Odeon Oxford, George Street

George Street,
Oxford, OX1 2BL

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Related Websites

Odeon Cinemas Group (Official)

Additional Info

Operated by: Odeon Cinemas Group

Previously operated by: Associated British Cinemas Ltd., Cannon Cinemas, MGM Theatres, Union Cinema Co. Ltd.

Architects: Robert Cromie

Functions: Movies (First Run)

Styles: Art Deco

Previous Names: Ritz Cinema, ABC George Street, Cannon, MGM

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 440871.224.4007

Nearby Theaters

Odeon Oxford, George Street

Originally on this site stood the Cinematograph Theatre (1912-1935) which has its own page on Cinema Treasures. It was demolished and the new Ritz Cinema was built on an extended site. Designed for and operated by Union Cinemas, the Ritz Cinema opened on 20th April 1936 with George Arlis in "The Guv'nor".

On the façade was a large centre window, above which was a carved figure in bas-relief by designer Newbury Trent. There was a similar figure inside the auditorium. Each side of the proscenium were niches containing hanging light fittings. Seating was provided for 1,654 in stalls and circle. The Ritz Cinema was equipped with a Compton 3Manual/6Rank with Melotone attachment organ, which was opened by Alex Taylor. There was also a café provided for the convenience of patrons.

Union Cinemas were taken over by Associated British Cinemas(ABC) in October 1937. In 1959, the Ritz Cinema was equipped to present 70mm Todd-AO films on a screen 50 feet wide and 20 feet high. The first film to be presented in this format was “South Pacific” on 22nd February 1959. The Ritz Cinema was re-named ABC in March 1963.

A few days after it had been renamed, on 12th March 1963 the auditorium was badly damaged by fire. It re-opened in October 1963 with Elizabeth Taylor & Richard Burton in “The V.I.P.’s”. It had a much plainer decoration and drapes on the wall, the architects responsible were Don Berry and Jack Sutton. The Compton organ was removed at this time and sold back to the John Compton company for spares. On October 15, 1967 the World Premiere of “Dr. Faustus” took place, with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in attendance.

In September 1975 the ABC closed for tripling and re-opened on 16th November 1975 with 612 seats in the former circle. the two mini screens in the rear stalls under the circle opened on 14th December 1975 with 210 and 141 seats.

The Cannon Group took over in 1986 and it was re-named Cannon, later operated by MGM and briefly re-named MGM before ABC took over again in a management buy-out. In 2000 Odeon Cinemas Group took over and the building had six screens with seating for 260, 260, 243, 134, 129 and 110 giving a total seating capacity of 1,136.

In May 2010, new seats were installed and the cinema was given a re-vamp. Seating capacities have been reduced to 187 down to 84.

In July 2023 it was announced that plans were proposed to demolish the Odeon and build a £73m aparthotel on the site. The plans were approved in late-July 2023

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

woody on January 9, 2008 at 1:46 pm

exterior shots from 2007
and 2005

the lease runs out on the building later this year and the site is scheduled for demolition to be replaced by shops, a huge shame as its a great deco exterior

HowardBHaas on March 3, 2009 at 2:48 pm

View link
type 38 in the page box
or if link does not work, then google search exactly:
Boxoffice June 23, 1951
type 38 in the page box
for article & photo of a model of this theater

Ian on November 26, 2010 at 9:17 am

Still open in 2010. A shot from 1986 here:–


There seems to be a stage and extensive dressing room accommodation at the rear in this shot.

davepring on July 27, 2012 at 10:14 am

Although the exterior is in good shape the interior is a typically botched Odeon conversion with sound bleeds from the circle minis into the cinemas below…avoid !!

LARGE_screen_format on August 22, 2018 at 1:12 pm

The seating capacities in the overview at the top of this page need updating, the current numbers (directly taken from Odeon’s website) are:

Screen 1 – 187 seats
Screen 2 – 187 seats
Screen 3 – 84 seats
Screen 4 – 109 seats
Screen 5 – 187 seats
Screen 6 – 108 seats

All auditoria contain Premier seats situated in the middle of the auditorium.

Recall seeing a Superman triple-bill in the old, much larger, screen 3 many years ago. Back in the days when you queued around the block to purchase tickets from the box office on either side of the front foyer immediately prior to the performance you were attending. It had a relatively large curved screen plus curtain tabs. Screens 2 & 3 were very small and even as a child seemed not much bigger than a home projector screen!

CF100 on July 25, 2023 at 10:01 pm

Plans granted for apartment hotel/community facility.

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