbia Pictures as an outlet for that studio’s films. It was sunk into the basement of a large office block and had 734 seats, a huge screen, and (strangely) supporting pillars – although these were down the sides of the single tier auditorium and did not interfere with sightlines. At ground level there is a very generous sized foyer.
Classic Cinemas chain took over the lease in 1982 but failed to make a go of the newly renamed Classic Cinema and it became the Premiere Cinema with an art-house policy. This was also short lived and eventually it was operated by Curzon who again renamed it Curzon Shaftesbury Avenue and made a big success of the cinema.
Eventually in 1998 it was deemed too large and sub-division into a three screen complex took place. This was expensively done, to the plans of architectural firm Panter Hudspith Architects and the resulting cinemas – screen 1 with 250 seats, screen 2 with 130 seats and screen 3 with 110 seats – remain popular and continue to present a wide choice of Independent films.
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