Empire Cinemas

16, including 4 sold

The Ward Anderson Group was formed in 1948 by Kevin Anderson and Leo Ward. They purchased their first cinema in Lucan, Co. Dublin in 1955 and controlled more than half of all cinema screens in Ireland, through a series of private companies and trusts, until a falling out between the two families. The dispute started in 1997 with a row over the development of a new cinema in Dun Laoghaire and was only settled, out of court, in January 2013. The business assets were divided up, with the Ward family, now led by Paul Ward, retaining the Irish Multiplex Cinemas (IMC) group (qv) and the Anderson family, led by Paul Anderson, retaining the Omniplex Holdings group (qv). The Anderson family moved into the rest of the UK in October 2005 when, through Cinema Holdings Ltd, they purchased, for €80m (c£52m), 11 former UCI and Odeon cinemas (including 7 multiplexes) that had to be divested by Terra Firma. Then, in early 2006, through Cinema Holdings 2 Ltd, they purchased, for €40m (c£26m), 6 former UGC and Cineworld cinemas (including 5 multiplexes) that had to be divested by Blackstone. This new British circuit, led by led Thomas Anderson, with Justin Ribbons as CEO, was named Empire after the flagship cinema in Leicester Square that was acquired as part of the UCI package. On 28 July 2016 Empire sold five cinemas to Cineworld for £94m. These were two non-multiplexes, what had been the Empire flagship in Leicester Square and their four-screen cinema at Bromley, and three multiplexes, at Basildon, Hemel Hempstead and Poole. (The deal also included the sale of the Cineworld Haymarket to Empire.) On 16 June 2017 the Empire at Newcastle on Tyne was sold to Cineworld.

ex-UCI

Clydebank [10] [October 2005]
Poole [10, plus 6 Studios opened 28 July 2011] [October 2005] Sold to Cineworld
Sutton [6] [October 2005]
Basildon [12, plus 6 Studios] [October 2005] Sold to Cineworld

ex-thefilmworks

High Wycombe [6, later 8] [October 2005]

ex-Odeon

Hemel Hempstead [8] [October 2005] In October 2015 the original screens were demolished and replaced by 9 new screens on the original site and 5 new screens, plus IMAX and IMPACT screens, on adjoining land = [16] Sold to Cineworld
Newcastle on Tyne [12, plus 4 Studios opened 9 December 2011] [October 2005] Sold to Cineworld

ex-Virgin

Wigan [11] [March 2006]
Birmingham (Rubery) [13] [March 2006]

ex-Cineworld

Swindon (Greenbridge Leisure Park) [12] [March 2006]
Bishop’s Stortford [6] [March 2006]
Sunderland [12] [March 2006]
Slough [10] [March 2006]

Opened as EMPIRE

Walthamstow [9] 20 November 2014
Catterick Garrison [7] 23 October 2015
Ipswich [14] 31 March 2017