Vue West End

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Vue West End

Vue West End is a nine-screen cinema complex in Leicester Square, London, operated by Vue Cinemas. The multiplex was constructed in 1993 on the site of what was previously the Warner West End cinema.

History[edit]

The site was previously occupied by Daly's Theatre, which opened on 27 June 1893; following acquisition by Warner Brothers, this was demolished in 1937, to build a new cinema, which opened on 12 October 1938.[1] Known as the Warner Theatre, its architects were Thomas Somerford and E.A. Stone, and it featured a facade of reconstructed marble panels, with large relief panels in each top corner by Bainbridge Copnall depicting the spirits of sight and sound.[2]

Its single auditorium was a 2 level design, with a circle balcony, and its sidewalls were fitted with asbestos panels, perforated with large holes, over acoustic absorption.[3]

In 1970, the original auditorium was subdivided to form 2 screens, known as the Warner West End and the Rendezvous Warner West End. A third auditorium, built in the former bar area, was added in 1974, with the screens now numbered 1-3. In 1975 Screen 2 was subdivided into 2 auditoria, and a 5th auditorium was added in 1981.[4] The whole complex became known as the Warner West End.

Following its closure on 12 September 1991, the 1938 building was almost entirely demolished, but with the retention of, in particular, most of the front facade. A new 9 screen multiplex was constructed, opening on 23 September 1993, having a total capacity of 2482.[5] The architect was HGP Greentree Allchurch Evans[6] with Higgs and Hill as the main contractor.

A new glass fronted staircase was woven into the existing facade, which also featured a new canopy, and above, two vertical stacks of large single line monochromic LED dot matrix displays. Auditorium fit-outs were typical of the time with grey coloured Soundfold pleated wall coverings over acoustic absorption, but also featured art deco proscenium details and orange/gold coloured tabs.

The main foyer is on the ground floor, with a large bar area on the 1st floor. A series of escalators enable access to all levels, with Screens 1-4 accessed from the basement, 5 from the ground floor, 6 and 7 from the 2nd floor, and 8 and 9 from the 4th floor.

JBL cinema speakers were used throughout the complex, with the two main auditoria, Screens 5 and 7, being THX certified and featuring JBL 4675 screen speakers, 4645 subwoofers and 8330 surround speakers. Playback of all the major 35mm digital sound formats was available, i.e. Dolby Digital, DTS and SDDS, with Screen 7 in particular equipped for all three systems.

Following a joint venture between Warner Bros. International Theatres and Village Cinemas, the complex became the Warner Village West End, and after the acquisition of Warner Village in 2003, it has been known as Vue West End.

Some of the publicly accessible areas, particularly the foyer and lobby areas, were redecorated in subsequent years, and the large frontage rows of monochrome LED dot matrix displays were initially replaced with printed advertising, and subsequently colour LED displays. Digital projection was installed, Martin Audio speakers replaced the JBL installations, and THX certification was eventually dropped, initially from Screen 5, but later Screen 7 also.

Today[edit]

In 2017, the cinema closed for a major refurbishment at a cost of £6.6m[7], reopening on 10 July 2017, with new finishes in all auditoria and public areas, and larger luxury auditorium seating installed with a commensurate reduction in seating capacity to a total of 1388. The architect was UNICK Architects[8], with the foyer, 1st floor bar area and new frontage details by Brinkworth Design, and auditoria largely fitted out by (or on behalf of) Eomac,[9] the walls primarily being covered with stretched fabric over acoustic absorption and acoustic carpet. Proscenium details and tabs have been retained.

Sony 4K projection is installed throughout, with dual Sony FINITY SRX-R515DS projectors, a product Sony markets for premium large format cinemas,[10] in the two main auditoria, Screens 5 and 7; and Sony SRX-R320 projectors elsewhere. Screens 5-8 feature Harkness Clarus XC170 screens. The two main auditoria are also equipped for Dolby Atmos with a Dolby CP-850 processor, Dolby multi-channel amplifiers and Dolby SLS speakers.[11]

The facade has been updated with a new doors, and a new canopy, above which a single large (62.7m2) colour LED display has been installed.[12] The ground floor foyer now features concessions for Square Pie, Pizzeria Malletti, Starbucks and Ben & Jerry's, as well as Vue's own counter, and a bar.

References[edit]

  1. ^ F. H. W. Sheppard, ed. (1966). "Survey of London: volumes 33 and 34 – Upper St. Martin's Lane and Cranbourn Street Area: Salisbury Estate)". Greater London Council. Retrieved 27 August 2017. 
  2. ^ F. H. W. Sheppard, ed. (1966). "Survey of London: volumes 33 and 34 – Upper St. Martin's Lane and Cranbourn Street Area: Salisbury Estate)". Greater London Council. Retrieved 27 August 2017. 
  3. ^ F. H. W. Sheppard, ed. (1966). "Survey of London: volumes 33 and 34 – Upper St. Martin's Lane and Cranbourn Street Area: Salisbury Estate)". Greater London Council. Retrieved 27 August 2017. 
  4. ^ Ian Grundy. "Vue West End". Cinema Treasures. Retrieved 27 August 2017. 
  5. ^ Ian Grundy. "Vue West End". Cinema Treasures. Retrieved 27 August 2017. 
  6. ^ Ian Grundy. "Vue West End". Cinema Treasures. Retrieved 27 August 2017. 
  7. ^ "Vue Takes West End to a New Era of Entertainment". Vue International. 10 July 2017. Retrieved 27 August 2017. 
  8. ^ "Vue West End, London". UNICK Architects. Retrieved 28 August 2017. 
  9. ^ Jim Slater (September 2017). "A West End Revival – Vue West End Reopens After Complete Refurbishment, Recapturing its Glory Days". Cinema Technology Magazine. Slater Electronics on Behalf of BKSTS. p. 82. Retrieved 27 August 2017. 
  10. ^ "SRX-R515DS - Dual 4K Projection Solution for Larger Cinema Screens: Product Overview". Sony Corporation. Retrieved 27 August 2017. 
  11. ^ "Vue West End". Sound Associates. July 2017. Retrieved 27 August 2017. 
  12. ^ "Vue Takes West End to a New Era of Entertainment". Vue International. 10 July 2017. Retrieved 27 August 2017. 

Coordinates: 51°30′41″N 0°7′46″W / 51.51139°N 0.12944°W / 51.51139; -0.12944