Odeon Luxe London Leicester Square

26 Leicester Square,
London, WC2H 7LQ

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Showing 101 - 125 of 754 comments

moviebuff82 on July 8, 2019 at 2:28 pm

Since it’s own by AMC, have they cropped the image of the full frame used for full frame dolby movies like they do in rockaway, nj?

CF100 on July 8, 2019 at 2:17 pm

RadioVenus: Thank you for posting photos of curtain tracks, etc.

It is disappointing in the extreme to hear that the aspects of presentation you describe were at such an unacceptably low standard on the occasion that you visited.

From your description, I assume that the house lights remained fully raised during the “Dolby Cinema” trailer?

I hope that this practice of keeping house rights fully raised until the main feature doesn’t spread—I experienced it a few weeks ago at a recently opened “local” small multiplex, although I assumed it was a mistake—but perhaps it was so that patrons could find their seats?

Regarding your photo of the under-canopy (or under-“glass box”/extended circle lounge!) “blown” light bulbs, I have noticed this, too; when I originally saw the proposals for the revamped façade, I suspected that such luminaires would invite this problem…

Good to see the photo you have uploaded of the screen/house tabs from the 1998 OLS refurbishment—certainly illustrates well the detailed accounts by FanaticalAboutOdeon!

RadioVenus on July 6, 2019 at 12:30 am

And by the way, I used to love the way the curtains “billowed” while this cinema was still owned by Rank!

RadioVenus on July 6, 2019 at 12:27 am

I am not sure what is happening at the Odeon right now. I visited the cinema at the end of June to see “Men In Black.” Although the blue tabs were hanging there, they were not used at all during the performance. When I asked a staff member at the Odeon as to why the curtains were not used, his reply was incredible! “Well we show films all day so we leave the curtains open”. Really?? The lighting seemed to be all over the place. The bright, cold house lights remained fully on during the adverts and during all the trailers. No spots were shining on the Flying Ladies. The lights were only switched off for the main feature. At the end of the movie, during the credits, the house lights came full on, and then immediately, the service lights came on as well. The House lights then were switched off. Cold and totally unprofessional. I remember the days of subtle lighting, 2 sets of tabs and a totally professional presentation. If this is AMC’s flagship, I wish everything was left as it was before it became this characterless black hole. Sorry AMC. You really need to sort this mess out.

terry on June 17, 2019 at 1:28 pm

FanaticalAboutOdeon is quite correct. As I recall now, the term is indeed ‘billowing’ :–)

FanaticalAboutOdeon on June 17, 2019 at 8:33 am

CF100 I am indeed looking forward to a little detective work during my visit. Uniquely, OLLS does have a dedicated team of three responsible for the technical aspects of its operation – its Dolby Cinema Screen One is still clearly the most important cinema on the circuit. The new house curtain motor is extremely slow and the tabs certainly need to travel slightly faster.

Terry is spot on with regard to the dimming out of lights and operation of curtains. The correct, and most effective, way to do this – in cinemas great and small – was once second nature to all projectionists but so much experience was lost when the rush from film to digital destroyed much and discarded many in its path. House lights should be dimmed out first, followed by any decorative or intermediate lighting other than that on the tabs before finally the pageants or footlights on the tabs begin dimming as the tabs part. The dimming should be timed so that the last glimmer of light is extinguished seconds before the tabs end their journey. When the OLS had both screen and house tabs, they had the additional luxury of a further “step” using the three colour circuit profile spots on the circle front (colours: medium amber, primary red and bright blue) they would dim out the ambers first as the house (red velvet) tabs opened so that while the tabs were opening, the silver satin screen tabs were revealed and bathed in light changing from pink to magenta as the fading amber left them lit in red and blue. Just as the house tabs came to a stop, the screen tabs would open and during their opening the red would be dimmed out first followed by the blue as the screen itself was fully revealed. There were sometimes exceptions naturally but this was the routine for many years and with a total of eighteen 2K spots, it was like a firework display! The screen tabs always closed briefly immediately prior to the feature and be lit either blue or red. The programme end was no less spectacular when the screen tabs would begin to close. Once about ten feet of the screen tabs were visible, the house tabs would follow them in and the spots brought up in the order blue, red and amber. When the house tabs finally met and house lights came up, the blue spots were dimmed out leaving the red house tabs lit by red and amber and looking particularly warm and luxurious.

Terry’s bellowing is probably what I would call billowing and I sometimes thought this looked quite dramatic and spectacular. It did tend to apply to the flimsier, unlined tabs – including the OLS screen tabs (the velvet house tabs were lined and much more substantial). I vividly recall very eye-catching satin tabs billowing majestically open at ABC (Elite) Middlesbrough and Majestic Leeds as well as OLS. The “animation” of the tabs when this happened made the most of the fading glimmers of their lighting and led you straight into the screen image. The danger was that such activity could lead to the bottom of the tabs ending up where they shouldn’t, like in the masking trough below the screen wherein lay the lower track along which adjustable side masking travelled when screen ratios were changed. The chain suspended within the hem of the tabs could preclude the fabric of the tabs simply rolling out and hanging straight. Then you had problems and a projectionist would need to go on stage and extricate the errant tabs.

The most expensive tabs and sophisticated lighting control is no good unless the operator is trained how to use them to greatest effect.

CF100 on June 14, 2019 at 7:10 pm

Regarding the screen position/tabs use—hard to tell from the CTA visit video, but it doesn’t look different to pre-tabs photos of the post-2018 refurbishment stage end—i.e. nearer the proscenium opening than previous.

Comparing the linked image to photos of the auditorium with the new tabs fitted, it seems quite clear that there is indeed room for them.

Slightly moving the screen forward/backwards to allow for “blockbusters” (?!) makes no sense as it would make very little difference indeed to the field of view filled by the screen; I might suggest on the order of moving seat to the next row back.

FanaticalAboutOdeon: Looking at the CTA trip video as it pans around the auditorium (direct link to time in video), the lighting for the new curtains appears to be positioned in the rear corners at booth level.

Good to hear that your trip this month will not be the last to your favourite cinema!

CF100 on June 14, 2019 at 6:39 pm

I wonder if there are any on site technical staff at the OLS; or, like other sites, reliant solely on an “itinerant” area team, and Odeon’s Network Operations Centre.

(Not sure if Dolby have their own NOS for Dolby Cinema, as IMAX do for IMAX Digital sites.)

The article covering the Odeon Orpington in the September 2016 issue of Cinema Technology has a good overview of today’s practices under the “TECHNICAL MANAGEMENT” section.

(Conveniently, it is available as a stand-alone PDF file.)

Presumably, then, tab floodlights on/off and tab opening/closing could simply be triggered at the same time.

It isn’t quite clear from the CTA trip video whether the installation allows for the tab floodlights to be dimmed.

One of the problems with LED installations (depending on factors such as the controllers used) is dissatifactory fades with “stepping” (rather than smooth “continuous” action) and particularly the issue of simply switching from dim to off. The latter can be clearly seen in the video with the splay wall concealed lights (“behind” the flying ladies)—albeit (relatively) it isn’t too bad.

To my mind, the correct sequencing would be to fade the splay wall concealed lights, then start fading the tab floodlights as the tabs open, timed so that they are out as the tabs reach the edge of the lit area, say about 75% open.


The ‘bellowing’ I refer to is when the tabs would ‘waft’ forward of the footlights (at about a 105 – 110 degree angle) which did not look very professional.

Thank you for the explanation. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that!

terry on June 14, 2019 at 6:17 pm

Interesting video of the CTA visit at OLS.

After a considerable absence, however, the technical staff are going to have to refamiliarise themselves with the use of the tabs for presentation; I refer to the lighting on the house tabs being doused before they actually start to part.

Whatever type of illumination is in use ( footlights, pageant lighting or spotlights on the splay walls), it should be gradually dimmed as the curtains open.

CF100: The ‘bellowing’ I refer to is when the tabs would ‘waft’ forward of the footlights (at about a 105 – 110 degree angle) culminating in the “oscillating” you mention. This applied more to the flimsier screen tabs as opposed to the heavier house tabs.

CF100 on June 14, 2019 at 6:44 am

Video of the main OLS auditorium from CTA visit (on 01/06/2019) including the new curtains, “Duchess” recital, Dolby Atmos trailer, Dolby Cinema trailer, and the “digital” safety curtain.

The tabs take ~25 seconds to open. Slow!

CF100 on June 13, 2019 at 8:25 pm


I am slightly bemused, however, about the requirement for the faster opening and closing of the tabs. Fifteen seconds was considered about right for a 40 – 50 feet proscenium width, any faster (especially with the plenum in use) being likely to result in the ‘bellowing effect’.

Do you mean the curtains “oscillating” around once their run has finished, as can be seen in a video of the old Empire 1? (Direct link to time in video.) If I’m not mistaken, the timing there was under 15 seconds—and a greater distance to travel!

As for “nit-picking”—IMO this is precisely the sort of information that adds tremendous value to Cinema Treasures. ;–)

CF100 on June 13, 2019 at 8:23 pm

martinC: Agree with your comment on “Rocketman”—I was “dragged along” to reluctantly see it (alas not at the OLS!)—far better than expected and a first class performance by Taron Egerton.

A shame to hear about your experiences of trying to acquire organ performance times.

Surely this needs liaising with the projectionist?

Excepting those occasions when the retained Victoria 8 is brought back into action for 35/70mm screenings, I very much doubt there is one in the building…

In addition, the first 5 minutes of the Odeon info on screen and the ads were completely without any sound! So we all sat there in silence.


In case it would be of interest to anyone reading this, there will be a “Wurlitzer 90th Birthday” gala concert at the Musical Museum in West London this Sunday… as a venue nowhere near on the same level the OLS, but its organ is certainly mightily impressive!

CF100 on June 13, 2019 at 7:33 pm

Goodness—that was unexpected! I, too, extend my gratitude to Ian for reporting on this and the wonderful photos.

Whilst the alterations aren’t “perfect” (e.g. replacement sidewalls/ceiling with straight sections of stretched fabric) the new curtains certainly provide a much needed finishing touch in restoring the OLS back to “super cinema” status, bringing back ambience, warmth; and, dare I say it in these “postmodern” times, an element of the “fourth wall.”

Kudos to Odeon—even if they should have been there from “day one!”

FanaticalAboutOdeon on June 5, 2019 at 2:25 pm

Clearances for the new curtains ought not to be a problem as they are hung on the house tabs track, i.e. the more forward of the two tracks. The pale blue satin tabs which were used for many years were 1998’s screen tabs and used the rear track closer to the screen frame. 1998’s grey satin house tabs hung out of use for many years as their track was damaged by the separate 3D screen frame which was lowered and raised as necessary and was positioned between the two curtain tracks.

The main screen frame (and banks of speakers on separate, huge trolleys) have been able to be “wheeled” back and forth for many years and this was how, for example, the BAFTA Awards sets were accommodated on the relatively shallow stage. The screen frame’s mobility is no innovation.

mike2001 on June 2, 2019 at 4:12 pm

I believe that the movement of the screen backwards is only used to facilitate a live performance, & should mean that the Tabs are used at all times.

terry on June 2, 2019 at 12:34 pm

Finally, someone has seen sense!

The fitting of the blue velvet house tabs has improved astronomically the look of the auditorium.

I do not believe that Odeon (under the influence of umbrella organisation, AMC) would ever have made this move had it not been for much adverse criticism and I would very much like to think that the many, many comments recorded on this particular site have been particularly influential……

Certainly, in bygone days, the two major circuits , Rank and ABC had a strict policy of Managers collating all media coverage – be it good or bad – of the circuits' theatres for onward transmission to the powers that be and I do not imagine that this will have changed.

I am slightly bemused, however, about the requirement for the faster opening and closing of the tabs. Fifteen seconds was considered about right for a 40 – 50 feet proscenium width, any faster (especially with the plenum in use) being likely to result in the ‘bellowing effect’.

This is ‘nit picky’, however, as the important factor is Odeon’s willingness to bow to public opinion. Their ‘flagship’ once again is precisely that.

Most unlikely, I know , but it would be brilliant if this change of heart were to herald a ‘sea change’ regarding Odeon’s no tabs policy circuit wide ; certainly larger auditoria are far better with curtains than without them.

The same goes for the likes of Everyman who, after a promising start, then decided not to include these attractive features in situations such as York, Crystal Palace etc.

I should add that OLS would be ill advised to not use the tabs for ‘large screen’ ‘blockbusters’ as this would totally defeat the object.

HowardBHaas on June 2, 2019 at 11:30 am

Since my comment above, I’ve been told by someone who visited the Odeon that the screen can be moved backwards a bit, but will appear a bit smaller, and in that position the curtains can be used. When the screen is forward it will appear bigger, but then curtains can’t be used. I’ve been told that “blockbusters” might appear on the larger screen without curtains. However, unless AMC makes a statement somewhere clarifying this, the only way audiences are really going to find out will be by seeing a movie & reporting! I’ve seen the last 3 James Bond movies here so I hope at least some of the “blockbusters” will have the curtain used. I’ve also seen here British & other films that are not blockbusters….

FanaticalAboutOdeon on June 2, 2019 at 8:08 am

Ian: Your pictures of today showing the new curtains installed at Odeon Leicester Square are magnificent and, six months after reopening, almost incredible. Clearly an afterthought after so long and – in the great scheme of things – neither an expensive nor a complicated feature to reintroduce. The difference they make to the presentation standard is invaluable.

I wouldn’t be in the least surprised if Odeon/AMC had taken heed of this site; in my day with Rank Theatres, managers were regularly reminded to send H.O. any press cuttings, magazine articles etc. which contained the words Odeon or Gaumont and feedback of all varieties was valued highly. Consumer feedback is, I imagine, at least as valued today given the number of platforms we have on which air our opinion. Although the majority of feedback will presumably be about general issues – films, cinema prices, confectionery prices, parking etc. rather than a particular venue, a scan down this site leaves no doubt about the depth of feeling OLS engenders.

I was to have made my final visit to OLS later this month but, “Hallelujah!” this will no longer be the case now that the Odeon looks more like the premiere theatre it always was. I will be interested to see where the source of the light so effectively illuminating the curtains is located as the original “pageant box” was destroyed early in 2018.

I have to agree that the playing of the organ is very “hit and miss” for an element of the programme often boasted about in OLS publicity. I think the organ should be played before every normal film performance. There must be competent organists out there who could do the honours when Donald is unavailable. He has done so much to promote and record the “Duchess” over many years we – and Odeon Cinemas – owe him a huge debt of gratitude.

Thank you Ian, for making my day with such amazing news and photo’s.

SethLewis on June 2, 2019 at 7:07 am

Visiting OLS should be a special occasion – to the point of studios offering one week exclusive runs. Of course the curtains should be used. No brainer

HowardBHaas on June 2, 2019 at 6:30 am

Hi, Ian, I only visit from the States once a year, but this cinema partly because of its vast auditorium has always been the most impressive London movie theater for me to enjoy movies in, and I’ve seen 15 movies in it over the years. I was upset at the loss of proper curtains. That’s happened too often in the States, and London in recent years, but I am overjoyed at reading your news & seeing the photos above! I hope this means the curtains will actually be used before & after each movie. Some of the premium prices mentioned after it reopened sounded like they hiked them too high, but I will pay a bit of a premium for a really nice, fun experience- with the curtains!

Ian on June 2, 2019 at 2:58 am

Good news!

Screen tabs have been fitted and are in use at the OLS – perhaps they read the comments here? lol

At present they are awaiting a new motor which will operate the curtains at a faster speed, but as can be seen in the pictures below are a blue velvet material. Together with the re-installation of a version of the “flying ladies” the appearance of the auditorium has been made MUCH better. Now they just have to address MartinC’s comments and sort out the schedule and information.





curmudgeon on May 31, 2019 at 7:25 am

martinC, I share your frustration. It would appear Odeon really have lost the plot in cinema presentation. Your experience with the organ playing (or not) defies belief. If the house manager has no idea what is happening, what hope is there of the staff being informed? Of course, one would hope that at least one cinema employee would have the interest and pride of working in one of the most famous cinemas in the world to be informed, but apparently I’m living in a dream world. I’m also astounded that after the money and time spent on this “so called” restoration that screen tabs were not included. IMHO, walking into a cinema and being confronted with a blank screen is the most un-inspiring atmospheres one can experience. Sadly, this trend has established itself here in Australia. Even the few remaining cinemas with screen curtains has become a “hit and miss” situation. Sometimes they’re used, but more often not, and definitely not on cue. Luckily, the older screens mainly still use masking for different ratio’s, but I’ve found found newer installations not even bothering with this masking of the screen. And don’t even start me on ‘scope films. Remember when 2:31 ratio had side masking opening up to fit the image??? My cinema going has hit rock-bottom.

martinC on May 29, 2019 at 6:09 pm

Last weekend I went to see Rocketman – great film. However, my first time in the refurbished Odeon Leicester Square and although the staff were all lovely, some of them hadn’t got a clue and so the name badges with film titles on them should have read “Fawlty Towers”.

The week before I went in to ask what days the organist played and the nice young man on the front doors knew exactly what I was talking about and said Fridays and Saturdays. I asked if he would play the following weekend but he didn’t know and said to ask again next week.

There is no information whatsoever on the Odeon website.

On Tuesday last week I went back in and nobody had a clue what I was talking about. Eventually a member of staff overhead and said that he plays Fridays and Saturdays 15 minutes before the 5.30pm programme. When I asked if he would definitely play this weekend he wasn’t able to tell me and said to ask again on Thursday!

So on Thursday I went in again and asked and it was like getting blood out of a stone. One man said “I think he’ll be here tomorrow but we don’t know about Saturday”.

So on Saturday I went into the foyer again and asked if the organist would be playing at 5.15pm today. The staff looked at me like I’d got two heads! One asked another, another asked another and then finally a really helpful man said “well he did play yesterday so he’ll probably play again today but we don’t know yet” When I said he was due to start playing in 25 minutes I was told “we haven’t seen him come in yet, we usually see him come through the front doors but he doesn’t actually check in with anybody, he just comes in, plays the organ and goes home!” After 10 minutes I asked again and this time somebody radioed to ask and the answer was “we don’t know”.

I spoke to someone else and asked them if they could help, but no. I said surely you don’t have the organist come in to the building and go under the stage and rise up out of out the pit without anybody knowing? Surely this needs liaising with the projectionist? Also, if the management don’t know, what about health and safety? The organist could come in, go sub stage, have a heart attact and nobody knows because he supposedly just turns up and plays without letting anyone know?

So I waited and waited until 5.10pm and approached the lady duty manager and explained. I said that nobody seemed to have the answer and surely someone in charge would know? She said to hang on a moment and I’ll go and find out and disappered in a door under the Circle stairs. This was the last I saw of her! She never came back to me at all.

At 5.25pm when the programme was due to start in 5 minutes a very nice young man came up to me and said “I’m sorry but we still don’t know if the organist is going to be playing today so if I give you a complimentary ticket for the film at least if he does play then its a bonus” I thanked him very much but said if the organist was playing today he would have started 10 minutes ago so he’s obviously not going to be so I went in to the Stalls and what did I see and hear? Yes THE ORGAN BEING PLAYED!

So all the while the duty manager and the other staff said they had no idea whether or not he’d arrived, he was actually entertaining the audience so i got the last 5 minutes of his performance. I ran out and told the man who’d given me the comp ticket that the organist was there AND playing.

The film was great and it was kind of them to give me a free ticket but I had gone specifically to hear the organist and see the film so I sat there seeing about the incompetence of the management.

In addition, the first 5 minutes of the Odeon info on screen and the ads were completely without any sound! So we all sat there in silence.

The new seats are great but the whole ambience of the flagship of the Odeon chain has been lost by no longer having any screen tabs. That is fine in the tiny screens but where is the cinematic theatricality of going to a super cinema without the curtains and the coloured lighting on them? One only has to look at how super cinemas like the Plaza Stockport are proud of their heritage and make going to the cinema an event, plus they too have an organ.

One of the Odeon staff who did talk to me said they had invested a lot of money restoring the Organ, so if thats the case wouldn’t you think they’d be proud of it and actually want to promote it so that audiences could choose a performance online where they knew the organ was a feature. If its a case of the organist not being on the Odeon payroll and doing this in his own time without any proper commitment, then a waiver could be put on the website that no guarantee could be given but the website could be updated on the day to confirm?

joeswin on April 4, 2019 at 5:31 am

I have just seen an article on the Royal Albert Hall and wondered if perhaps the OLS status as the ‘premiere’ cinema it was in past decades has diminished slightly since refurbishment.

Now that the RAH has been equipped with a new £2m speaker system, it looks like it will be a more impressive place for the bigger premieres that the OLS was once first choice for, and for which it perhaps doesn’t have that unique ‘wow’ factor it once had.(Being more or less a black box like most other places)

Article on RAH: https://www.wired.co.uk/article/royal-albert-hall-acoustics-renovation