Leeds chosen as venue for second UK Dolby Cinema

A High End Cinema Experience - in Leeds!

by Andy Bassett Mar 1, 2019 at 12:06 PM

  • With affordable AV tech often providing a close approximation of the cinema experience at home, how are cinema chains planning on getting filmgoers back? Having announced plans to open a second cinema this spring, will Dolby’s considerable expertise, and top end audio and visual equipment, get punters out of the living room and into the flicks?
    Following on from the re-opening of Leicester Square’s Odeon cinema after months of fastidious renovation and installation, Dolby’s second UK cinema has been announced, for Leeds. Preparations must be almost complete since the opening is ‘spring 2019’ and spring has officially sprung as of today… meteorologically at least.

    As with many cinema builds, it will be located in a retail park, in this case, the ‘The Springs‘ retail and leisure park and it will take the slightly unwieldy name of Odeon Luxe Leeds Thorpe Park. It joins the Odeon Luxe Leicester Square as the only two Dolby Cinemas currently in the UK, thus far.

    The overall cinema complex will feature 971 seats across 10 screens and the main Dolby Cinema Screen will use Dolby's proprietary Christie dual 4K laser projection system delivering Dolby Vision to the 19m screen, while a Dolby Atmos speaker configuration will provide the 3D sound experience. Luxe reclining seating, with extra legroom, will cater for up to 263 film fans, though this is somewhat smaller than the 800 seat capacity in the Dolby Cinema Screen in Leicester Square which also packs 400 speakers into the auditorium.

    However, the Odeon Luxe Leeds will also feature a curved, 15m x 6m centrepiece screen at over three storeys in height. Dubbed the iScreen, its wall-to-wall and ceiling-to-ceiling curvature is designed to minimise light reflections in order to complement the 4K projection and Dolby Atmos sound system in its 173 seater auditorium.

    Is this the sort of specification that will draw discerning Leeds movie fans out for an evening’s entertainment and provide them with an experience that’s hard to replicate at home?

    Julian Stanford, Senior director of Dolby Cinema Europe, said: “We’re delighted to be expanding our Dolby Cinema footprint in the UK by launching at Odeon Luxe Leeds Thorpe Park, a new attraction which will give the local community an opportunity to experience the unparalleled cinema magic that a Dolby Cinema delivers."

    The Dolby/Odeon partnership has plans for at least 5 more sites to be developed across the UK while Dolby’s main high-end rival, IMAX, also has a handful of cinemas venues up and running in the UK, including the Empire Cinema in Leicester Square, making Dolby and IMAX neighbours. Both cinema brands now user laser-light projection, rather than the more usual xenon projectors and both are gradually refitting their older venues with the new technology.

    Do you think that the average movie fans are tempted by a high-end experience in the same way that cinephiles might be? Where do you think Dolby’s next 5 screens should be based? Let us know in the discussion thread.

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