Royal Cinema

Birmingham Road and Holland Road,
Sutton Coldfield, B72 1QL

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Additional Info

Operated by: PDJ Management Ltd.

Previously operated by: Empire Cinemas UK, Odeon Theatres Ltd., Rank Organisation

Architects: John Cecil Clavering, Harry W. Weedon

Firms: Harry W. Weedon Partnership

Styles: Art Deco

Previous Names: Odeon Theatre, Odeon Sutton Coldfield,Empire Sutton Coldfield

Nearby Theaters

Odeon Sutton Coldfield

The Odeon was built for and operated by Oscar Deutsch’s Odeon Theatres’s Ltd. chain, the 42nd to be built for the circuit. It was designed by Harry Weedon assisted by architect J. Cecil Clavering of the Harry Weeden Partnership.

It opened on 18th April 1936 with Jessie Matthews in “First a Girl”. The cinema is located just outside the town centre on a prominent corner position of the main Birmingham Road at Maney Corner and Holland Road, Maney.

Considered to be one of the best designed Odeon Theatre’s (Odeon Harrogate is an almost exact copy), the low corner entrance is dominated by a high ‘fin’ tower on the left which originally had the word ‘Cinema’ on top. Inside the auditorium seating was provided for 1,600; 1,028 in the stalls and 572 in the balcony. A sleek Art Deco style of decoration was within the auditorium that was illuminated by concealed lighting set into troughs across the ceiling.

It was one of the first of the original Odeon’s to be tripled and became a three-screen cinema from 9th April 1972. The balcony was kept intact with a seating capacity slight increased to 591, while two mini cinemas were created in the rear stalls under the balcony which each seated 132. In 1987 a fourth screen seating 330 was added in the former front stalls area.

The Odeon Sutton Coldfield was one of several Odeon Theatres taken over by the Irish-based Ward-Anderson Cinemas in March 2006. Trading under the Empire Cinemas UK name, it has been renamed the Empire. Seating capacities in the screens are now; 1. 592, 2. 135, 3. 100 and 4. 329. It was closed in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it briefly reopened only to close again in August 2020. In September 2021 the operators Empire Cinemas UK announced that it would remain closed for at least another 9-months while funds were obtained to carry out a refurbishment. On 6th July 2023 it was announced that Empire Cinemas UK had gone into administration and their plans to reopen the cinema had been cancelled.

On 21st December 2023 it was announced that the vacant cinema had been purchased by PDJ Management Ltd. and would be renovated and restored to reopen as the Royal Cinema.

On 18th November 1998, the then Odeon Cinema was designated a Grade II Listed building.

Contributed by KenRoe

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on January 18, 2006 at 10:40 am

A Summer 1971 view of the Odeon Sutton Coldfield:
View link

An October 2001 colour photograph:
View link

Matt Harris
Matt Harris on March 6, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Some great photos from April 1936 of this cinema inside and out at the National Archives here:

Alan Baker
Alan Baker on April 10, 2017 at 5:53 am

The first Odeon to be tripled was Glasgow, an expensive rebuild. Sutton Coldfield was the first of the much cheaper “drop wall” triplings which Rank applied to over fifty cinemas in the following three years.

Mike_Blakemore on April 10, 2017 at 7:46 am

Firstly. John Cecil Clavering designed the whole thing. he with Roland Satchwell created Odeon look.. There is no evidence that Weedon designed a whole cinema.. Prior to the Odeon work he was assistant architect at the Harold Seymour Scott practice. Cleaving transferred from the Satchwell & Roberts co., (they were a larger Practice) to become Head architect . 16 cinemas Later Bullivant took his place. Weedon did prepare the budgets for the eighth cinema onwards in the Odeon Chain.

Secondly.. Ambak is correct.. It was designed in a morning. The Rank engineer Mr Poole and Morgonites technical Rep Les Castree along with a Bell and Howell 631 16mm Projector a step ladder. tape measure and chalk Les Castree did rough drawings, which Ranks Architects converted to proper drawings. The big mistake Rank did was not getting Modernisation Ltd., to do the job. So you could here 3 films at once It was a Moore Bird Job.. Noted for sound breakthrough..

Ian on July 7, 2023 at 2:47 pm

Empire Cinemas went into administration on 6th July 2023, so the prospect of this cinema reopening any time soon are now remote

NOODLE2 on July 23, 2023 at 8:03 pm

After seems the Company was hiding something about this cinema,and as usual corporate rubbish was need 9 mths to refurbish before opening. Well many cinemas can be sorted and still be open if done screen by screen.. or at least maybe 1 mth per screen max…by keeping closed patrons found other open cinemas..and for them to sell their car way could the cinema continue. It’s such an iconic building..but any potential operators will be scupperd by the future building of flats..and really I believe sadly the whole place will be demolished for more flats !! Such a waste !

Mike_Blakemore on July 24, 2023 at 8:10 am

Just a thought The two screens under the Circle took 6 weeks to do the job.

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