First Odeon Luxe Cinema to open in Stafford - with pictures and video
The country's first purpose-built Odeon Luxe Cinema will be opening in Stafford later this month.
The 423 handmade fully-reclining seats are now in place in the six state-of-the-art screens at the Riverside complex, ready for the £6.5 million cinema to open its doors to the public on November 28.
Other new outlets are now expected to follow in Odeon's footsteps and boost the town centre's offering, according to Stafford Borough Council.
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Frances Beatty, cabinet member for economic development and planning, said: “It is great to see the imminent launch of the first purpose build Odeon Luxe cinema in the country – and it is in Stafford.
"This is a key development for the leisure and retail offer for the town and it will provide an important boost to the night time economy.
"We also expect this new development will provide the catalyst for other outlets opening in the town centre.”
Cinema-goers will walk into the foyer with digital posters advertising films, a seating area, a bar selling alcoholic beverages, a Costa Coffee station, along with retail stands and three automatic ticket machines.
The cinema - originally planned to include 800 seats - has a state-of-the-art iSense screen which, measuring 15m x 6.2m, is taller than a double-decker bus.
It is curved to maximise light reflection, packing Dolby ATMOS 3D sound and 4K digital projectors that deliver almost nine million pixels for an ultra-high definition picture.
Meanwhile the Dolby Fidelio Wireless system offers audio description and other options across all screens for guest with visual or hearing impairment.
Viewers will also have triple the leg room and more personal space. A
number of Odeon Cinemas have been refurbished to Luxe standard but this is the first purpose-built Odeon Luxe Cinema.
"It's that extra bit of comfort and the environment feels very modern," general manager Martin Purchase said. "iSense has a bigger screen, better sound and it is more immersive.
"Every single seat is the best seat in the house.
"Speakers are coming down from the ceiling and there is a brand new laser projector, the picture is just pin sharp."
Mr Purchase added: "The Odeon Luxe Cinemas have been hugely popular, our visitor number have gone up because it's a more desirable environment.
"Odeon is already an experience but we're trying to add to the current experience that we've got.
"Where we feel there's a demand for it we will start looking. Stafford has been a potential site for a number of years. Stafford is growing and it's just off the M6 too."
Oscar’s Bar will serve a range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and drinks will be available from a Costa Coffee station or a Coke Freestyle machine station offering more than 100 flavours.
Prices range from £10 for standard peak time screenings, £8.50 for off peak times, while tickets for iSense screenings are an extra £2. Cheaper prices for children and pensioners also apply.
Screenings for older people, mothers and babies, people with dementia and autism will be shown at the cinema. There will also be "screen unseen" events where viewers pay £5 to see a surprise show.
A recruitment day was held last month and 45 people have now been hired.
Mr Purchase added: “We’ve fully recruited 45 people now. We needed between 30 and 35 and we’ve gone over and above.
"We're expecting it to be busy so people need to pre-book. We think we will have at least 250,000 customers during the course of a year here, but I think it'll be greater than that."
Construction of the cinema started in March and was due to be completed in June but there were delays due to issues with utility pipes and foundations.
Three-screen Stafford Cinema, on nearby Newport Road, closed at the end of last year but was rescued by an independent firm and re-opened in the summer.
The Odeon will show the films such as Ralph Breaks The Internet Creed II and Mary Poppins Returns when it opens.