Cannon Film Centre Belfast
1-11 Fisherwick Place,
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Built and operated by the Union Cinemas chain, the Ritz Cinema opened at Fisherwick Place in Belfast on 9th November 1936 with Gracie Fields attending the opening in person to launch the cinema with her film “Queen of Hearts”. It was a massive building in elegant Art Deco style seating 2,219.
The Ritz Cinema was early on given the nickname of “Ireland’s Wonder Cinema”. Besides a Compton 4Manual/10Rank (with Melotone attached) theatre organ and a cafe on the first floor, the Ritz Cinema featured live entertainment in addition to films, including a performance by The Beatles in 1963. It also had a restaurant which extended the width of the cinema behind the circle and this was also equipped with a maple floor, suitable for dancing.
Associated British Cinemas(ABC) circuit bought out Union Cinemas in 1938, and the cinema became known as the ABC from 1963. It was closed on 22nd September 1977 after an arson attack by fire bombs completely gutted the auditorium and the roof.
After standing as a wreck for several years, it reopened as ABC Film Centre on 19th June 1980, sub-divided into a four-screener seating;551,444,281 and 215. Taken over by the Cannon Group in 1986 it was re-named Cannon Film Centre. The Cannon Film Centre closed on 1st July 1993. It was demolished in 1994, replaced by a hotel.
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