Cineworld Cinema - Leicester Square

5 Leicester Square,
London, WC2H 7NA

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LARGE_screen_format on August 3, 2018 at 10:20 am

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

“In less than a year since its opening, the IMAX Leicester Square ranked as the world’s highest-grossing IMAX site for the 2014 blockbuster thriller Lucy.“

Excerpt taken from this article:

LARGE_screen_format on August 3, 2018 at 4:50 am

Will do.

I hope to visit and watch a movie in the IMAX auditoria as soon as possible (depending on what is being shown at the time) after it opens to the public.

HowardBHaas on August 3, 2018 at 4:13 am

Large screen format, I assist this site- feel free to post on this page (which I read) with opening date of Watford Cineworld. Not sure we will create a page until actual opening, but possibly, and surely, once it is open.

LARGE_screen_format on August 3, 2018 at 1:11 am


Was the presentation of Mission: Impossible – Fallout in IMAX 3D? I watched it on the opening day in 2D but then on seeing this review where it was awarded the maximum score of 35/35, had considered travelling to Hemel Hempstead to watch it again, this time in IMAX 3D. Sadly, didn’t manage to and it has today been replaced by Ant-Man and the Wasp.—-fallout-ticket

Be interested to hear your comments on the 3D effect considering this was a post-production conversion, as are most movies, and not natively shot in 3D.

I enjoyed the movie and even rewatched all of the other five movies in the franchise before and after this latest instalment in the franchise.

The scenes in Kashmir during the final act, were they the only ones filmed using IMAX cameras and opened up to fill the whole screen? I had expected the Burf Khalifa scene in Ghost Protocol to have been filmed in IMAX but alas I don’t believe it was? It certainly isn’t listed on the wiki list of movies filmed using IMAX cameras.

The new intu shopping centre redevelopment in Watford have set an opening date of 27th September 2018 for the 4-storey Debenhams store as phase one of the opening. No other details have yet been released with regards to the opening date of the new Cineworld 9-screen cinema which includes an IMAX screen. Had hoped it would open this month.

Presumably one of the Cinema Treasures Admin team will create a new page for it once it’s official release date has been officially announced?

CF100 on August 2, 2018 at 5:14 pm

Correction to previous post: 151 RGB LED bars, not 171.

CF100 on August 2, 2018 at 3:28 pm

I attended a screening of “Mission Impossible—Fallout” in the IMAX auditorium today, having booked my ticket at the “last minute” (by which I mean, just enough time to get to the cinema some minutes before the auditorium doors were opened!)

This was foolish in that I did not consider whether the film was worth seeing—albeit, its current Rotten Tomatoes score is 97%(!)—so “research” may not have been of any assistance!

It turns out that the film IS worth seeing—but, IMO, only for the visuals in the final act. Set in Kashmir, numerous stunning shots of mountainous terrain in “full height” IMAX Digital (1.9:1) are featured, presumably digitally acquired (CGI aside) using Panavision Millennium DXLs (8K source format) per IMDb Technical Specifications.

Full use of the 12 channel IMAX sound system was apparent in these scenes, e.g. strongly directional helicopter sounds panned overhead.

(Picture quality-wise, the rest of the film is lacking in detail with poor depth of field and I assume was mostly acquired on 35mm film per IMDb Technical Specifications, although no grain was apparent, suggesting heavy noise reduction.)

IMAX auditorium update:

  • I’m not sure if it was the fault of the source material, but there was a marked absence of low level detail throughout the film, with dark areas clipped to black. Some low level dither seemed to be visible in one or two 1.9:1 scenes in the final act. Subtle “laser speckle” was also apparent momentarily a couple of times.
  • Today’s outside temperature was ~30°C, and the HVAC system was working extremely well with the auditorium very well chilled and unstuffy for the late afternoon screening I attended, as were the foyer areas.
  • On the left splay wall, the front bottom two LED bars were misaligned. (Photo uploaded.)
  • Also, my perception was that the colour-changing LEDs have lost some brightness, which is odd since even allowing for 5 hours of use/day, they would not even have hit the 10,000 hour mark, and the bars use OSRAM LEDs which have outstanding performance in terms of brightness maintenance with use. Perhaps they are being driven hard? With 171 RGB bars, and given a retail price of, say, £200+ each, one does wonder whether Cineworld will bother with long term upkeep/replacement. Regular LED strips just wouldn’t be bright enough to illuminate the large areas of black walls/ceiling, which the current system already struggles with. I overheard a kid sitting behind making a comment on the “magical lighting,” so clearly it’s effective in adding a special touch for those with no awareness of the heritage aspect.
  • AFAICT, one or more of the subbass drivers bottomed out during one of the trailers; if this represents failure, hopefully IMAX will action replacement(s).

Cineworld (Empire) Leicester Square update:

  • The building site notice still appears on the fire exit door to Leicester Street.

  • To add to ongoing observations of extreme minutiae, the left wall of the lower vestibule (i.e. underneath the section leading to the 4DX) now has black strips added. (Photo uploaded.) Interestingly (?), if it’s the same product visible in fit-out photos of Cineworld Broughton—see Image 1 and Image 2—these black strips might not actually be PMMA (aka Perspex/Plexiglass,) but Alupanel.

  • Empire Cinemas' registered office is, as of November 2017, 63-65 Haymarket. The “10 – Empire Studios” sign remains by the entrance to the upper level offices on the Leicester Place frontage, although no signs of activity were externally visible, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to assume that they’ve vacated.

[Added text to overcome “Your comment appears to be spam!” notification which appeared on reposting with minor edits. And some more text for another repost. :–(]

bigjoe59 on July 26, 2018 at 3:35 pm


to takethemichael. while I wouldn’t bet my next paycheck on it I could swear the theater that was playing the 70MM re-issue of The Ten Commandments the Summer of 1972 was named the Shaftesbury Cinerama. maybe it was the Casino Cinerama? who knows.

takethemichael on July 26, 2018 at 12:54 am

Thank you Zappomatic and others for the detailed and interesting comments and photos about the refurbishment of Cineworld Leicester Square.

takethemichael on July 26, 2018 at 12:38 am

bigjoe59: Could the Cinerama cinema you refer to be the Columbia Shaftesbury Avenue. The Columbia Cinema was sunk into the basement of a large office block and had 734 seats. Not cinerama but it had a huge curved screen for 70mm and Todd-AO presentations. Open as the Curzon Soho:

Former London Cinerama theatres: Casino Cinerama, Old Compton Street, Soho (now Prince Edward Theatre): Royalty Cinerama, Kingsway: Coliseum Cinerama, St Martins Lane:

CF100 on July 24, 2018 at 6:54 pm

Passed by Cineworld (Empire) LSQ yesterday; alas “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” was playing in the IMAX/Superscreen. :–(

(ABBA, like them or not, have gifted the world with a large repertoire of popular songs written and arranged to a very high standard, many of which are classics, and I have no interest in watching/hearing them being mutilated in a corny sequel!)

Cineworld are now branding LSQ as “London’s premiere destination and home to the stars,” on the screen nearest to the entrance (mounted on the right side wall of the lower vestibule), with clips of various premiere/“red carpet” events being shown. (Photo uploaded.)

The only external sign of ongoing building work remains the “Construction Site” notice on the exterior of the Leicester Street fire exit doors.

Empire Cinemas' registered address has been changed to 63-65 Haymarket, aka Empire Haymarket. The “Empire Studios” sign remains by the the entrance door facing Leicester Place.

bigjoe59: Regarding the Cinerama you refer to, that format/system existed way before my time—but perhaps you mean the location that was originally, and is today, named the “Prince Edward Theatre”? It’s about 100 metres (on foot) from Shaftesbury Avenue.

bigjoe59 on July 24, 2018 at 2:04 pm


I thank Ken R. and Howard B. for their replies. to bad the Odeon Marble Arch was demolished. it was the 1st movie theater I’d ever been to that had a coffee bar. also the theater where I saw the Summer 1973 70MM re-issue of The Ten Commandments was most definitely called the Shaftesbury Cinerama.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on July 24, 2018 at 2:33 am

“The Ten Commandments” got an ABC general countrywide re-release in March 1973, so its possible that it played the ABC Shaftesbury Avenue a little earlier. Originally a live theatre (Saville Theatre of 1931), from 1970 it became a twin-screen cinema for ABC. Still open today as the Odeon Covent Garden

HowardBHaas on July 23, 2018 at 2:33 pm

I can partly answer from our side of the pond. The Odeon Marble Arch was divided into several auditoriums in 1996 & closed & demolished in 2006. I know of at least 2 theaters, both also since divided up but still open though endangered, on Shaftsbury but I don’t see that either was called Cinerama.

bigjoe59 on July 23, 2018 at 1:31 pm

Hello from NYC-

when i was in London the Summer of 1972 I went to two
movie theaters-the Shaftsbury Cinerama where i saw a
70MM re-issue of The Ten Commandments and the Odeon
Marble Arch where I saw Nicholas and Alexandra. are the
two theaters still standing?

CF100 on July 6, 2018 at 8:11 pm

Zappomatic: Thanks for your detailed response. :–)

The “picture frame” design that Empire Cinemas used in the former Screens 4-9 seemed to be a slightly odd throwback to the 1928 iteration of the Empire, particularly since very few patrons would “get” the reference! With the concealed edge lighting it did actually look quite good in person, though.

As you say the Cineworld refurbished auditoria are stripped down in terms of decorative features, but at least they don’t look tacky; I think Cineworld have shown some good judgement and restraint with their alterations to their LSQ cinema.

Zappomatic on July 4, 2018 at 1:56 pm

New seating is very comfortable and thickly padded although I found the back row of screen 2 to have been installed at perhaps a little too upright an angle with the headrest preventing me from sitting the way I wanted to – I didn’t notice this issue in screen 1. Surprisingly even the outer backs of the seats are padded and upholstered. The old seating was very comfortable so long as nobody was sitting in front of you, in which case the seat in front would recline back into your knees (it seemed to me a way of saving space, dressed up as a luxury). On balance I think I prefer the new seats.

Very bright, crisp picture with good black levels and contrast, and punchy sound however there was a noticeable keystone effect when projecting a flat picture. Sadly no moveable masking. In person I too was struck by the apparently low number of sidewall speakers however this might have been to do with the lighting which doesn’t tend to spread onto the walls.

These refurbished screens are less characterful than previously but no longer suffer from some of the frankly unacceptable viewing angles that they used to offer.

CF100 on July 4, 2018 at 12:05 pm

Zappomatic: Thanks for the photos, looks good!

(Hmm, except for the slightly tacky red backlit Cineworld “stars” on the sidewalls.)

360° photos of the foyer (one taken from upper vestibule, the other from the far end), Screen 1 and Screen 2 can be seen on Squaremeal’s website, under the “Virtual Tour” section towards the bottom of the page (“Room List” at the top right of the photo view area is used to select the desired shot.)

In the photo of Screen 1, the yellow upholstered door with “porthole” is still in place!

“Cineworld London Venues” — photos of the LSQ IMAX, O2 Superscreen, Cineworld Wembley and Wandsworth.)

There are photos of the 4DX auditorium in the “carousel” at the top of the page, and if it is available to book, it’s perhaps amusing to imagine a corporate event being ruined by rogue use of the 4DX environmental effects. ;–)

Photos of the former Cineworld (Empire) Leicester Square Screens 4/5 are available in Eomac’s literature in the PDF linked to from the linked page.

The new stadia do seem to have quite an improved rake. I can’t see more than 3 sidewall speakers in the “new” Screen 2, whereas the former Screen 4 had 4—although the front one may be washed out.

Zappomatic: How does the new Lino Sonego seating compare to the previous? (AFAIK from Seating Concepts.) Is the picture/sound quality up to standard?

Zappomatic on July 4, 2018 at 6:53 am

Added photos of refurbished new screen 2

LARGE_screen_format on July 3, 2018 at 1:02 pm

We’re lucky to have you posting direct links to licensing plans of interest @CF100 ;o)

CF100 on July 3, 2018 at 12:27 pm

LARGE_screen_format: Looking at the IMAX and Superscreen booking pages for LSQ, as well as one of the “studio”-sized auditorium, Cineworld’s booking system seems have two different layouts for the screen, one with “SCREEN” in a grey rectangle extending the full width, used for the “studio”-sized auditorium, and the other used for the IMAX/Superscreen, which show a similar rectangle, only the left/right sides are angled. This latter rectangle seems to have a maximum width of ~20 seats or so, and hence is the wrong relative width for the Superscreen as well as the IMAX. Clearly it’s a “generic” layout also in the sense that the seating distance from the screen isn’t represented to any kind of relative scale, either.

Licensing plans are definitely a fantastic resource, but I don’t think I’d thought to search for them either until I read a post on Cinema Treasures by Zappomatic. With inconsistent addresses, slow page load times, and so on— generally very clunky systems used—it’s not always easy to find what you’re looking for, though!

LARGE_screen_format on July 3, 2018 at 10:54 am

As I suspected, the Cineworld seating layout page is way off scale. Probably just a generic image used for the screen of any and all auditoria across the whole of their website?

These licensing plans that you post links for sure offer a level of detail one may otherwise never be privy to. Had not previously ever thought to search and look through any.

CF100 on July 3, 2018 at 10:47 am

LARGE_screen_format: Licensing plans show everything (within reason) “to scale”—try the “MEZZANINE LEVEL” PDF linked to from the “DOCUMENTS” tab on the linked page.

Based on this, 8 side seats (16 total) of row M (2nd to last row) are beyond the screen edges.

LARGE_screen_format on July 3, 2018 at 7:49 am

When booking tickets online for IMAX at Cineworld, Leicester Square the width of the screen on the seating layout page surely can’t be to scale? It isn’t even as wide as the centre section of seats alone meaning anyone sat on the two side sections would be watching from a 45-degree angle.

LARGE_screen_format on July 1, 2018 at 4:49 am


I’ve posted a reply on the Odeon, Greenwich page.

I did enjoy Rampage for what it was, a movie based on a video game, it had some good action and overall was entertaining.

CF100 on June 30, 2018 at 6:16 pm


The stadia which all but the front row of the LSQ IMAX seats are attached date from 1962, being the former “circle” seating area of Empire 1.

As theatreofvarieties kindly indicated on Cinema Treasures, in response to my tedious queries, the HVAC (air conditioning) extraction ducting is actually connected to lots of grilles behind the seating, although presumably the extract ducts could always be moved elsewhere or reconnected.

Looking at one of Zappomatic’s photos taken during the recent foyer refurbishment, which provides a partial view under the stadia, it’s clear that there is plenty of steel there, albeit I have no idea what materials are used to form the stepping itself.

Given the above, the fact that Cineworld (presumably) kept the existing intact in the foyer refurbishment works might suggest that there they have no intention of changing the stepping.

If it could be changed from above, it might difficult from a health and safety point of view, and could risk damage to the services and ceiling below.

I suppose they could, depending on structural (weight) limitations, build off the existing, but then this would presumably require the loss of half the rows?

So, based on the above uninformed brain dump and a lot of speculation on my part, it would appear to be a non-starter.

BTW: Photo of the IMPACT/Superscreen auditorium build – stadium seating structure can be seen. Note that the steel girder supporting the balcony is actually hung from the roof structure!

Did you enjoy “Rampage”?

I haven’t been to the Greenwich Odeon since it was “the filmworks”—not difficult for me to get to but AFAIK, as you mention, the IMAX auditorium has a relatively small sized screen; with the BFI and now the Leicester Square IMAX also easy for me to get to, it doesn’t seem worth the bother.

IMO it wasn’t worth visiting when it was “the filmworks,” very much a run of the mill multiplex; albeit, for better or worse, it was one of the earliest examples of an all-“black box” auditoria location in this country.

The last time I purchased food at a cinema was flavoured popcorn at the Odeon Leicester Square in the late 90s. Stopping by Five Guys before or after the performance is a better option in my view. ;–)