Picturehouse Central

Great Windmill Street and Shaftesbury Avenue,
London, W1D 7DH

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Related Websites

Picturehouse Cinemas UK (Official)

Additional Info

Operated by: Picturehouse Cinemas UK

Previously operated by: Cineworld, MGM Theatres, UGC, Virgin Cinemas

Firms: Panter Hudspith Architects

Functions: Movies (First Run), Movies (Foreign), Movies (Independent)

Previous Names: MGM Trocadero Cinemas, Virgin, UGC, Cineworld Cinema - Shaftesbury Avenue at the Trocadero

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 440871.902.5755

Nearby Theaters

Picturehouse Central

Located in the Trocadero Building, which opened as the Trocadero Palace of Varieties Theatre on 30th October 1882. It later became the Royal Trocadero Music Hall and then the Eden Theatre which closed on 24th February 1894. Over the following decades the building went through many uses, was gutted internally and partially re-built and the site expanded to include a Lyons Corner House restaurant and cabaret room.

A 7-screen multiplex cinema opened on 1st November 1991 as the MGM Trocadero Cinemas. Seating was originally provided for 1,393, later reduced to 1,293. The entrance was originally on Great Windmill Street and the cinema was reached via escalators which led to an upstairs foyer which had hanging on its walls, several 100 years old painted murals by artist Gerald Moira depicting an Arthurian scenes. These had originally been hung in the building when it was a restaurant.

MGM were later taken over by Virgin, who in turn were taken over by UGC and they operated the cinemas until mid-2005 when Cineworld took control. By 2008, the foyer and box office area had been transferred into an a space previously occupied by the Pepsi IMAX Cinema inside the Trocadero Centre, with entrances on Coventry Street and Shaftesbury Avenue.

The Cineworld was closed on 21st September 2014, to be converted into a 7-screen art house cinema, operated by Picturehouse Cinemas (now a subsidiary of Cineworld). It was designed by architectural firm Panter Hudsmith Architects. A new entrance was created at the corner of Great Windmill Street and Shaftesbury Avenue. A ‘soft’ opening of some of the screens began in mid-June 2015, with the official opening on 19th June 2015. There are 1,001 seats. The main Screen 1 has 341 seats and is equipped with 70mm and digital 4K DCP. plus Dolby Atmos sound. Screen 2 has 177 seats and has a wall-to-wall floating screen. Opening films included:“London Road”, Jurassic World", the Indonesian genocide documentary “The Look of Silence” and Tod Browning’s 1932 circus drama “Freaks”.

From 26th August 2020 “Tenet” will be screened in Screen 1 in 70mm.

Contributed by Jack Coursey, Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 35 comments)

SethLewis on July 12, 2015 at 11:02 pm

A great experience…a lovely ground floor cafe…well laid out mezzanine entrance with multiple ticket and snack points…pick and mix, donuts, and another bar so a great place to meet and chill before and after The cinema layouts appear to be similar to the old Cineworld but with new seats Saw Love & Mercy the Brian Wilson story great projection and sound No adverts Despite the high prices this is a great grown up place to see a movie

DavidSimpson on December 10, 2015 at 8:33 am

According to Picturehouse publicity in November 2015, the auditorium capacities are: Screen 1: 341, Screen 2: 177, Screen 3: 131, Screen 4: 127, Screen 5: 82, Screen 6: 78 and Screen 7: 65. A total of 1,001 seats.

SethLewis on December 10, 2015 at 11:14 am

Preview of Brooklyn a few weeks ago…can still inject a bit more professionalism into managing events and the wide range of things going on here…but as good a moviegoing experience as there is in London right now

CF100 on January 28, 2016 at 12:12 am

I spent a pleasant hour or so in the main bar, a comfortable and airy place to seek refuge from the chaos outside—at least earlier in the day!

The interior is a mish-mash; worst of all are the exposed ceilings/services, and bare brick walls—no objection to this, if it’s done right—not when it (particularly in the bar area) reveals the scars left by years of alterations. (The Trocadero is, after all, a labyrinth block of various buildings knocked together.)

Then there’s the “art” (to be charitable) by the entrance staircase…

Nit-picking aside, though, I concur with SethLewis—a very, very nice pre/post-film hangout.

Technical information

Some key points:

  • Screen 1/Screen 2 are renamed Screen 2/Screen 1.

  • Screen 1 is fitted with a Dolby Atmos system.

  • 2 largest screens are equipped with 4K projection.

  • 4 screens support RealD 3D.

  • 35mm/70mm capability in Screen 1 (formerly Screen 2), 35mm in Screen 7.

  • All auditoria retained but completely re-fitted, including increased floor rake in Screen 1 and increased screen sizes in 1 and 2.

Photos – inc. Screen 1

zanygang on August 19, 2017 at 9:39 pm

It’s the most expensive Picturehouse cinema, even on weekday daytimes.

It has got one of the best cinema cafes. Last time I had mushroom soup and chili beef

CF100 on September 5, 2017 at 6:24 pm

A short blurb on the refurbishment to create the Picturehouse, as well as a number of photos, are on the website of Phelan Construction:


The project duration was 20 weeks, including strip-out, minor structure alterations (to walls and floors, and new steel work) and fit-out.

PhilipWW on September 26, 2017 at 6:51 pm

I have just been into Screens 1 and 2, both excellent to watch movies in. Both had very large and impressive Scope screens, with no side masking if I recollect.

I was told that Screens 4 through 7 also have full Scope screens. Screen 3, for architectural reasons, just has a 1.85 screen which results in Scope films being shown letterboxed with no top/bottom masking.

I thought the cafe downstairs was excellent too. In fact, the whole cinema just has a nice feel to it which makes you want to go back there again.

CF100 on September 30, 2017 at 1:27 am

PhilipWW: Definitely! Good place to go even if you’re not seeing a film.

CF100 on September 12, 2019 at 1:38 pm

According to a press release titled “Christie RealLaser Helps Cineworld Eastbourne Become Europe’s First All-RGB Laser Cineplex,” Picturehouse Central has received an upgrade to Christie RGB laser projection. The specific auditorium is not mentioned, so it might be imagined that Screen 1 has received the upgrade.

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