Cineworld Cinema - Leicester Square

5 Leicester Square,
London, WC2H 7NA

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CF100
CF100 on March 23, 2019 at 4:45 pm

Some further information on Cineworld’s 2018 foyer/lobbies refurbishment and 4DX conversion of the former Screen 2 is available in an article on the website of AV Magazine, dated 22nd March 2019.

The relevant sections of the article are:

Foyer/lobbies: Under the heading “Making a grand entrance.” 4DX: A few paragraphs under the sub-heading: “Four types of 4DX.”

I will summarise relevant key points from the article here (with the 4DX information added to its own page on CT.)


  • As suspected from the branded protective sheeting in Zappomatic’s photos of the foyer/lobbies refurbishment, Maeve Contractors—principal contractor for the conversion of the former Screen 1 to IMAX/Superscreen—are confirmed to have been also involved in this project.
  • LED modules used are from Chinese company Konka Media, with Cineworld Group having previously worked with the them in Prague.
  • Standard DVI/HDMI input to the module controllers supplied by Konka.
  • For the signature installation on the vestibule stairs up from the main Leicester Square entrance—risers being a non-standard installation location—the modules are installed in a “safety unit” for protection from patrons, with the requirements of building regulations in mind. The installation also allows maintenance access to the modules from the front.
  • Total modules used for the stairs—65; number of stair risers: 14; total size: 4.8mx2.2m; resolution 960x416 pixels.
Lionel
Lionel on March 19, 2019 at 11:29 am

I just posted my first film on YouTube. This is a Super 8mm film I shot in 1986 and 1988 showing fronts of West end cinemas (including this one) and theatres :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tnXG39F6vM

My description on YouTube : Old silent 8mm film showing fronts of West End cinemas and theatres, made with two different cameras and film stocks in 1986 and 1988. Bad quality due to age. The close-up of 70mm advertisement for “a winning double bill” was at the Prince Charles cinema for a re-run of Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. The close-up of THX Sound System advertisement was at the Warner cinema. The close-up of the “West End” words was the Odeon West End cinema sign.

Zappomatic
Zappomatic on February 1, 2019 at 9:10 pm

CF100: No, not as far as I can recall. I can only imagine some kind of leak or major spillage necessitated its replacement. (The auditorium was quite dark when I entered and I nearly fell over after being caught unawares by the deep pile!)

CF100
CF100 on February 1, 2019 at 9:09 am

Zappomatic: Seems like a rather random alteration. Was the carpet worn?

Zappomatic
Zappomatic on January 31, 2019 at 4:56 pm

Carpet at the front of the Superscreen has been replaced, to match the carpet in the corridor and other screens. Carpet on the steps inside this screen remains in the old red carpet as fitted by Empire Cinemas.

Lionel
Lionel on January 24, 2019 at 1:10 pm

Archival footage briefly showing the entrance, shown from the street, of the Ritz and Empire in a row at 01:11 in the late seventies.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JT9vFwyzqMY

CF100
CF100 on December 20, 2018 at 6:25 pm

The columns in the 4DX are actually between the seats and the sidewalls. From photos, this was also the case when the auditorium was originally built; however, IIRC, the sidewalls were moved in at some point? By the time I first visited the auditorium, this was not the case, and some of the seats were positioned “behind” the columns!

The 4DX installation needs all the space it can get to be shoehorned in, with the “environmental effects” gear between the columns and the sidewalls, the suspended ceiling being omitted in those areas.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 17, 2018 at 4:59 am

Yes Howard, The photograph in the article is the (now much altered) former Ritz Cinema. Supporting columns are still there all the way along the side walls, always have been there. The former Ritz Cinema has its own page on Cinema Treasures as the Cineworld Cinema – Leicester Square 4DX

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on December 17, 2018 at 4:26 am

is this photo in this article the former Ritz specified in the Intro? now a 4Dx? are there columns further back on the auditorium’s side walls? https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/dec/14/big-screen-boom-uk-cinemas-on-track-for-best-year-since-1971?mc_cid=43095b016d&mc_eid=91acd9b937

CF100
CF100 on November 4, 2018 at 4:40 pm

LARGE_screen_format: Good news! I suspect it will be the “downsized” version for “multiplex”-sized IMAX venues rather than the original system intended to replace 15/70 projectors in classic “Grand Theatre” venues (and similarly scaled new builds or conversions.)

As a new build, it might just be one of the best IMAX/PLF screens in the country—technically speaking, of course.

LARGE_screen_format
LARGE_screen_format on November 4, 2018 at 2:06 pm

Cineworld, Watford, which opens on 14th December 2018, with become the third cinema in the UK to have IMAX with Laser. Also, ScreenX.

https://www.cineworld.co.uk/blog/cineworld-watford-opens-this-december

CF100
CF100 on October 27, 2018 at 5:43 pm

The high-level banner on the LSQ facade currently advertises “Halloween,” with “AT CINEWORLD LEICESTER SQUARE NOW” in red letters at the bottom.

Perhaps Cineworld have finally figured out a way to put their brand name on the front of the building so that it can actually be seen from the other side of the square!

Photo uploaded.

CF100
CF100 on October 27, 2018 at 4:52 pm

“Extinguishing Spotlights: the Uncertain Future of Cinematic Heritage in London’s Leicester Square”.

An academic article authored by Alexa Raisbeck, this contains a potted history of cinemas in LSQ and some photos of auditoria and exterior, paying some particular attention to the Empire Leicester Square.

Whilst I share the author’s concerns over the potential impact of redevelopment on the place of Leicester Square in the cinematic world, the topic seems rather odd when major investment has been made over the past few years into the flagship sites.

It should be noted that the article contains a number of errors, many of which could have been rectified simply by reading through the relevant material and comments posted on Cinema Treasures.

CF100
CF100 on October 9, 2018 at 5:44 pm

Looking at Cineworld’s booking pages, it seems that “First Man” isn’t programmed for the IMAX auditorium, only 4DX and Superscreen. In fact, nothing is presently scheduled for the IMAX according to Cineworld’s site; the IMAX is being used for the BFI Film Festival, though hardly continuously, unless there are private screenings also held there?

With 15/70 prints not being made, the only option in London for “full scale” IMAX will be Xenon-lamp projection at the BFI, and no option at all to see it “full height” 1.4:1.

CF100
CF100 on August 6, 2018 at 9:52 pm

LARGE_screen_format:

Not sure about this idea of having the picture extend at 90 degrees onto the two side walls?

Neither am I!

Surely a more immersive experience would be achieved by having a wider, possibly curved, floor to ceiling screen.

It would extend further into the audience’s horizontal peripheral vision than IMAX — 270°, as you quote, is their advertised claim, vs. maximum 120° for an IMAX conforming to criteria — and those areas are used by the human brain for motion awareness…

I can’t see it working well in terms of producing a geometrically undistorted picture, and also consistent illumination, including across seating positions?

Plus keeping all the projectors properly aligned and calibrated?

(Of course, the old OMNIMAX system could achieve “wider than IMAX” images.)

Wonder if any existing 4DX auditoria get converted into ScreenX or whether they will all be new build or conversions of non-4DX screens only?

Adding ScreenX to existing 4DX auditoria seems likely? (Given the above) the system would seem to work well in tandem with the motion seating.

About 40% of the movie utilises the three screen, most of it is displayed on the front wall in the traditional way.

Filmmaker Magazine – October 2013 – “Introducing Screen X, Cinema in 270 Degrees” – Interview with Paul Kim, “Lead Producer of ScreenX”.

“[Shooting Screen X involves a] three cameras [setup], a center camera and two peripheral cameras. The cameras – we used three RED Epics [for the South Korean film “The X”] – are hooked up onto a rig that allows you to shoot simultaneously in three directions at the same time.”

Apparently, using white screens doesn’t work, and at the time of the interview, they were using a “very cool dark grey”:

“The reason white screens don’t work is that you are now projecting onto the walls itself, that is still a light source and it reflects off the main screen and washes off on the main screen. This is a color we came upon because it absorbs light and it doesn’t reflect onto the main screen and at the same time it retrains most of the contrast and the colors. We are still experimenting with different colors.”

Kim mentions that the CJ Group’s cinema subsidary CGV are using Tectum fabric covered walls. I’m not clear from the article if the fabric supplied with this system is used as the sidewall screen material.

Also: “We have developed a term called FSR, which is Front Side Ratio, so the front of the screen to how long the side of the theater is. Ideally it’s about 1.5 to 1.8. We don’t like it to be any longer than that and we don’t like it to be any shorter.” He goes on to say that “180 to 230 seats is ideal.”


Sounds like an interesting system but whilst 4DX “works” as a optional “gimmick” that’s added late in post, I’d question the long term viability of ScreenX as a specialist format given that it would seem to require considerable additional production costs and upfront commitment?

Adding ScreenX to the LSQ 4DX would seem to be a non-starter—unless the columns are allowed to “interrupt” the sidewall images? With the 4DX conversion already pushing the limit of the cinema’s demised area in the basement of 1-4 Leicester Square, not sure there’s room for all the extra projectors, either.


Meanwhile, vendors continue to push LED screens to replace projection in cinemas.

You might be interested in an article published by Hollywood Reporter, which also notes the apparent exasperation of Spielberg of Nolan and Spielberg at the prospect of direct view display systems in theatres.

According to this article, the first Samsung Onyx LED display system in the US was installed at Pacific Theatres Winnetka in Chatsworth, CA—in the suburbanised San Fernando Valley area ~15 miles NW of Hollywood—with “Ready Player One” being the first programmed feature.

LARGE_screen_format
LARGE_screen_format on August 6, 2018 at 11:33 am

B&B Theatres newly built flagship Liberty 12 in Liberty, MO, USA has the world’s largest ScreenX environment measuring more than four stories tall and seven stories wide with a seating capacity of 244.

The ScreenX is a cinematic platform using 10 projectors to display a movie on the walls in front and on the sides of the viewer, creating a 270-degree screen immersing the viewer in an expanse experience. About 40% of the movie utilises the three screen, most of it is displayed on the front wall in the traditional way.

Upcoming ScreenX releases include The Nun, Aquaman and Shazam!, with more to be announced this year. These join recent releases Black Panther, Rampage, plus Ant-Man and the Wasp. In 2017 three movies were released in ScreenX – Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.

LARGE_screen_format
LARGE_screen_format on August 6, 2018 at 11:00 am

Not sure about this idea of having the picture extend at 90 degrees onto the two side walls? Surely a more immersive experience would be achieved by having a wider, possibly curved, floor to ceiling screen. Oh, wait…that sounds like IMAX, lol! :o)

Wonder if any existing 4DX auditoria get converted into ScreenX or whether they will all be new build or conversions of non-4DX screens only?

CF100
CF100 on August 6, 2018 at 9:54 am

CJ 4DPLEX is South Korean… and growth markets… China is now the world’s largest market by box office…

World’s First 4DX with Screen X — includes selected footage of the fit-out, and the 4DX/ScreenX system in use.

Wonder how much ScreenX content is available? “Ant-Man and the Wasp” has been released in this format, but I can’t see how this would work without seriously cropping the top/bottom off the frame?

Just went to the Barco Escape site to see how many cinemas are now equipped with that system, but apparently it was discontinued as of February 2018!

LARGE_screen_format
LARGE_screen_format on August 6, 2018 at 6:16 am

86 ScreenX screens in South Korea; 44 screens in China

They sure seem to embrace and rapidly rollout these new technologies such as 4DX and now ScreenX over there.

CF100
CF100 on August 6, 2018 at 4:48 am

LARGE_screen_format: Thank you for posting that!

Press release-14th June 2018.

“CJ 4DPLEX has announced today a partnership with Cineworld Group to open 100 ScreenX locations at its theatres in the next few years. This agreement, which marks a major milestone for both companies, will include installing the multi-projection cinematic system in 10 different countries: U.S., U.K., Israel and seven other European countries.”

LARGE_screen_format
LARGE_screen_format on August 6, 2018 at 3:45 am

Just spotted a new format on the Cineworld website…ScreenX

https://www.cineworld.co.uk/screenx#/

ScreenX – Beyond the Frame:

ScreenX is the world’s first multi-projection immersive cinema auditorium which provides a 270-degree viewing experience. The technology goes beyond the frame of a traditional screen by expanding the film scenes onto the side walls.

ScreenX was developed in 2012 by the South Korean, CJ conglomerate, a leader in the Asian entertainment industry. This new cinematic experience is expanding rapidly across the world.

Oddly, no cinemas are listed as having this new format at present!

CF100
CF100 on August 5, 2018 at 4:42 pm

Image Technique – Digital Signage & AV Solutions – Cineworld Cinemas – Large Scale Video Walls.

The curved screen at the top of the vestibule is shown in a photo, so presumably the LED modules were supplied and fitted by them.

As well as Cineworld, they have also been involved with signage for Empire Cinemas, Odeon and Vue.

A “full resolution” (4K) JPEG file of this photo can be downloaded.


What I assume to be the same (or at least certainly similar) video of various premiere events shown on the displays on the right wall adjacent to the LSQ entrance, proclaiming it to be “The home of the stars” and “The premiere destination in London’s West End,” as noted in my post dated July 24th 2018, is available via YouTube—Cineworld Leicester Square – “Discover the Home of the Stars”.

(I can only assume that whoever was responsible for the footage of the LSQ foyer/lobby areas was not aware of the extreme irony of (IMO incompetently!) using a “cinéma vérité” shooting style given the “subject” is showcasing the glitzy interior, rather than, say, POV disorientation in a frenetic sequence? At any rate, if the operator could actually hold the camera still and not fiddle with the zoom…! Still, good that Cineworld are clearly eager to promote LSQ as a flagship venue…)

CF100
CF100 on August 3, 2018 at 8:35 pm

LARGE_screen_format:

Thanks for the detailed information and links. ;o)

You’re welcome. :–)

Didn’t realise that non-IMAX cameras could be used for scenes that are shown as 1.43:1 or 1.9:1 ratio on IMAX screens.

The only strict criteria I’m aware of is that, for non-IMAX content, IMAX Digital systems will only operate in a “crippled” mode, e.g. only one of the two projector (no 3D) is used. This includes non-IMAX trailers, advertising, etc. before an IMAX main feature, and with an IMAX with Laser projection system, this can be seen by putting on the supplied 3D glasses; one eye is blanked out. ;–)

I suspect 1.43:1 scenes would be shot on 15perf IMAX, e.g. “Dunkirk.”

IMAX themselves now offer digital cameras (1.9:1 ratio); however, if the objective is to achieve “IMAX” quality, then there are various options available—and the technology is developing at a rapid pace!

When the “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” picture “opened up” to 1.9:1, I actually said to myself “wow… this is… IMAX.”

It really is an exciting time for “large format” content as astonishing results are now possible, and things are only going to get better. :–)

Lucy is judged by many to be a reference quality 4K UHD movie.

Interesting! I shall have to acquire a copy. :–)

The clarity and detail, as demonstrated by e.g. the close shots of Morgan Freeman’s face, is certainly startling.

LARGE_screen_format
LARGE_screen_format on August 3, 2018 at 5:21 pm

Thanks for the detailed information and links. ;o)

Didn’t realise that non-IMAX cameras could be used for scenes that are shown as 1.43:1 or 1.9:1 ratio on IMAX screens.

Lucy is judged by many to be a reference quality 4K UHD movie.

CF100
CF100 on August 3, 2018 at 4:44 pm

LARGE_screen_format:

Found this piece of information interesting bearing in mind the amount of overseas IMAX auditoria that exist especially in the U.S.

Interesting. I suspect it’s a regurgitated press release, and sure enough, it is:

Empire Cinemas Expands IMAX Commitment with Three-Theatre Deal in England.

From IMAX – Lucy:

“Lucy: The IMAX Experience will be released in select international IMAX theatres only.”


I actually rather enjoyed “Lucy,” even if the premise and execution was absurd. Fantastic picture quality also.

I ended up seeing it twice at the LSQ IMAX, as I wanted a friend to experience a screening in a “real cinema,” the Orange/EE Wednesdays promotion was still available (albeit for IMAX screens there was a modest uplift charge for the “free” ticket), and I was quite happy to watch “Lucy” again.

Neither screening was terribly busy, and IIRC, on my second visit, I had a brief conversation with a member of staff, who when asked how the IMAX screen was doing, looked rather sheepish and said that “it is… building awareness” and “it is a success.”

To be fair to IMAX/Empire Cinemas, the “new” IMAX sites referenced in the above-linked press release didn’t suffer from the same problem as LSQ under Empire Cinemas, including the inability to get bookings of the biggest releases.

Of course, it is now very much a success, and given the very high grosses achieved over at the BFI London IMAX, as well as the Central London prices, I wouldn’t be surprised if for certain releases it is one of the highest grossing IMAX venues on an international basis.