I was lucky enough to be able to join many others, to celebrate the reopening of the redeveloped Vue West End on the 10th July.
The cinema is built on the site of Daly’s Theatre, which was opened on 27 June 1893, and demolished in 1937, having been sold to Warner Brothers who demolished it to build a large theatre and cinema called the “Warner Theatre” in 1938. Most of this was later demolished, although the frontage was retained, and the site redeveloped as the Warner Village cinema complex. It is now operated by Vue Cinemas, a brand which absorbed the Warner Village chain in 2003.
The architects of the 1938 cinema were Thomas Somerford and E. A. Stone. The frontage has a facade of faced reconstructed marble. The sculptor Bainbridge Copnall provided a large relief panel in each corner depicting the spirits of sight and sound.The cinema now has 9 screens with a total of 1388 seats, with 18 wheelchair spaces.
Vue has 86 cinemas in the UK with 839 screens and the cinema in London’s West End, is aiming to set a new standard for out of home entertainment with Vue having invested £6.6 million in redeveloping its iconic flagship Leicester Square site.
The venue is the first in the West End to provide consumers with fully reclining leather seats, alongside pin-sharp Dolby Atmos overhead and surround sound and new retail offerings. Using the latest technological advancement in sound and vision, combined with luxurious comfort to build a flagship which showcases the best that the industry has to offer. New developments at the West End flagship include:
New 62.7m² digital screen on the exterior of the building
A venue which boasts 1,388 leather VIP and luxurious leather reclining seats across nine auditoriums with stepped stadium seating.
The largest screen is 13.1 meters wide by 5.5 meters high
Vue have also installed their next generation retail offer with two new hot food concessions – Square Pie and Pizzeria Maletti – as well as a complete redesign of the foyer and existing bar area. Turning the entrance into an open airy space, having removed the old box office from the front of the foyer area.
Tim Richards, Founder and CEO, Vue International said: “I am delighted to re-open this iconic venue, one with a heritage in big screen entertainment dating back to 1938. In this flagship we have redefined the big screen experience, setting new standards for out of home entertainment. With Hollywood’s unprecedented commitment to movies, we are entering a golden age for cinema which can be enjoyed in an environment like no other. Where better to set the standards for big screen entertainment than in the heart of London’s West End.”
Guests to the opening event were treated to a champagne reception and the opportunity of trying some of the food from the new outlets before watching War for the Planet of the Apes in one of the two Dolby Atmos screens.
The sound and picture in the auditorium was amazing. Along with the reclining seats, it was a fantastic experience. The film was nearly two and a half hours but it just did not feel like it. It did not get uncomfortable at all.
It is really nice that all the cinemas in Leicester Square now have their own specific style and feel about them. The Vue is definitely a cinema that I will look at returning to, to watch a film in the future.
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