Other Multiplex Operators

Movie House (3, including 1 closed)

Circuit founded by Michael McAdam. In addition to its own developments, Movie House has acquired the UGC (ex-MGM/Virgin) multiplex in Belfast city centre. In October 2009 the circuit was the first in the UK to drop its premium charge for 3D films. The group also does not charge a booking fee for on-line or telephone bookings, or a higher price for weekend screenings.

Glengormley [5, later 6] September 1990
Belfast (Yorkgate Shopping Centre, later Cityside) [8, later 14] 30 September 1992
Belfast (City Centre) [10] 22 December 2003, closed 12 March 2020

Curley’s (2, both closed)

This independent Northern Irish supermarket retailer, founded in 1969 in a tiny corner shop by Hugh Kennedy, opened multiplexes in two of its retail centres.The Oaks Centre at Dungannon opened in 1985, but its cinema, operated by local businessmen Phil McGrenahan and Alan Latimor through their company Global Cinemas Inc, was not added until after a major investment in 1999. Meanwhile,the Kennedy Centre had opened in West Belfast, in 1991, complete from the start with its multiplex cinema. However, in 2010 this cinema was demolished during a major reconstruction of the Kennedy Centre. The replacement eight screen cinema was built by Ward Anderson and opened under their Omniplex brand. In November 2014 the Global suddenly closed, despite investing in new digital projectors in 2013. It was subsequently acquired by the Omniplex Group. After a comprehensive refurbishment, it re-opened in March 2016 as an Omniplex cinema.

Belfast (Cineplex) [5] 18 May 1991 Closed spring 2010
Dungannon (Global) [6] May 2000 Closed 13 November 2014.

MovieShack Cinemas (1)

The Peckham Premier was opened by Network Cinemas, who also operated the Richmond Film House and the Greenwich Cinema. The company went into liquidation in 2003.Chris Green, owner of the Regal, Cromer, bought the cinema and reopened it in May 2003 as the Peckham Multiplex, later the Peckham Plex. His reduced admission policy - £2.99 for everyone, all day – increased attendances by a third. (In March/April 2008 the Regal, Cromer, was sold to Geoff Greaves’ Merlin Cinemas.)

Peckham Plex [6] 30 September 1994

Arena 7 (1,closed)

This multiplex, housed in Manchester’s Victoria Station, was adjacent to the Manchester Evening News Arena. That had opened as the Nynex Arena, a huge multi-purpose indoor arena that changed its name in December 1996.

Manchester [7] 6 December 1996. Closed 19 October 2000?

Ritz (1)

Independent multiplex in Northern Ireland owned by local businessman Columba Eastwood. Perhaps not strictly a “multiplex” as defined in the introduction, this was originally a two screen cinema to which three screens have been added. However, the new screens were constructed in a brand new second floor extension and the whole building was sufficiently reconstructed to qualify for this list. The new screens are 1, 2 and 3, while the original auditoriums are numbers 4 and 5.

Cookstown [5] 27 December 1999

Graves (Cumberland) Ltd (1, closed but re-opened)

Family company; established in 1910 and based in Cumbria. In April 2021 it was announced that, due to the company being unable to agree lease terms at Dunmail Park, the Plaza, which closed temporarily during the Covid-19 pandemic, would not be re-opening. As a replacement, the company opened their three-screen Ritz, in Workington town centre on 30 September 2021. (But then Parkway Entertainment undertook a £4m refurbishment at the former Plaza, and re-opened it as the Parkway in March 2023.)

Workington (Plaza) [6] 25 May 2001. Closed 16 March 2020; re-opened 17 March 2023 as Parkway

AMC (2; now Odeon)

Based in Kansas City, Missouri, AMC was founded in 1920 by Maurice, Edward and Barney Dubinsky, who had been travelling the Midwest with melodramas and tent shows.They purchased the Regent in Kansas City, changed their name to Durwood and their company to Durwood Theatres. In 1961 Edward’s son Stanley took control and changed to company name to American Multi-Cinemas Inc. In 1963 he opened the Parkway Twin in Kansas City, although both screens initially showed the same film (The Great Escape), following this with a purpose-built four-screen cinema in 1966 and a six-screen cinema (thought to be the first “multiplex”)in 1969. In 1995 AMC opened the first US “megaplex”, the AMC Grand 24 in Dallas. After opening the first multiplex in the UK, the company’s historic foray into UK exhibition came to an end in late 1988 when its circuit was acquired by UCI. However, in 1995 the company declared its intention tore-enter the UK market. In July 1997 AMC Entertainment and Planet Hollywood announced they were setting up Planet Movies, multiplexes with themed restaurants and shops. However, AMC eventually returned to the UK alone, in2001, when, in addition to Manchester, they announced their second – and final – UK development would be at Broadway Plaza, Birmingham. After sitting idle,following construction in 2002, this multiplex opened the following year. In May 2012 AMC Entertainment was acquired by the Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group for $2.6bn and on 31 August the site at Birmingham was sold to Odeon (the sale having been cleared by the Competition Commission). On 12 July 2016 AMC Entertainment acquired the Odeon/UCI Cinema Group. The AMC in Manchester was re-branded Odeon from 1 September 2017.

Manchester [16]14 December 2001. Acquired by Odeon
Birmingham (Broadway Plaza) [12] 24 October 2003. Sold to Odeon

Savoy Cinemas (5)

Based in Nottingham, where the company operates its other (traditional) cinema, the Savoy.

Boston (West End) [5] 21 March 2002
Worksop [6] 23 March 2012
Corby [6] 31 July 2015
Grantham [5] 19 July 2019
Doncaster [6] 17 May 2021

Parkway Entertainment (3)

Parkway Entertainment is an independent family business operating new-build multiplexes (named Parkway) and also traditional cinemas in Louth (the Playhouse) and Barnsley (the Parkway, formerly Odeon). The company was founded in 1983 by the late Gerald Parkes and his wife Denise. The art deco inspired Cleethorpes Parkway is situated on a sea front site near the Greenwich Meridian Line. Screen 1 has live theatre facilities, as does one of the auditoriums at the Beverley Parkway.In March 2023 Parkway Entertainment re-opened the Plaza, Workington, following a £4m ‘back to brick’ refurbishment. The Plaza had been opened in May 2001 by Graves (Cumberland) Ltd but, having closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, had failed to re-open due to a dispute regarding the lease.

Cleethorpes [9] 4 November 2004
Beverley [6] 18 December 2015
Workington [6] [17 March 2023

Reel Cinemas (13, including 2 sold and 1 closed)

Independent circuit owned by Kailash C. Suri (through 3R Construction and Property Development) who acquired the Curzon at Loughborough in 2001. Originally known as the Curzon Leisure Group, the circuit also includes ‘traditional’ cinemas in towns including Bridgnorth, Ilkeston, Borehamwood, Chippenham, Grantham and Quinton. The company was re-branded as Reel Cinemas Ltd in 2005 (and the Curzon at Loughborough became the Reel the following year). In July 2011 four cinemas, the multiplexes at Crewe and Newark and cinemas at Loughborough and Andover, together with a pipeline sites at Swadlincote and West Bromwich, were sold to Odeon. Reel retained the pipeline site at Widnes. The Reel multiplex at Widnes opened in October 2011. In January 2013, to avoid referral of their acquisition of Apollo Cinemas to the Competition Commission, Vue sold the former Apollo multiplexes at Fareham, Port Talbot and Burnley (together with the Apollo cinema at Morecambe) to Reel.
In September 2023, in Burnley, the company closed the former Apollo/Vue and opened a multiplex at the new Pioneer Place development.

Crewe [5] 18 November 2005. Sold to Odeon
Newark [5] 13 July 2007. Sold to Odeon
Hull [7] 9 November 2007
Widnes [5] 14 October 2011

Burnley (Manchester Road) [9] [January 2013] Closed 5 September 2023
Fareham [5] [January 2013]
Port Talbot [6] [January 2013]

OPENED AS REEL (continued)
Wakefield [5] 16 August 2019
Chorley [6] 20 December 2019
Rochdale [6] 4 July 2020
Blackburn [8] 17 May 2021
Burnley (Pioneer Place) [7] 8 September 2023
Farnham [6] 2 February 2024

Village Cinemas (1, closed)

The multiplex in the Odyssey Pavilion, in Belfast, opened in May 2001. Owned by Village Cinemas, it was initially branded as Warner Village, then leased to Vue. On 28 May 2006 Odyssey Cinemas Ltd, owned by Patrick O’Sullivan, acquired the lease and the cinema was re-branded Storm. (Incorrect news reports stated that Mr. O’Sullivan had bought the cinema outright for €7m.) In February 2010 Mr. O’Sullivan lost a court case in which he sought to have the lease annulled on the grounds that the former operator had not disclosed loud music and vibrations from a nearby bar and nightclub that had led to complaints from cinemagoers. Delivering his verdict, the judge remarked that Mr O'Sullivan was merely using this issue as a ploy to get out of his lease. Meanwhile, in April 2008, Entertainment Enterprises Group had teamed up with Odeon to acquire Mr. O’Sullivan’s five Storm cinemas in Ireland (at Naas, Waterford, Limerick, Portlaoise and Cavan Town). Presumably Mr. O’Sullivan was disposing of his cinema interests, and the lease on the cinema at the Odyssey was eventually terminated.It was then operated by Village-Theatres 3 Ltd, a subsidiary of Village Cinemas, and was re-branded as Odyssey, but closed on 17 March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The cinema was subsequently acquired by Cineworld and substantially refurbished. It re-opened on 10 December 2021.

Belfast [12] [c2010] Sold to Cineworld

Brunswick Cinebowl (1)

This multiplex was created when the former Brunswick Bowling Alley/Superbowl at Pennyburn Industrial Estate was substantially redeveloped into all all-round entertainment complex.

Londonderry [7] August? 2011

Light Cinemas (12)

Light Digital Cinemas was founded in 2007, to build all digital multiplexes, by former Warner Village property director John Sullivan and UGC/Cineworld development director Keith Pullinger. Its first multiplex opened in Bucharest in 2008. In 2009 Light announced they would be building their first UK multiplex in Wisbech then, in March 2014 that they would operate the new cinema in Bolton's Market Place Shopping Centre, which was due to open in early 2015. (Wisbech eventually opened in May 2014, albeit with only 6 screens; the final two, in the basement, which had been adversely affected by water seepage, opened in May 2015. Bolton opened in October 2016, with Light announcing plans for new cinemas at Sheffield, Thetford, Dundee, Stockport and Walsall.) In 2012, Cineworld acquired art-house circuit City Screen. The following year the company was instructed by the Competition Commission to sell one of its two cinemas in Cambridge, the Arts Picturehouse or the multiplex. Eventually, in January 2015, the multiplex was sold to Light Cinemas. In December 2016 Light opened their first non-multiplex, a three-screen cinema at Thetford, Norfolk.

New Brighton [6] 2 December 2011
Wisbech [8 (originally 6)] 23 May 2014
Cambridge [9] [30 January 2015]
Walsall [8] 21 March 2016
Bolton [9] 7 October 2016
Sheffield [9] 14 April 2017
Stockport [10] 24 November 2017
Bradford [6] 11 May 2018
Addlestone [6] 5 October 2018
Sittingbourne [8] 28 May 2021
Banbury [7] 10 June 2022
Redhill [6] 16 June 2023

Premiere Cinemas (2, 1 closed)

In April 2001, when Ster Century opened their 16-screen multiplex at The Brewery, in Romford town centre, Odeon closed their 8-screen multiplex in the nearby Liberty 2 shopping centre (which had opened in July 1990). Despite the subsequent multi-million pound re-development of the Liberty 2 (it's now the Mercury Mall) a covenant prevented the cinema from reopening for 10 years. With the expiry of that covenant, local entrepreneur Carter Hayes leased the cinema from Rank, reopening it after a £250,000 refurbishment as Premiere Cinemas. To draw patrons from the Ster Century (now Vue), and appeal to those on a budget, all tickets on opening were just £4.

In Cardiff, in April 2015, following a £1m refurbishment in collaboration with the centre’s management company, Premiere reopened the Odeon cinema in the Capitol Shopping Centre that had closed in August 2001. As with their site at Romford, all tickets were just £4. This cinema closed suddenly in October 2022, the operator announcing its “untimely” demise “with a heavy heart”.

Romford (Mercury Mall) [8] [13 July 2012]
Cardiff (Capitol) [5] [17 April 2015] Closed 17 October 2022

Omniplex (20, including 1 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. The Omniplex at Dundonald was the Group’s first purpose-built all digital multiplex. In July 2010 an Omniplex multiplex in the revamped Kennedy Centre, West Belfast replaced a five screen Cineplex and was NI’s third all digital cinema, following the Omniplex cinemas at Armagh (four screens; formerly City Film House) and Dundonald. The group’s other non-multiplexes are at Bangor, where the current seven-screen Omniplex is an enlargement of the existing four-screen Bangor Multiplex, and Omagh, where the former Studios opened in 1976 as a twin screen cinema. Sometime in 2013-2014 Omniplex sold their multiplex at Enniskillen to IMC. In 2015 Omniplex acquired the former Global Cinema at Dungannon. After a comprehensive refurbishment, this re-opened in March 2016 as an Omniplex cinema. In Downpatrick, the £4m multiplex was the largest project undertaken to that date by Eclipse Cinemas, whose managing director is Martin Barratt. In late 2017, it was acquired by Omniplex, leaving Eclipse with their remaining cinemas at Lifford and Bundoran, both in Ireland. In March 2023 Omniplex opened the circuit’s first ‘boutique’ cinema, in Belfast city centre. Named after a former cinema on the site, The Avenue has nine luxury screens, each with 60 seats.

Back in the early 2000s, Omniplex had ‘dipped its toes’ into exhibition in England by taking on the four-screen Cinema at Borehamwood. That had opened in January 1999, but had closed in September 2000. Omniplex carried out a full renovation, and re-opened it in February 2002. However, in November 2003 it was taken over by Curzon Cinemas, ending Omniplex’s first foray outside Northern Ireland.

Omniplex then returned, with rather greater impact, in December 2023, when it acquired five former Empire multiplexes. These had continued to operate following that circuit’s collapse into administration in July 2023. (In a prior connection, the Empire circuit had been created in 2005 and 2006 when the Anderson family acquired cinemas divested following the Odeon/UCI and UGC/Cineworld mergers.)

Londonderry [7] 29 November 1993
Lisburn [14] 10 October 1997
Newry [9] 11 June 1999
Enniskillen [7] 14 April 2000 - Sold to IMC
Carrickfergus [6] 22 April 2000
Dundonald [8] 19 December 2008
Belfast (Kennedy Centre) [8] 23 July 2010
Larne [8] December 2010
Antrim [10] 22 April 2011
Craigavon [8] 25 March 2015
Dungannon [6] [17 March 2016]
Banbridge [8] 17 June 2016

Downpatrick [6] 12 June 2009

Omagh [7] 30 March 2018

Belfast (The Avenue) [9] 10 March 2023

Birmingham (Rubery) [13] [6 December 2023]
Ipswich [14] [8 December 2023]
Sutton [6; 10 from February 2018] [8 December 2023]
High Wycombe [6, later 8] [10 December 2023]
Clydebank [10] [13 December 2023]

Irish Multiplex Cinemas (3)

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 and the Anderson family, led by Paul Anderson, retaining the Omniplex Holdings group (qv). In 2013-2014 IMC acquired the Omniplex multiplex at Enniskillen. In December 2015 the company acquired the independently operated Studio cinema at Omagh.

In Newtonards, an independent multiplex, Movieland, adjacent to the Ards Shopping Centre, opened in March or April 1999. It was owned and operated by local businessman Ernie Watson and, very uniquely, this was the only UK multiplex to have its own cinema organ! The Compton from the Ambassador/Odeon, Hounslow, was rescued in 1997 after being stored in a shed for 17 years and was set up in the balcony overlooking the foyer. Sadly, Ernie Watson passed away on 3 May 2017. The Movieland was sold to IMC by his sister and the organ was played for the final time, by regular organist Ivan Coey, in February 2018, before being dismantled and put in storage, pending its sale.

Ballymena [7] 31 July 1998

Enniskillen [7] [2013-2014]

Newtownards [6] [early 2018]

Curzon (4)

Independent cinema and film group Curzon World opened its first five screen art-house cinema in Victoria, London. The group has its origins in 1940, when H. H. Wingate, father of current shareholder Roger Wingate, acquired the lease to the Curzon, Mayfair. That was replaced by a new Curzon in 1966; today, this is operated by Curzon World alongside the company’s other flagship, the Curzon Soho, and its growing network. The company is headed by chief executive/shareholder Philip Knatchbull, while significant investment has been made by the third shareholder, a British Virgin Islands investment vehicle called Viltree, set up by a prominent pharmaceuticals billionaire specifically to invest in Curzon. In addition to its cinemas, Curzon World comprises distribution (through Artificial Eye, Curzon Film World and Chelsea Films), production (through its Curzon Film Rights 2 funding vehicle) and pay-per-view (Curzon Home Cinema).

In December 2019 Curzon was acquired by US distribution and production company Cohen Media Group, led by founder Charles S. Cohen. He became chairman, replacing Roger Wingate, while Philip Knatchbull remained as CEO.

London (Victoria) [5] 2 May 2014
Oxford [5] 1 December 2017
London (Camden) [5] 29 October 2021
Canterbury (Riverside) [5] 26 August 2022

Picturehouse (6)

Picturehouse Cinemas was formed in 1989 “to challenge the multiplex model and provide cinemas that serve their communities in city-centre locations”. By mid-2015 the company was the fourth largest circuit in the UK. In 1992 Picturehouse opened its first custom-built cinema, Clapham Picturehouse; since then it has grown steadily through a mixture of new builds and acquisitions, particularly in London and university cities such as Cambridge, Edinburgh, Brighton and York. Each cinema is architecturally unique and most incorporate a café bar or a restaurant. Picturehouse Cinemas was acquired by Cineworld in 2012. In June 2015, the company relaunched the former MGM/Virgin/UGC/Cineworld multiplex in the Trocadero, in London’s West End, as Picturehouse Central. This had closed in September 2014. (Note: The Picturehouse at Hackney, which now has six screens, opened with only four.) The Picturehouse at Ealing was a new-build on the site of the 1934 Forum, from which only the façade remains.

Picturehouse Central [7] 19 June 2015
London (Crouch End) [5] 27 November 2015
Ashford (Kent) [6] 15 December 2018
London (Finsbury Park) [7] 23 September 2021
London (Ealing) [8] 20 October 2023
Chester [6] 10 November 2023

Everyman (4)

The Everyman Group was founded in 2000, when entrepreneur Daniel Broch bought the original 1933 Everyman cinema in Hampstead. In 2008 the Screen Cinemas circuit was acquired, at which time Broch sold his majority stake in the enlarged company, though he remains a shareholder. Everyman Cinemas offer a mixed programme of films and special events, including the Metropolitan Opera from New York and the National Theatre (in selected cinemas), live Q&As, film festivals and seasons. The group has extended its operating area from the South-East, beginning with cinemas in Leeds, in April 2013, and Birmingham, in February 2015. In April 2015, the company acquired four non-multiplex cinemas (at Barnet and Muswell Hill, in London, and Esher and Gerrard’s Cross) from Odeon for £7.1m.

Harrogate [5] 9 September 2016
Chelmsford [5] 16 December 2016
Cardiff [5] 23 December 2019
Edinburgh [5] 2 April 2022

ARC Cinemas (1)

Part of the Melcorpo commercial property group, based in Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, Arc Cinemas initially moved into the UK by re-opening (and re-branding) closed cinemas at Hucknall (Byron) and Great Yarmouth (Royalty). The company’s multiplex at Beeston was their first new-build in the UK (the second being the 4-screen Arc at Daventry).

Beeston [8] 28 May 2021

Merlin Cinemas (1)

Founded by Geoff Greaves in 1990, Merlin Cinemas predominantly operate in small coastal towns. The circuit operates the UK mainland’s most southerly cinema, the Savoy in Penzance, and the most northerly, the Merlin in Thurso. In 2009 the circuit’s first ‘original-build’ multiplex (as opposed to enlarged existing cinemas) was constructed within a former Drill Hall in Falmouth. What could turn out to be the circuit’s first ‘true-build’ multiplex opened in Torquay on 15 April 2022, initially with three screens, but with up to a further 10 set to follow.

Falmouth [5] 29 April 2009

Scott Cinemas (1)

Founded in the 1960s, the circuit was originally based in Devon. In 2017, David Williams’ Cornwall-based circuit, WTW Cinemas, acquired a minority shareholding, converting this to a majority holding in 2019. The combined circuit then operated 11 cinemas, with 7 branded as Scott and 4 from WTW.
In September 2022, Scott closed their two-screen cinema in Bridgwater (the former Odeon). This was replaced, the following month, with the combined circuit’s first purpose-built multiplex

Bridgwater [7] 28 October 2022

MMC Cinemas [1]

Founded by John Sullivan, who previously worked for Warner Village and co-founded the Light circuit, MMC Cinemas is the trading name of Tower Cinemas (Blackpool) Ltd, set up to provide a “flexible business, leisure and entertainment destination venue” serving Blackpool and the North West. This is a re-development of the Houndshill Shopping Centre (situated at the rear of the famous Tower) which the council acquired in November 2019. The cinema, in a new extension, includes an IMAX screen and has a 100-seat American-style diner. The auditoriums can double up for use for multimedia events, conferences and the like.

Blackpool (Backlot Cinema & Diner) [9] 22 March 2024