After 15 years of waiting for a cinema to replace the former Ealing Empire, Ealing Picturehouse held its opening launch last night (18 October 2023) with a glitzy evening ahead of its opening to the public on Friday (20 October 2023).
Since 2008, residents across the borough have seen on/off plans for a cinema opposite Ealing Town Hall and finally Cineworld-owned eight screen cinema has become a much welcomed reality. While the original cinema that housed Ealing Empire is home to bar and restaurant Teatro, the new cinema is next to it.
At its launch event, local dignitaries along with executives and staff from Picturehouse, developers Berkeley Group and Ealing Council attended including former Mayor of Ealing Mohinder Midha, Clare Binns, managing director of Picturehouse Cinemas, Piers Clanford, chairman of St George and part of The Berkeley Group and Councillor Peter Mason, Leader of Ealing Council.
During the ribbon cutting ceremony to open the cinema, Clare Binns, managing director of Picturehouse Cinemas said: “”We just want to say how delighted we all are and I’m sure this i going to be a great success and thank you to everybody to get us to this moment.”
Ms Binns further added: “Its been a journey with many twists and turns. But we made it. Ealing has a very important place in the history of British cinema and everyone at Picturehouse aims to carry that heritage into all that is exciting and new in cinema today. As a company, we’re committed to show the best of cinema from around the world. curated cinema, the range depth and breadth of our film choices are second to none. There is no doubt to me that film and culture is important to us as individuals and to our community. Film does change lives.”
Speaking to those attending the launch, Ealing Council leader Councillor Peter Mason said: “In the studios of Hollywood, they define development hell as a
lengthy period of time in which a production is stalled in development, without cast, the crew funding or a clear future and given that the Empire cinema closed now over 15 years ago, the delay to reach today has been characterised by many Ealing as either a Greek tragedy, a Hammer Horror, an Ealing comedy. But it’s taken longer than a Bollywood epic. So it feels incredibly satisfying to finally call ‘it’s a wrap’ on the wait.”
Piers Clanford, chairman of St George and part of The Berkeley Group who are the developers behind Filmworks where Picturehouse Ealing is located said: “What an honour it is to be here. It’s been a long and twisting road and there’s been many sort of paths to navigate all the way through it. But I can honestly say as chairman of St George, I’m absolutely delighted to be here tonight.”
He added: “I’m so pleased that we finally got this moment. And a special thanks to the council who helped us all the way through some very challenging times. We purchased the site from Landsec in 2016. It feels like a lifetime ago when we signed the Picturehouse lease and thought that’d be great if we can actually make this happen. And hats off to Picturehouse and Cineworld.”
Mr Clanford added: “Today is definitely a moment of celebration. And from our part, we’re absolutely delighted. We’re delighted for the support we had from the council, we’re delighted with working in partnership with Picturehouse and it’s been very rewarding for the whole of our team. It has really been something a bit new. Special thanks to the team, they worked very hard, and I think everybody in the room has kept the faith and that’s absolutely magic. This looks absolutely stunning.”
As well as a cinema, Ealing Picturehouse also contains a cafe and bar. Tickets for films are now on sale including Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon Annette Bening-starring biopic NYAD and the 3D re-release of Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity.
Tickets for screenings starting from 20 October 2023, can be booked here.