Empire 1 Cinema Leicester Square London

Discussion in 'Movies' started by DP 70, Aug 27, 2013.

  1. DP 70

    DP 70 Supporting Actor

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    Have just heard that best Single screen cinema in London is closed from Today to be made into 2 more screens.
    Only the Odeon Leicester Cinema now remains to be the only original Single screen cinema in West End of London.
     
  2. DP 70

    DP 70 Supporting Actor

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    Sorry should be Odeon Leicester Square.
     
  3. Will*B

    Will*B Supporting Actor

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    It's an absolute tragedy. I was at the Frightfest screening of BIG BAD WOLVES last night, which was the last showing in screen 1's current configuration. The organisers were being slightly secretive about Empire's plans for the property, but suffice to say it won't have the magic anymore.

    I've seen countless films in that screen, but the highlight is a beautiful projection of THE SPY WHO LOVED ME in 2008, introduced by Lewis Gilbert.

    Yet another magical cinema-going experience sacrificed for the sake of numbers. A sad day indeed.
     
  4. AdrianTurner

    AdrianTurner Banned

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    Sorry, DP 70, can you clarify:

    which auditorium is to be remodelled: is it the Empire or the Odeon?
     
  5. Twilight Time

    Twilight Time Insider
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    Really sorry to hear about the Empire...absolutely one of the greatest screens in modern London cinema. Have seen countless films there, including the premiere of "Pink Floyd: The Wall" which may have been the loudest audio experience I can remember...my good friend Dave Norris was the Empire's projectionist for years and years, and although it was sad when he moved recently from there to be Universal UK's top hand, he absolutely made the right decision as today's news attests...

    Nick.
     
  6. MartEvans

    MartEvans Stunt Coordinator

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    That's terrible. I guess $$$$ talk more than the experience (used $ because I'm on a US keyboard and can't find the pound sign!!). Fondest memory of that place is watching the audience reaction to the bed cover scene from Trainspotting back in the day :)
     
  7. Mark Oates

    Mark Oates Supporting Actor

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    FFS! I thought the days of carving up proper theatres into multiscreens was over. They're always a mess, waste capacity and are an inevitable sign of decline and closure. Bloody disgusting.
     
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  8. DP 70

    DP 70 Supporting Actor

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    Hi Adrian,

    It is Empire 1 that is being remodelled, I have seen some great movies in all formats including Logans Run in
    70mm being the best, Earthquake in 70mm Sensurround, The Eagle has Landed in 4-Track, The Battle of
    Midway in 35mm Sensurround, Batman Forever in Dolby Digital, and many others up to the new Star Trek in
    Dolby Atmos .
    I used to know Alan the old Chief projectionist and still remember first going up the box during the run of
    Earthquake in 70mm and seeing how great the picture looked, also of course using 3 x Phillips DP70s.

    Of course when 70mm THX was installed with the Laser Show for Indy 3 it was named Showplace of the
    Nation.
     
  9. Douglas R

    Douglas R Cinematographer

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    I'm terribly sorry to hear this news as well, although I suppose it was inevitably going to happen at some time. I used to see just about every film playing at the Empire when it was showing exclusive MGM product - such a luxurious cinema with seats which one sank into. Dave showed me round the projection booth about 2 years ago. There was still a 70mm projector there, although not in working order. Cinema going and presentation certainly isn't what it used to be.
     
  10. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    Never been there, but I am very sorry to hear this.
     
  11. ahollis

    ahollis Lead Actor

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    The news is distressing. I have seen and enjoyed several movies there. I always attended the Empire and Odeon when I visited London.
     
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  12. john a hunter

    john a hunter Supporting Actor

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    This has made me feel really old.
    I remember going to the opening of the"new" Empire (no other screens then, of course) in, what 1962 , when "Jumbo"started there. There was a prefilm talk about the history of the cinema with slides and clips.
    The first 70mm I recall there was "Unstinkable Molly Brown" but will always remember it for "Ryan's Daughter" which looked and sounded superb.
     
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  13. AdrianTurner

    AdrianTurner Banned

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    It is sad but I guess inevitable. I actually remember going to the original Empire in 1960 and seeing Ben-Hur - and that visit, as a schoolboy, sort of changed my life and I thought, hey, I rather like this cinema thing. The cinema had a grand circle in those days and incredibly elaborate decor. It was of course MGM's flagship in Europe.

    The next time I went to that cinema (to see Come Fly With Me or maybe it was The VIPs!) it had been converted into roughly the cinema we know today. I remember those pinkish-red seats had reclining back, there was weird ambient lighting that changed all the time, preventing you from reading your souvenir brochure. The view from the front section of seating was terrible if someone sat in front of you yet the rear section of seating, with a stadium-style rake, was too far from the screen.

    I suppose the films I associate most with the 'new' Empire are Doctor Zhivago and Ryan's Daughter. The last film I saw there was probably the first press screening of Gladiator in 2000AD.
     
  14. Anthony Neilson

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    This is melancholy news for me. The Empire 1 was the best cinema in the UK, imo. Its appeal was partly nostalgic - this was the cinema I first saw 2001 in, on my first ever visit to London in 1980 and it was the cinema that, even now, most resembles the auditoria (?) of my childhood - but it was also comfortable and atmospheric and I found the sound and projection to always be of a high standard.

    These days, I go less and less to the cinema. Advances in Home Cinema technology have made a difference, admittedly, but I'd still choose to see films in cinemas first were it not for the various disincentives: Poor projection, uncomfortable seating, erratic heating, inappropriate lighting, high prices, annoying adverts (damn you Kevin Bacon!),noisy food and beverages - the list grows by the year (and let's not forget terrible movies). But my chief bugbear is talking. At least 50 percent of my cinemagoing experiences are ruined by inconsiderate people talking in the theatre. Talking can't be a new phenomenon but I don't remember it being such an issue when I was younger. It seems to have increased since ushers - who once had to sit through every screening- have been absent from the theatres. Once you've passed the person tearing ticket-stubs, you can climb several floors without ever seeing another member of staff.

    Yet I've found far fewer problems with large screen cinemas like the Empire, or the Odeon Leicester Square (how long will that last now?) or the BFI/ Odeon IMAX. Could it be the size of the cinema that makes the difference? After all, if we're squeezing people into spaces not much bigger than their living rooms, can we be surprised if the less intelligent act like they're at home?

    The closure of the Empire is one more nail in the coffin of my cinema-going, anyway. I wish I'd known this was going to happen - I'd have paid it one last visit. It was, I should add, the only cinema in London (in the UK?) equipped with Dolby Atmos, and I didn't get to hear that either. The best we can hope is that this beautiful screen is at least converted to IMAX, rather than divided up into smaller screens. They're being very circumspect about their plans, in any case. I think maybe they knew there'd be an outcry - even a campaign - if they'd let this information be widely known beforehand.

    But it's a sad thing; and sadly emblematic of the world today.
     
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  15. Malcolm Bmoor

    Malcolm Bmoor Stunt Coordinator

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    You'd imagine that plans would have been made long enough ago to avoid spending whatever it cost to install Dolby Atmos. I'd been planning a visit to hear it but made the mistake of waiting for a decent film. Last time I was there (or any other cinema) was on free tickets for the premiere of FLIGHT and the behaviour of the children with popcorn ensured my continued avoidence of cinemas.

    If there is any market for decent films it's not from those children and most cinema has sunk into a morass of CGI & deafening noise. If there is such a thing as choice between all these identikit infantile productions there will now be one more place for me to avoid seeing them.

    Best stay home with mature movies in a controlled environment.

    I'll remember with gratitude some wonderful experiences at The Empire, such as Doctor Zhivago, Ryan's Daughter, 2001 and Brainstorm. I also remember that before a long ago surround speaker upgrade some inadequate ceiling installed toys were rattling out of control during Battle Of Midway.
     
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  16. DP 70

    DP 70 Supporting Actor

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    Its so good to see so many people feel the same as me about this cinema , its lucky we still have the Pictureville
    Cinema in Bradford for Cinerama and 70mm on the big curved screen.

    Re the last post 4 of the Sensurround films were shown at the Empire I wonder what it was like watching a film
    at the Ritz next door ( now Empire 2) at the same time.

    You can bet they will not put a projection box in 1 of the new screens, they will just put the Digital projector at
    the back and the amps and processors behind the screen with a GO button in the managers office.
     
  17. Will*B

    Will*B Supporting Actor

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  18. Billy Batson

    Billy Batson Cinematographer

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    Yup, I also saw The Wall there, but it's not a cinema I ever warmed to, the screen seemed too far away. I much prefered the other two cinemas in the square, the Leicester Square Theatre & the Odeon Leicester Square. My favorite uptown cinema was just outside the West End, the Odeon Marble Arch. Oh well, all the local cinemas of my childhood have closed down (years ago), so all change, you just have to tell yourself it's for the better...& try to believe it!
     
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  19. Paul_Warren

    Paul_Warren Second Unit

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    Shutting that screen is pathetic its truly one of the most amazing on planet earth. I had some incredible experiences there. Indiana Jones 1-3 in THX, Star Trek's 1-6, BTTF Trilogy, Jurassic Park 1 in DTS, True Lies in DTS & many more. All incredible experiences it was IMO the best screen in the world. The THX certified sound proofing & seating positioning made it a never to be forgotten experience. Lucas + Spielberg attended several royal premieres there as did so many others. George Lucas + some of the main prequel actors even turned up in 2005 at a very special Star Wars 1-6 marathon (Lucas was unfairly booed/cheered when he said no more SW & he was working on Indy 4 instead!!).

    Paramount + Universal co-owned it for many years then sold it when their joint venture in europe was dissolved.

    The only other decent sounding screens in Leicester Square are THX Screen5 & 7 in the VUE (old Warner West End cinema sold to VUE) the rest are pretty dire soundwise especially the Odeon which gets used for most UK premiere's is especially poor due to the unusual balcony interferring with the soundscape.

    Really dumb decision from Empire Cinemas but expected really as its next door to a nightclub & they struggle to get high profile movies booked as the other bigger theatre chains block them all the time so I should imagine they could not survive much longer unless they break it up into smaller screens. But how many screens do they need they have 8 already!

    Personally I hope they fail miserably screen1 was a true flagship & mecca for any cinemaphile to destroy that is just unbelievable such a shame its not protected by listed building status............
     
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  20. andySu

    andySu Cinematographer

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    Sad shame, shame Empire. :(
     

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