Odeon Leicester Square

26 Leicester Square,
London, WC2H 7LQ

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Paul Stephenson
Paul Stephenson on November 23, 2014 at 11:19 am

Interesting Telegraph article about the 70mm presentation of Interstellar – their first 70mm since Armageddon in 1998

Interstellar: the secrets of the projection room

OdeonNotFanatical on November 21, 2014 at 2:40 am

This crummy cinema chain wants and extra £1.00 pound. They don’t have great sight-lines or decent sound no THX at this cinema. No I’m not fanatical at paying there rip off ticket prices and they have rats and mice issues at this place.

CF100 on October 28, 2014 at 12:01 am

d8rren—Thanks for the reply. Can’t say I’d noticed that the screen was smaller but I do sit towards the front and 3D films are impressive.

On my last visit to Empire LS (a Wednesday evening) the foyer was quite busy. I’d imagine they get a reasonable number of customers in for their mini-screens. (Anyone seeing the ‘IMAX’ sign would be in for a shock, although I gather that those mini-screens are actually pretty good.)

London has now many modern local cinemas with large screens, but still, the BFI IMAX does well so some people are willing to make the trip and pay extra for something special.

Can’t work out the point of the 70mm ‘Interstellar’ screenings at the OLS when there are two other venues in London with 15/70 prints, but I suppose it’s not something to complain about!

d8rren on October 27, 2014 at 11:04 am

@ CF100 when showing a 3D film the curtains are not in use the screen seems to be about 1m smaller in the width

Empire LS is doing ok wouldn’t say its taking much more than it was before as always it will suffer from not having 1st pick of available titles

Interstellar opens 1 day early on the 6/11/14 & is showing in 70mm format in OLS & seems to be selling well

the days of sell out OLS and Empire are over most movie goers want to see their film as cheap as possible thats why every local cinema has some sold out showing on Orange Wednesdays & Empire & OLS will be luck to be a 3rd full if i want to see a film on a wednesday i go to the west end I’ve been in OLS when they have picked a dud with less than 20 people in there

CF100 on October 27, 2014 at 3:24 am

Maybe the rumours are quite unfounded…

D8rren, any idea how the Empire LS is doing? How big is the smaller screen used for 3D screenings in the OLS?

d8rren on October 27, 2014 at 2:04 am

OLS turnover is over 5 million pounds every year which a large amour comes from film premiers in which case too much alteration could result in losing its Europe premier status

in the modern world it could do with a 25% bigger screen which could be possibly achieved by removing the last 10 rows of seats in the stalls but at a cost of over 350 seats which could either be a new bar area or 2 small screens

but everything to do with the screen is designed to be removed for the stage a smaller is installed for 3D movies

seats and legroom are a bit tight and could do with spacing out a bit more but i don’t think the seats are even 10 years old and are very expensive ones at that

if you need a massive screen imax and the sky super screen are available

OLS gives you the super cinema experience thats its selling point

d8rren on October 27, 2014 at 12:58 am

Odeon do not own OLS it was sold a couple of years ago with Swiss Cottage after its refit both are on 20 odd year leases

CF100 on October 21, 2014 at 11:31 pm

Planning permission, of course, is valid for some time so nothing may happen for a while, and this is assuming that the roof replacement means concurrent changes to the auditorium. Presumably it would make sense for the OWE replacement to (finally) go ahead first…

It may be extraordinary that Leicester Square does still has any “original” cinema buildings left—from what I gather from looking through archived material, the Empire was sold to Mecca with the original scheme being to knock it down and build an office block/dance hall. Only later articles refer to the reconstruction scheme into the famous 1330 seat cinema (and dance hall underneath.)

There was also a scheme to redevelop the block of buildings next to the Odeon Leicester Square (1983) into various uses cinemas… perhaps someone has more details on this and what the effect would have been on the OLS?

Summary of the 1983 proposals: http://idoxpa.westminster.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=ZZZZW3RPXC669

goodshow on October 21, 2014 at 7:04 pm

The Odeon, Leicester square is the high water mark of cinema history in England. Imagine Buckingham Palace being turned into flats? Should not be tampered with, and thats final.

davepring on October 20, 2014 at 11:39 am

It would be a great shame if the last great cinema in Leicester Square was to be twinned.I just hope they follow James Hannaways example at the old Odeon in St Albans and turn this landmark cinema into something unique by reconfiguring the stalls into table seating with a bar at the rear under the circle overhang. I have rarely been impressed with Odeon conversions and bearing in mind that a new Odeon twin screen is to be built on the site of the Odeon West End I fail to see the commercial benefit of it .

CF100 on October 19, 2014 at 1:22 am

The planning application for the replacement roof has been approved.

CF100 on October 3, 2014 at 12:11 am

If Odeon are going to “reconfigure” then perhaps this is a possible conversion: Move the screen to a position just ahead of the circle, remove the first few rows of the circle and create a new flat ceiling section in the screen area. This would then allow a screen size of say 70ft. x 30ft. The existing circle would thus be extended slightly forward, but this could be built as a “mezzanine”-type floor on columns if necessary.

Most of the stalls seating area would be “eliminated” (or some very small screens could be jammed in under the circle!) with the stage and void to the back wall used to form a second main screen.

FanaticalAboutOdeon on September 26, 2014 at 12:21 am

The roof replacement will, presumably, involve a period of closure for at least part of the work so, if that is the case, any reconfiguration of the auditorium might be timed to coincide. Full marks to Odeon for continuing to invest in the West End’s last remaining, currently intact super cinema. No plans whatever for any degree of demolition btw!

CF100 on September 25, 2014 at 5:01 pm

Odeon have applied for planning approval of a new pitched roof to replace the existing asbestos one. That being the case, presumably the auditorium block isn’t due to be demolished any time soon!


CF100 on June 10, 2014 at 3:54 pm

Rumour posted on a forum which states that the OLS is likely to be converted into two screens.

davepring on May 20, 2014 at 1:28 pm

The Vue screens are an utter mess and after nearly 20 years are in a desperate need of refurbishment.The exterior of the building also needs some TLC. I hope someone from Odeon reads the comments here and pursues stadium seating in the stalls without compromising the decor. Btw CF100 not that keen on the black box Impact screen at The Empire!

CF100 on May 9, 2014 at 10:25 pm

Sorry, I get it now—stadium seating in the front stalls. Would appear to be a good idea and would also enable the ceiling speakers required for Dolby ATMOS to be installed.

It will also be interesting to see if VUE West End screens 5 and/or 7 are revamped; they used to be well specified (THX certified, SDDS in screen 7, etc.) Considering it ought to be the flagship, it seems to have been ignored in recent years.

davepring on May 9, 2014 at 7:08 pm

I would use the area under the circle for another purpose..such as a bar for stalls patrons and certainly not a shoebox cinema…I think the revamped Empire will offer serious competition to OLS so some kind of USP would be called for.

CF100 on May 9, 2014 at 6:18 pm

Extending the circle forward would obviate some of the problems with the OLS, but how would it be commercially justified? Presumably the stalls would have to be repurposed. Remodelling into one or more auditoria would be restricted by the ceiling height of the rear stalls (uncomfortably low), and I can think of other problems (support structures for the extended circle, routing of HVAC/services, etc.) In other words, more ‘shoebox’ sized cinemas!

davepring on May 8, 2014 at 1:34 pm

Sitting in the stalls here is not a great experience but it would be easy to install stadium seating here without compromising the integrity of the building along the lines of the extended circle at the Trafalgar Studios.A larger screen could then be installed within the original proscenium.

Mike_Blakemore on November 18, 2013 at 12:48 pm

@ FanaticalAboutOdeon .. Yes I know what you mean. Alas its been a long time since I last visited the Theatre Which is what I would call a semi Royal premier. With the Duchess of Kent as guest of Honour. with Myself sitting right behind her. Thankfully she did not block the view.. (These people that drop names. Get on my nerves.. as I said to the Queen the other day.. :@) Hmm. I wonder if I could use my Cinema Veterans Pass on an Afternoon Matinee :o)

FanaticalAboutOdeon on September 23, 2013 at 10:27 pm

SethLewis Having been entirely re-seated as part of 1998’s £3.5 million refurbishment, the new stalls seating was neither as comfortable nor as stable as the seating it replaced in my opinion. However, just a few years later, the “new” seats were themselves replaced by far nicer ones. Not only was seating also replaced in both the Royal and Rear Circle but the echelons were also reconfigured from front to back – this gave much greater legroom and cost the theatre between two and three hundred seats which certainly “trimmed” the capacity upstairs! It remains my favourite cinema even though, having left London, a visit entails travelling 400 miles – journeys I’m happy to make to enjoy the “Big cinema experience”. Like you, I love the theatre’s atmosphere and have seen many of the films there since 1971. Royal Film Performances work better there than anywhere else. I saw the 70mm. blow-up of “Titanic” there five times with both friends and colleagues, some of whom asked such questions beforehand as “We could see it in Wimbledon couldn’t we and it’s cheaper?” From entering the Royal Circle and finding Donald Mackenzie playing the Compton organ, to watching both sets of curtains sweep majestically to a close at the very end of the credits, all their queries as to why we had to see it there just disappeared and they talked all the way home about what an amazing experience it had all been. Some of them had never seen or heard anything like it.

SethLewis on September 23, 2013 at 7:49 pm

It is a shame that they never have gotten the seating right in here…great screen and atmosphere just uncomfortable to sit in the stalls…it would be worth it to trim capacity a bit and make it that much more comfortable

Great memories over the years…Live and Let Die opening week…More recently City Slickers, Philadelphia, The Age of Innocence, Titanic, Men in Black, Finding Nemo, the last Batman, Remains of the Day opening night LFF

FanaticalAboutOdeon on September 23, 2013 at 6:06 pm

Certainly the height of the Odeon’s screen is restricted by the balcony overhang from the rear stalls. It is hard to see how the theatre could be re-configured to accommodate a true IMAX screen and I, for one, certainly wouldn’t want it. When non-IMAX films are released and can be shown on IMAX screens – “Skyfall” for example – it’s interesting that, commercially, the Odeon holds its own very well due, of course, to the 1,700 + capacity. Even when such a popular film is playing at Odeon BFI IMAX at Waterloo and numerous suburban complexes that include an IMAX auditorium, THE Odeon can trump them all in the takings stakes with its appetite for cinemagoers. Wall-to-wall/ceiling to floor screens are not the “be-all-and-end-all” and the Odeon remains a venue of choice for many who want a huge screen and terrific sound in very comfortable surroundings without necessarily being dazzled and “blown away”! Happily, distributors are still booking slots literally years in advance to secure their opening at the O.L.S. My only concern is that it’s a very expensive theatre to operate in between the big launches and when the film is not the blockbuster the makers, and exhibitors, hoped for.