MGM Oxford Street

16 Oxford Street,
London, W1D 1AU

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Cannon Cinemas, Classic Cinemas (UK), MGM Theatres

Functions: Retail

Previous Names: Classic 1-2-3-4 Oxford Street, Classic 1-2-3-4-5 Oxford Street, Cannon 1-2-3-4-5 Oxford Street

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MGM Oxford Street

This elegant building located at the Tottenham Court Road end of London’s busy Oxford Street was built in 1927 as one of the Lyons Corner House restaurant complexes. Originally the site housed the New Oxford Theatre (which has is own page on Cinema Treasures).

The cinema’s were built in the basement of the building and opened on 22nd December 1977 as the 4-screen Classic 1-2-3-4 Oxford Street. "Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger" opened the 323 seat Classic 1, "The Hiding Place" opened the 234 seat Classic 2, "Death is Childs Play" opened the 184 seat Classic 3 and "Wizards" opened the 228 seat Classic 4. The entrance to the cinemas was through a narrow door at the extreme left (west side) of the building and had a vertical name sign and a canopy over the entrance. In early-1978 a licenced bar was added for the convenience of patrons.

Classic 5 opened on 23rd August 1979 with only 76 seats and intitially projection in this screen was by 16mm prints.

The Classic generally showed first-run movies, together with all the other first run houses. It was taken over by the Cannon Group in May 1982 and re-named Cannon Oxford Street. In the late-1980’s it was taken over by and re-named MGM. It closed on 11th May 1994 playing 1. "Ace Ventura-Pet Detective", 2. "Deadly Advice", 3. "Backbeat"(matinee)/"Kalifornia"(evening), 4. "My Father the Hero", 5. "The Pelican Brief".

The space was then converted into retail use to expand the Virgin Megastore which occupied the rest of the building. Virgin was re-named Zavvi in early-2008. Zavvi closed in early-2009, and in 2011 work began to convert the entire building into a Primark clothing store.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

AdoraKiaOra on October 22, 2007 at 8:23 am

This was an truly abismal place to see a film. Shoeboxes is the word to describe the dirty auditoriums in this rip off complex. I was pleased when it went.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on June 25, 2008 at 3:51 am

A set of vintage photographs of the Classic/Cannon/MGM Oxford Street:
View link

scott99 on October 15, 2008 at 6:52 pm

This place looked really seedy from the outside

Eric Evans
Eric Evans on March 23, 2012 at 10:51 am

I’ve uploaded a photo I took in 1990.

SethLewis on May 4, 2013 at 4:27 am

Even at its best this was one of the lesser cinema experiences in London…Saw Manhattan in 1979 on first run here but enjoyed far more in the spaciousness of the Leroy (now Vendome) in Brussels

Billy on February 14, 2017 at 9:32 am

Zavvi closed in early 2009 at this location.

Lionel on October 2, 2023 at 10:39 am

Can somebody point me to a site where it would be possible to find the plans of the building when it was the 5-screen cinema? Maybe some local government site where estate properties are registered? I’m not familiar at all with that kind of service in the UK and don’t know where to start.

Biffaskin on October 3, 2023 at 10:17 am

Lionel: The Land Registry in the UK will hold a plan of the property boundaries, the local authority for the area it is in MAY have plans (in this case the City of Westminster, London), or you can try the Borough’s Library Service and ask them.

Unfortunately, UK planning doesn’t require consent for internal alterations to a building, that is usually only required for external alterations, extensions and the like where the building is being enlarged, requires consent as part of a conservation area, or is a Listed Building.

That said, UK cinema licensing does require plans to be submitted I think, and they too would be lodged with the local council as well.

I hope trat this helps!


Lionel on October 3, 2023 at 11:40 am

Thank you Darron for your reply. Actually, as an example, a user here posted the following link regarding the Swiss Center, allowing to download the cinema plan as PDF from the website when it was submitted in 2005 for the building plan:

Based on this, I searched the same site for the address 16 Oxford Street but it gave no result. Maybe it’s too old to be available digitally in their online library. I’ll keep searching…

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