Empire Cinemas

45 Queensmere Centre,
Slough, SL1 1DD

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Additional Info

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

Architects: Bill Fisher

Firms: Farrington Dennys Fisher

Previous Names: Maybox Movie Centre, Gallery, Virgin, UGC, Cineworld Cinema -Slough

Nearby Theaters

Maybox Cinema

Situated in the Queensmere Shopping Center in Slough, Berkshire.

10 screens spread across 4 floors. Seating capacities in the screens range from 487, down to 96. The cinema has seen many different chains operate the site and is a good example of how the cinema industry in the UK has changed over the years. It was built for the Maybox Group opening on 3rd November 1987 as the Maybox Movie Centre, then from 3rd May 1989 it became the Gallery when it was operated by Cineplex Odeon. Later operators were Virgin, UGC and Cineworld.

Formerly two separate buildings, Screen 4 used to be a theatre that had a removable screen. The stage area still remains behind the screen with all the fixtures and fittings still in place. Unfortunately after a very poor refurbishment by Virgin Cinemas, the screen masking cannot be moved.

In its heyday the site was one of the busiest cinemas in the UK with well over 1,000,000 admissions per year, but due to increasing competition and lack of investment these has steadily been eroded.

In 2022 it was announced that the ageing 1970’s Queensmere shopping Centre would be at the heart of a new major re-development, which would also include the nearby Observatory Shopping Centre, into what will be known as Slough Central. In late-2022 British Land, the lead contractor, announced that the western side of the Queensmere Centre would be closing from January 2023. Many shops and restaurants in that area had already closed, or relocated, and, on 9th December 2022, Empire Cinemas confirmed that their cinema had closed on the previous evening. Empire bosses said that, as the works progress around the cinema, trading would inevitably become increasingly difficult. leading to reduced footfall, and they have therefore taken the decision to close the cinema sooner rather than later.

Contributed by Neil Stapley

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on June 19, 2008 at 5:30 pm

Photographed as the Cineworld in January 2004:

phxyvr on October 27, 2010 at 5:05 pm

The Architects for the refurbishment of the building into Maybox Cinemas were Farringdon Dennys Fisher, formerly of 1 Mercer St., London. The building had been used as a community center previously. The partner in charge was Bill Fisher.

Billy on February 25, 2015 at 2:53 am

As perhaps imagined due to the huge amount of former owners, the inside styling is a mishmash of 1990s and 2000s design from its various former incarnations.

The top floor (screens 6 to 9) in particular appears to have been completely untouched since around the turn of the millennium, to the point where as of February 2015 it continues to advertise the long, long closed Virgin Megastore on the ground floor – a brand defunct since 2007!

iankingdon1980 on November 17, 2017 at 3:49 am

I was a senior projectionist there in 1999-2002 when it was UGC with Ian Bolton and ron shepard who where original from the abc central in reading .screen 4 still has the changing rooms for the theatre under the stage also the projector could be seen through the glass fronted projection room

LARGE_screen_format on September 5, 2018 at 1:50 pm

Watched a bunch of movies at this cinema during the early to mid 90’s. Think it was run by MGM in those days?

See that it has changed ownership a number of times since then but it is sad to read that there has been little to no investment over the past two decades.

When did Empire Cinemas take over? I notice they have converted one of the auditoriums (screen 4) to an IMPACT screen. The bookings page quotes 283 seats yet on the auditorium information page it states 354 which is a noticeable difference. Also screen, which the largest auditorium, quotes 435 seats on the bookings page but 467 on the auditorium information page.

Pricing seems good value, peak times £8.50 for adults or £8.75 for 2D IMPACT (£10.25 for 3D IMPACT). A mere 25p (£1.75 for 3D) uplift charge for IMPACT screenings is a no-brainer!

A couple of things I don’t like are unreserved seating for all performances and have the aisle running right through the centre of the auditorium. What is the point of booking in advance if you still have to arrive early in order to obtain a good seating position?

Screen 10 has all ‘premium’ seating which carries no additional charge. Not sure if these are the same so-called ‘premium’ seats as found at Empire, High Wycombe or not? But I found there to be nothing particularly premium about them. They are located in the back three rows only in screens 3 & 4 (the two identical largest auditoriums). No uplift charge for these seats but previously these could only be booked online and not in person at the cinema. Not sure if that is still the case or not? When I watched The Wolf of Wall Street I opted for premium seats to see what they were like and was disappointed. They didn’t seem any more premium than the standard seats. The leg room is poor if you are a tall person. Have not chosen those seats again since.

rivest266 on May 21, 2021 at 11:36 pm

Placed its 1st ad as Gallery Cinemas Slough on May 3rd, 1989. The logo is the same as Cineplex Odeon.

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