Odeon Luxe London Leicester Square

26 Leicester Square,
London, WC2H 7LQ

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Showing 151 - 175 of 754 comments

CF100 on February 15, 2019 at 4:12 am

vindanpar: I suspect that you mean the absence of tabs (which is surely a mistake) and other factors—however, the subject of the last photo was the repaired “flying ladies” (created in 1998 having been removed in 1967) in front of the new wood panelling, the shape of which is similar to the original wooden panelling (removed in 1967.)

As I mentioned in a previous post, it is likely to be an acoustic wood product, quite possibly from Eomac (who seem to supply the stretched fabric wall systems in the majority of new or refitted auditoria on a worldwide basis!)

Certainly, the under-balcony ceiling (image #4 in the linked series) appears to be their Grill product.

Without doubt CNC-cut to exacting tolerances, I can’t see anything wrong with the panelling, which lends a degree of warmth and luxury to the auditorium—and the “flying ladies” are gleaming?

Slightly off-topic—there haves been plenty of new developments in London since “Match Point” was released in 2005—however, the City of Westminster in which Leicester Square is located is extremely conservative; they would certainly not allow high-rise development—indeed, when the Swiss Centre on the North Western corner of Leicester Square was knocked down to make way for the W Hotel, the replacement building did not include a tower… (The Swiss Centre itself being built on a WWII-damaged site.)

Indeed, they would not even give permission for the Casino at the Empire (under the cinema) to add a small entrance/sign to the “back” of the building (a blank brick wall!) (Permitted on appeal.)

So fear not, London’s West End isn’t about to become a mini-Dubai!

As for knocking the cinema down—well, I can say that I’d cry…

vindanpar on February 15, 2019 at 2:43 am

This was a magnificent theater a very long time ago as one can easily see from a period photo. But with every modification it becomes a further eyesore. That last photo is embarrassing. Why bother if they were not going to precisely duplicate the original theater. From the recent photos you might as well be at a multi plex in New Jersey. Tear it down and put up another skyscraper that will further destroy London. Thank god I was in London decades ago before they started destroying it with all these monstrosities. I was sickened by seeing it in Match Point(a film I liked.)

curmudgeon on February 11, 2019 at 3:01 am

Terry, I agree. If AMC had intended to install screen tabs they had many months to have them ready for installation before opening to the public. As this is their flagship cinema, it’s a sad sign of the times that “showmanship” is dead and buried. Sorry, but a blank screen just doesn’t do it for me.

terry on February 10, 2019 at 6:38 am

The ‘flying ladies’ will be the very last concession; there will be no tabs next month, next year or the year after that. AMC do not bother with tabs and, if ever they were to make an exception, the Odeon Theatre Leicester Square would surely have been it – and they would have been in situ and in operation from day one…….

FanaticalAboutOdeon on February 9, 2019 at 3:48 pm

Thanks Ken, at least that’s a step in the right direction.

davepring on February 9, 2019 at 3:56 am

Well Ken lets hope the screen tabs are reinstated and they improve the auditorium lighting

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on February 9, 2019 at 2:43 am

The ‘flying ladies’ have now been re-instated on the side splay walls.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on February 7, 2019 at 4:45 am

The blurb given in an announcement of the opening of a cinema in America states that “the large screen curtains protect the screen from dust during cleaning the cinema”.

CF100 on February 5, 2019 at 4:51 pm

FanaticalAboutOdeon: Interesting thought!

A great difficulty is in estimating the size of the “flying ladies”—they are considerably bigger than one might think!

Having a look at photos of the “1998” auditorium, they are clearly wider than the double door opening (to fire exit, etc.) below, and it’s not obvious that they would fit horizontally, either.

According to the 2018 licensing plans, audience right, to audience right, the back stage retains the existing double doors, and further has an additional double door opening, labelled “New opening/stage door,” that’s ~15% wider than the existing double doors.

(The existing double door opening is the same width as the openings below the “flying ladies.”)

I assume the scene dock door to which you refer (audience left) is of the roller-shutter type? AFAICT, it isn’t marked on any of the available licensing plans.

The larger of the two alleyways to Charing Cross Road (audience right) was very busy being used to remove waste towards the end of the fit-out works.

Whether or not the “flying ladies” could somehow be squeezed through/around any of the doors, corridors, stairs, bends, etc. does plausibly appear as though it could be a tight fit at best!

Incidentally, revisiting the 2018 licensing plans, I notice that at circle level, there appear to be 5 sets of speakers marked hidden behind the stretched fabric over each of the front splay walls.

If I’m not mistaken, each has two speakers, one aimed perpendicular to the wall, and the other pointing further towards the back of the auditorium.

FanaticalAboutOdeon on February 5, 2019 at 4:11 am

CF100, Just a thought… Could it be that the golden nymphs AKA flying ladies no longer have access to OLS? Taking them out in early 2018 would have been relatively easy not only would the huge scene dock door of the stage house on audience left (leading to the front stalls exit/dustbin storage alleyway to Charing Cross Road) have been available but, for a while, the auditorium was partly “open to the elements” between the removal of 1998’s first floor windows and the creation of the “glass box”.
Given the screen frame and “trolleys” of screen speakers can be moved to the rear of the stage (as it has been for many years)the scene dock door could still offer a way in for such large set pieces OR was it sealed off when the back stage area was additionally soundproofed to acoustically protect the hotel behind?

Hard to believe minor repairs to the replicas could take this long – more likely it’s an oversight, logistically.

CF100 on February 4, 2019 at 6:29 pm


“[…]kick-donkey boorishness[…]”

I wonder what your friend means by this?!

Returning, yet again, to the salient topic of screen tabs; these would have redeemed the place, had they been installed – which brings us back to the culprits, AMC……

Alas, in relation to tabs I am starting to believe that you may be correct in pointing your finger in their direction…

CF100 on February 4, 2019 at 6:29 pm


I typically dislike alterations done to such architectural works of art as the OLS cinema. Preservation should be the key word.

Can be difficult (or expensive!) as what were standard methods or systems fall out of use, and to bring in line with current expectations or requirements.

In the case of the OLS, the roof was replaced a few years ago—planning application. To quote from the document “08-1407AA01” (!):

“Odeon seek to replace the existing Asbestos sheet roof which has become unserviceable. It is proposed that the existing roof sheets will be removed and replaced with new Kingspan insulated panels.”

Ironically, the replacement roof was specified to match the existing in look/colour, even though few will ever see it…

Without knowing the state of the rest of the building’s fabric and the access requirements, it is not clear whether the ceilings/walls had to be removed from the circle to proscenium part of the auditorium. But it is known that the strip-out works included the removal of (presumably significant quantities of) asbestos.

Obviously, the OLS was in need of acoustic treatment—keeping in mind that old movies were produced with “echoic” auditoria in mind, today they are not, and thus dialogue intelligibility can be grossly inadequate (a definite problem in the old Empire 1 with its “slap” echo.)

I previously suggested on Cinema Treasures that the existing smooth plasterwork from the balcony to the proscenium could be replaced with acoustic plaster. High performance spray-on systems are available that would allow for curved sections.

Of course, the new lower ceiling position may not have allowed for the existing curves. However, there are plenty of visible speakers within the auditorium, so I’m not clear on why these needed to be covered, if that’s indeed the reason for the new lower ceiling position?

I had been very surprised on learning that the walls/ceiling were being refinished in such dark colours—accepting that the existing white (or near-white) surfaces would highly compromise the performance of the new projection system, surely it is possible to think of other schemes that would work reasonably well, or at least a lighting scheme/system that would help?

The stage end shows no understanding of why elements were designed and shaped the way they were, and it fails to harmoniously integrate with the remaining 1930’s plasterwork above the balcony. The new design looks as if it’s ready for a much larger screen ahead of the proscenium!

Very strange indeed when the new circle foyer in particular is very pleasant indeed, complete with marble tiled walls and the (expensive!) new “glass box.” It may not be the same as the long-removed original, but IMO, it is very large improvement over the 1998 iteration…

would we modify a painting from Leonardo DaVinci under the pretext that the colours he used in his times aren’t trendy anymore in the 21st century?

There is the story of the controversial “cleaning” work that was done to the famous “Elgin Marbles” (controversially!) in London’s British Museum…

A work of art is something unique and final.

Indeed—or at least this needs to be firmly held in mind before tampering…

Still, I have yet to visit the refurbished OLS auditorium, it seems ridiculous to wait any longer for the “flying ladies” to be put back prior to visiting. Perhaps “Alita” will do for my first visit… (Too bad Cameron is overfocused on “Avatar” sequels—one was quite enough, thank you—to direct!)

Many thanks for posting your translation of the relevant section of the French article.

terry on February 4, 2019 at 10:30 am

I have received an e-mail from a friend in London to whom I sent various articles re two cinemas which opened on the same day last December. I refer to the Rex Wilmslow, Cheshire and the Leicester Square Odeon. Without stating my own preference I did ask for his. The reply is within the following e-mail extract:–

“…….I’ve been to the cinema twice this year already – I saw ‘The Favourite’ at the Crystal Palace Everyman. I think that had been a cinema years ago and after bingo and most recently churchiness it has been returned to use as a cinema or rather a 4 screen cinema. I was in the largest chunk of the original cinema so it looks impressive until you look a second time and realise floor levels don’t match door openings or details on the walls. Still, it was a decent size to watch that sort of film. I think two other of the screens were underneath the main one and there’s a fourth screen somewhere up in the roof. The film itself was very good in parts but also indulged in METOO self-congratulation and kick-donkey boorishness. Olivia Colman was a wonderfully stupid Queen Anne. And then I went to see ‘Stan & Ollie’ at the Belsize Park Everyman which we did enjoy. Part of the tour was set in the pre-Cinerama Queens (Hall ?) Cinema in Newcastle. The impresario (I’ve forgotten which one it was now – Bernard Delfont perhaps ?) came out rather badly but you never know how truthful these things are.

Funnily enough, I haven’t been to an Odeon in or around Leicester Square for a long time but I think I prefer the Rex in your article to the new Odeon. I don’t like the idea of sitting in something that looks like a model of the new Heathrow terminal 6. But to see the films I want to see I would end up going to a Curzon or Everyman or Filmhouse or the Ritzy in Brixton (though I haven’t been back there since I was picketed as I went in and given a leaflet saying the staff weren’t paid the minimum wage: I think it is owned by one of the other “independent” chains). I never got to see the new ‘Mary Poppins’ film. I will probably have to wait for it to come on the television ………."

I personally would describe the new look auditorium as looking more like a blacked out aircraft hangar – albeit with much less much character.

Returning, yet again, to the salient topic of screen tabs; these would have redeemed the place, had they been installed – which brings us back to the culprits, AMC……

Lionel on February 4, 2019 at 8:07 am

For all members on Cinema Treasures, I’ve translated in English the chapter where he mentions furniture that are acoustically problematic. Of course, he tells of his experience in luxury private home cinemas, but we see that the kind of infrastructure of these is now copied in bigger commercial venues.

“The problems never comes from the place, but always from people. However, we have to nuance. With sound engineers and studio professionals, we have consistent exchanges and things are going pretty well. With individuals however, it can quickly become a hell. They have their beliefs and think that the electroacoustic material will do all the work. The acoustics does not matter, they think only in terms of decoration. A cinema seat, for example, is an object that must respond to specific characteristics: its absorption must be the same as that of a spectator so that the reverb remains stable, whether the room is empty or filled. No matter how it sounds, individuals will invariably choose leather, a reflective material. This causes other problems, including the seat-dip (a drop of low frequencies between rows). In order not to dull surround sound, the backrest must clear the head. But giant headrests are a must in most home cinema. I have also come across tiled floors, shark skin on the speakers, chrome ceilings …”

CF100 on February 4, 2019 at 8:00 am

Lionel: Many thanks for the link. It is (just about!) understandable in English thanks to Google Translate.

(Sorry, I reposted with an revised response, so your reply appears before the message to which it was in response to!)

CF100 on February 4, 2019 at 7:56 am


I was reading an interview of French sound engineer Jean-Pierre Lafont

Have you a link to this interview, please?

Indeed, leather does have that drawback, and the seating should be designed with acoustic properties in mind, ideally so that they are as similar as possible whether occupied or not. Of course, if the seat recline, then the seat position would alter the acoustics. Hmm…

The cavity underneath is another problem, and I doubt that the typical use of vinyl floor surfaces instead of carpet helps here. (Even if only in front of the seating, it would help.)

The refurbished largest auditoria (5/7) over at the Vue West End certainly seem to have suffered acoustically—my recollection was that they were outstandingly neutral and well-controlled, but there now seems to be a slight “echoic” quality. Whether this is due to the replacement “leather” seating, or because the acoustic absorption behind the new stretched fabric wall coverings is inferior, I don’t know.

It isn’t hard to imagine seating being replaced (and perhaps stadia adjusted also)without the system being recalibrated.

(Obviously not the case in 5/7 at the Vue since the audio systems were totally replaced, and during the 2017 refurbishment the other auditoria were seen to by Sound Associates.)

Of course, the OLS was hardly up to standard with vast areas of smooth reflective surfaces at the stage end, so all in all it should be greatly improved in this respect.

Lionel on February 4, 2019 at 7:50 am

CF100, here is the link to the interview, but it’s in French (my native language) :


Lionel on February 4, 2019 at 6:22 am

I typically dislike alterations done to such architectural works of art as the OLS cinema. Preservation should be the key word. Even switching to wide picture formats in the fifties didn’t require alterations, only a bigger screen behind the curtains. would we modify a painting from Leonardo DaVinci under the pretext that the colours he used in his times aren’t trendy anymore in the 21st century? George Lucas is probably the only artist who would find it acceptable, considering the way he “enhances” Star Wars every two years, reusing shots and sound effects in an abusive way with a ridiculous result.

Now if the place isn’t sustainable as a cinema, let’s just drop films and place stage shows instead. No need to alter the foyer or the auditorium. And if it is really not viable at all, then, alas, tear it down and build a hotel or superstore. It hurts but I accept economical reality too. However as long as it keeps running, just preserve it, fix it when needed, but don’t change it. A work of art is something unique and final.

davepring on February 4, 2019 at 6:08 am

I agree with all the above comments regarding what was a fine Art Deco cinema prior to 1967. Then the rot set in. The 1998 renovation attempted to restore some of the lost glamour but now this black hole is a typical AMC concession led cinema. They should have had the courage to restore this cathedral of the movies along the lines of Everyman Muswell Hill.

curmudgeon on February 4, 2019 at 4:04 am

CF 100, having worked in the cinema industry for so many years I am fortunate enough to receive complimentary tickets to movies nation-wide, however, complimentary tickets can not be pre-booked and collected from a vending machine in a cinema foyer. Whist grateful for this privilege, it does not preclude me for sympathising with cinema patrons who are either treated like sheep at the concessions counter to purchase a ticket, or indeed, are charged an additional service fee for booking on line. I refer you to Lionel’s post re. the drawback of leather/pleather or leatherette (take your choice) as suggested by a sound engineer. As previously stated, here in Australia, the majority of cinema seating is upholstered in woollen or polyster blend fabric that does not lend itself to a quick clean with a disinfectant wipe. Unlike programming policies of the UK, up until the 1980’s, continuous performances were extremely unusual in this country. Separate performances were always the norm and all major circuits as well as popular independents had a roster of full time (covering 3 shifts daily) day cleaners, late afternoon and night cleaners. After every session the day cleaners would do a quick “pick-up” between audiences as well as supervising toilet and foyer cleanliness. Night cleaners would arrive after the last performance and clean throughout the night including pick-up, vacuuming, seat inspections, mopping all hard surfaces, glass cleaning, cleaning of accessible light fittings, regular carpet shampooing etc. I know, as I undertook a second job as a night cleaner for a short while and it nearly killed me! The current cleaning regime here is pathetic. No employed cleaners anymore, all cleaning contracted out to firms that are in and out as quickly as possible with no attention to detail. Despite air-conditioning, I ask you to consider the discomfort of leather or vinyl in this climate. By all means enjoy your recliner or high backed cinema seats, but for me, I’ll prefer to visit cinemas where my head will not be touching a surface of whom some great unshowered person may have been sharing their greasy hair nasties.

Lionel on February 3, 2019 at 10:36 pm

I agree with everything that has been written against the newest OLS renovation, which I’d rather call vandalism. Only the price is now premium. And why the hell do they have to turn more and more cinemas into living rooms or sitting rooms? This inclines people to behave more and more like if they were in their private space, as if the public space hadn’t been disrupted enough in the recent years with mobile phones. Now what they call luxury cinema is offering small dull rooms where people can reproduce the experience of eating breakfast in bed on Sunday morning while watching a film in public. But I’m afraid I just belong to the generation for whom luxury cinema meant watching a film in a theatre with an impressive decoration to look at and top-notch technology presented on a big screen dressed with adjustable screen masking and beautifully lit curtains opening on the studio logo. That alone was impressive enough to command quietness during the show and respecting your neighbour’s comfort.

It is a reason why, when I occasionally spend a few days in London, I now only go to the theatre to see a play or a musical, where the place keeps a more traditional infrastructure and the culture of theatre-going attracts a better-behaved audience. Exceptionally I’ll go to see a film in a Curzon cinema. For the rest, I stick to a specific small multiplex opened in 2008 in my country with a strict “no food or drink allowed in the auditorium” policy, covering all genres from Star Wars to Woody Allen plus occasional repertory. And for those who are thirsty or hungry, they have a real restaurant on the ground floor with fully licensed bar, where you can eat a small sandwich or a good steak with fries and salad. Why do exhibitors not develop this model more instead of turning the auditorium itself into a restaurant?

Lionel on February 3, 2019 at 9:47 pm

Recently, I was reading an interview of French sound engineer Jean-Pierre Lafont, who designed sound consoles for post-production facilities such as George Lucas' Skywalker Sound and other major Hollywood studios, and is a consultant in projection rooms acoustics. He was explaining this :

Spectators absorb sound but leather seats have a major drawback. They reflect sound instead of absorbing it, thus modifying the theatre acoustics during shows where almost no people attend. The bigger the room, the bigger the effect. For room equalisation done once and for all for a given theatre, whether it’s sold out or empty, and for good sound absorption such as recommended by THX guidelines, seats should not be in leather.

CF100 on February 3, 2019 at 12:44 pm

curmudgeon: Not at all! I am saying finished leather (or artifical immitation leather, aka pleather, leatherette, etc.) provides a significantly less permeable surface to water and solid fine debris, stopping it getting to the foam underneath, thereby harbouring nasties, as well as it being harder for “sticky” materials to adhere to its surfaces to the extent of not being easily removeable.

Thus, if a customer requires as clean a cinema seating experience as possible, surely their best option would be seating upholstered as such, and taking their own leather cleaning wipes to remove any residues?

If the seating is in a poor state of cleanliness that necessiates the use of wipes, is it acceptable? You bet it isn’t.

(But then I’m not sure how one would cope with, say, travelling, on London’s Tube—seating all moquette upholstered?)

queuing at the concession counter to purchase a ticket

Tickets at Odeon (and other UK operators) can purchased via the Internet, or at a machine at the cinema. It would, of course, be highly advisable to pre-book to reserve your choice of seat.

in-dining is supplied (another intrusion to patrons)

In full agreement that it is intrusive!

Since you say that you have worked in cinemas for many years, perhaps you could enlighten us as to your experience of cleaning schedules for seating—-hopefully including the use of wet extraction vaccums?

curmudgeon on February 3, 2019 at 6:39 am

CF 100, with greatest respect, are you seriously suggesting apart from queuing at the concession counter to purchase a ticket while previous patrons take their time choosing what flavour ice-cream/size popcorn/soda/lolly-pack or best of all various coffee orders/ asked for a seat preference with no knowledge of what screen my movie of choice is screening in, along with maybe 3 other patrons/reserved seating with no ushering staff/paying outrageous price for ticket/bare screen/no masking/sitting through 25 minutes of paid advertising and THEN supply my own disinfectant wipe reasonable? As a cinema worker for may years I can assure you that many seats are still upholstered in woollen and polyester fabrics, and that if viewed under the glare of cleaners lights you would be appalled at the putrid state of these seats, particularly where in-dining is supplied (another intrusion to patrons), more so as greasy fried food is the chosen menu choice.

CF100 on February 2, 2019 at 1:56 pm

curmudgeon: Hmm… even standard seats tend to be pretty high backed these days. Still, leather (or “pleather”) is the upholstry of choice, there is a less viable environment for dust mites and other nasties to be harboured. (And, dare I say, you could always take leather wipes to clean the seat?!)

Although there was the “bed bug” issue in various NYC movie theatres…!