Cineworld Cinema - Leicester Square

5 Leicester Square,
London, WC2H 7NA

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Ian on August 19, 2006 at 1:00 am

August 2006 detail of facade here:–

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lclaydon on August 3, 2006 at 10:24 am

Since I have been asked recently, here is a definitive specification of Empire One since its two-week closure last month.

Screen Dimensions

Cinemascope: 18.38x7.62m, 85mm Schneider Cinelux Premiere aspheric variable-iris combined anamorphic lens
Widescreen: 14.95x8.06m, 52.5mm Schneider Cinelux Premiere aspheric variable iris lens
70mm: 18.04x8.23m, 100mm Schnieder Super Cinelux Lens
D-Cinema image sizes are as 35mm

Sound system

Dolby CP650 with CAT778 digital i/o card ensures all-digital signal path for 35mm and D-Cinema Screenings. DMA-8 also fitted for added flexibility, and DTS-6D retained for DTS screenings, and DFP-2000 for SDDS 8-channel screenings.
Dolby CP200/DA20/SA10/MPU-1 for premiere backup, and 70mm magnetic screenings (70mm tested and working!). CP200 modified with CAT64 EQ cards removed and linked out.

5x DBX 4800 loudspeaker management systems controlled via HiQNET take Digital Feeds from CP650, and Analogue from SDDS/CP200, and provide all crossover, EQ, time alignment and banked surround delay.

5x Crown CTs2000 amplifiers feed HF and Upper Mid sections of 5x JBL 4-way Custom ScreenArray stage loudspeakers
5x Crown CTs3000 amplifiers feed LF and Lower Mid sections of 5x JBL 4-way Custom ScreenArray stage loudspeakers
8x Crown CTs3000 amplifiers feed 16x JBL 4645C SVG Subwoofers
6x Crown CTs8200 8-channel amplifiers feed 42x JBL 8340A surround loudspeakers arranged as 22 (left/right side) delayed in four banks, 8 (left/right lower rear, concealed), 12 (left/right long-throw upper rear) delayed to match position and curvature of lower bank.

For the watt-counters,

Stage Channels (each) 5,000w (25,000w total)
Sub Bass Channels (total) 24,000w
Surround Channels (total) 10,500w

Total system power, 59,500w

The system is THX certified

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on August 1, 2006 at 3:19 pm

The current auditorium (as seen in the photo’s by Woody which I posted on March 26 2006) was originally the former balcony of the Empire (The orchestra stalls area was converted into a damce hall in 1962).

Regarding the size of the 70mm screen, I am not sure on actual size, but the cinema has just been re-furbished (June 2006) and a new larger screen has been installed. This extends 1 metre wider on each side, to what the previous screen was. It is THX certified, as is the sound system.

Unfortunately the new wider screen has mean’t the removal of some of the sets of drapes(screen curtains). The Empire used to have a house curtain and a screen curtain (both travellers), and main curtain which rose in sections.

VincentParisi on August 1, 2006 at 2:54 pm

From Ken Roe’s pictures this looks like it has a huge screen with a huge orchestra. Is this really the case? Though modernistic in design it reminds me of the old Times Square road show houses. If only we still had a theater like this in New York!
Anybody know the size of the 70mm screen?

sinelinden on July 15, 2006 at 2:14 am

I’ll get onto finding out the upcoming classics that are going to be shown, There are some classic Bond films booked in a couple of months that I know about.

tjhyman on July 14, 2006 at 2:59 pm

Will try and see Raiders in Screen 1.
Saw Temple of Doom there back in 1984!
If anyone knows of future classics showing at the Empire, please post here as early as possible so I can get a bunch of friends to come along!

tjhyman on July 9, 2006 at 12:18 pm

BTTF was very worn out – grainy to be expected but many cut-out points throughout, reasonable surround sound effect but terrible sound quality for about 25 mins of the movie – like a fuzzy, video-tracking type of sound. Hope they can show more 80’s movies though!

Maybe I’ll go and see Miami Vice there – it is still the greatest cinema in the country and even better now with the new recliner seats and bigger screen.

But I did read some negative things about Vice – major recuts being made to the movie due to poor preview test screenings.

bwales on July 9, 2006 at 3:46 am

They should had launched the Empire 1 new rebuild with a 70mm film for largest/superior picture and fantastic sound, and why not in a 70mm DTS for the full Digital sound effect!.

There were some 70mm prints of “Back to the Future” a few years ago, but why show this film as it is only in a 1.85:1 Dolby “A” warn out print?.

sinelinden on July 8, 2006 at 6:29 am

Hi all,

Just so you know the Taxi Driver print next week is a new copy for the anniversary re-release and will be on in Empire 1.

Also in a couple of weeks, Miami Vice will be on there. Truly the first film to take advantage of the new sound and screen installed in there a couple of weeks back.

Anyone else go to see BTTF today?

tjhyman on July 5, 2006 at 2:57 pm

I am going to see BTTF at the Empire on Saturday and maybe Pulp Fiction too! Can’t wait. I saw BTTF there in 1985 when I was 7! It is my favourite cinema in the world – I love the lighting as seen in above links – hypnotic – and they used to have a great laser and sound show before the film started but they stopped that when DTS digital sound came in with Jurassic Park. I’ve been going to the Empire my whole life. My Dad first took me there to see Temple of Doom. Saw all BTTFs there, Ghost, Schindler’s List & Twins ! I used to go to the Empire 4 or 5 times a year but it’s true – they don’t show many of the great blockbusters anymore and I think the last time I went to the Empire was for Kill Bill 2. But the Empire is like my second home – I grew up there – and it feels like part of me – part of my childhood. Looking forward to reliving the magic and memories with BTTF this weekend. Very much hope as part of their early classics season, they show the original 1978 Superman: The Movie – that would be a dream come true !!! (Disappointed they’re not showing Superman Returns there – the Odeon West End is showing it instead!)

stevecox on July 4, 2006 at 9:59 am

I have heard that the canopy is to be removed, lets hope so!

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on May 28, 2006 at 3:10 am

Give us a break. Odeon holds more premieres because they have more seats. Every single distributor knows the presenatation is far superior at the Empire.

bwales on May 28, 2006 at 3:00 am

<To be fair automating the projection isn’t exactly lowering standards if it’s done properly and works>

When it was under UCI control, they cut the Staff and ran it just like a Multiplex operation, not the sort of thing you should find in the West End?. you only to have to see Vue & UGC/Cineworld.

The Odeon Leicester Square in the main Theater still remains manual operation and it shows with the high standard of presentation as you would expect and that’s why the Odeon hold more Premiers than any other West End Cinemas.

bwales on April 18, 2006 at 1:27 pm

I used to visit the Empire quite often in the 1990’s and knew the Technical team very well and was impressed with the Presentation as you aspect in a West End Cinema.

Sadly, the UCI mob moved in and ousted most of the “Showman Projectionists” and automated the Projection in Empire 1 and as it seams since these people had left, standards went down as well the Premieres and as the Odeon Leicester Square was refurbished in 1998 and offered a better venue for Distributors with Premieres.

However, it has since been sold to the Irish Cinema chain Ward- Anderson and is now owned by Cinema Holdings Ltd.

They are now trading as Empire Cinemas and the Empire is their Head Office.

I was informed they plan to refurbish the Empire and so it looks that the Foyer is looking better, however the front of the building is need of “Paint & Clean” as it is showing a warn state.

There has been rumours that there may be a larger screen in Empire 1, but the Curtains may not re-instated!.

Here is the link to the Empire Cinema website

SHbarney on April 8, 2006 at 6:44 am

and the curtains back in operation i was there the other day the motor must have broken down or they were fixing something or estimating the refurb? but its all good now.

SHbarney on April 8, 2006 at 6:42 am

dont worry empire one will remain the same its not going to be a multiplex they have already made changes to the sound in screen one, they have carpeted the back walls and the entrances to reduce the sound bouncing off the walls and that would have cost around 20,000+ roughly so dont worry they wouldnt have done that if they were planning to split it up, it will stay a premier venue ; )

stevecox on April 7, 2006 at 10:39 am

I have been going to the Empire since the 70’s.
It was great then & felt like an event when you went, now it is shabby but still impressive. When I saw Narnia there both the festoon curtain & the other curtains were not used, just lights projected onto the screen!
I have heard that the main Cinema is to be changed into as many as 8 screens, this would be awful as there is only the Empire & the Odeon left.
The Odeon West End has been sold to a property developer, so will be demolished I expect. It is a shame because the whole look of L.S. will be changed away from cinema. Steve

SHbarney on March 28, 2006 at 4:12 am

i dont work for empire im just nosey about it if you know how to ask the rigth questions you get the right answers and it sounds like you do. It is the classic cinema venue it truely has seen the golden days of cinema and at the moment it is being treated like a second rate venue because a be-grudging cinema chain wasnt allowed to own it and like a little child has taken the right to fair trade and high street competition and blocked the empire getting further status and business. I just dont want to see this great venue turn slowly into a nightclub just because odeon has the market share and thinks it is better than anyone else in the square cuz it certainly is not! When the casino is finished and the empire has had its face lift it will hopefully look amazing and people will flock to support it!

SHbarney on March 27, 2006 at 7:00 am

Well they will be getting many more premiers and better films trust me. Films are booked 6 months in advance so empire cant do anything for these months because terms have already been made thats why you will see a large number of late shows of older films as they are experimenting to see what people will watch because things like sin city may bring more people in than weatherman and worlds fastest and if more peole come for them expect to see some major classics that havent been on the screen in decades! but this will only happen until the cornererd films by odeon have passed then they will be free to bid and by then the cinema will be refurbished and refitted for sound. People want to book there its just odeon would not let them because they new they were going to loose it and because of the terrible echoing because UCI painted the walls that absorbed the echoing with the wrong paint.

SHbarney on March 27, 2006 at 5:44 am

the thing is the premier list was equal before odeon took the empire over and then it dropped dramatically when londons council said you cant own that! And the inside will be changing along with the sound in empire one. Buying market share doe not make it a desireable cinema just a greedy one. Empirfe is much better, that is my opinion only and i will not think otherwise

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on March 26, 2006 at 2:55 pm

A daytime view of the exterior when screening “The Chronicles of Narnia”:
A nightime view of the exterior:

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on March 26, 2006 at 2:49 pm

The Empire Cinema, Screen 1 auditorium in blue lighting:
The Empire Cinema, Screen 1 auditorium in red lighting:

SHbarney on March 26, 2006 at 11:56 am

Well of coarse but before odeon took empire over empire had roughly 12-14 premiers a year but when they cornered the square it dropped to one every two three months and it will change when the new empire company gets in full motion because odeon will not beable to stop them in bidding and showing distributors and directors that their venue is better suited to a premier than a glorified multiplex. Most directors do not like odeon for that reason but have been forced into the odeon cuz it owned the two of them. plus the sound in empire does not help but that is being changed very soon.

SHbarney on March 24, 2006 at 4:08 am

Also i think Odeon are a bit rude and a bit look at us we have all the premiers we’re something, i walked up to the front doors to get a ticket and the doors were locked and this little skinny guy walked up to the doors opened them and said ‘What do you want?’ in a very rude way. so i just turned round and walked away i will never go back. Empire is although dated has a definate feeling of grandure but doesnt have the attitude of ‘we demand respect’ like Odeon, Odeon are nothing they just try to buy grandure and just get very deluded with how sacred their cinema is.

SHbarney on March 24, 2006 at 3:57 am

Well yeah if its local and you dont want to head into town then your not gona go but thats the same for all leicester square cinemas why would you go see munich in a small Odeon west end cinema if you local one was playing it for cheaper, but if you are there anyway and you like the cinema and the idea of the movie you will go. But the reason Empire dont have King Kong or Harry Potter is because Odeon cornered the booking and made Empire impotent for the whole summer wrong but if you want to make the most money in the square for the summer then you have to be under hand to do that. Also Narnia did really well at empire and played their for three months before anyone else played it. But they wont have major blockbusters this summer until the booking becomes free again and the new empire can actually try for the big features instead of just been given scraps, if Odeom kept Empire they would have shared the blockbusters out but why do it if its a competitor,