History of ODEON Luxe Leicester Square

The Golden Age of cinema is here! 

Since 1937, we've welcomed directors, film stars, celebrities and royalty through our doors; and we're delighted to welcome you back to the world-famous ODEON Luxe Leicester Square!

The historic glamour and charm of this unique cinema has been lovingly restored and enriched. We've combined the latest Dolby Cinema™ technology with our signature ODEON Luxe features to create a pinnacle cinema experience in the heart of London.

Located at the heart of London’s West End, ODEON Leicester Square was built on the site of the old Alhambra Theatre, once home to drama, music, ballet and variety performances. The theatre operated as a popular entertainment venue and music hall for nearly eighty years before it closed its doors for the final time in 1936.

ODEON Luxe Leicester Square now stands proudly in its place. Architects Harry Weedon and Andrew Mather designed this iconic Art Deco cinema, including an impressive black granite façade and 120ft tower, which took seven months (and £232,000) to build. Opening night was the 2nd November 1937. 

The original design had a remarkable capacity of 2,116 guests, all seated in faux leopard-skin chairs to enjoy the magic of the silver screen in one of London’s most glamorous venues. There are many historic details within the building that we have restored back to their former glory so they can still be enjoyed today.

Our famous Compton organ, which used to provide a musical backdrop in the era of silent movies, still features today on very special occasions such as Royal Premieres when the national anthem is played. It’s been here since the beginning, when our founder Oscar Deutsch insisted the cinema had the largest and most impressive instrument in the UK.

Fondly nicknamed “The Duchess”, the organ has an impressive 1,400 pipes controlled by five keyboards, and sits in prime position on a rising platform in the centre of the orchestra pit.

When entering the main auditorium, you’ll see our elegant Flying Ladies, originally imagined by Raymond Briton Riviere and now beautifully restored. Leaping with the rising sun, they are positioned as if drawn to the irresistible light of the silver screen.

The home of premieres

ODEON Luxe Leicester Square has hosted over 700 of Europe’s biggest film premieres.

Since opening on 2nd November 1937 with The Prisoner of Zenda, our grand auditorium has been attended by royalty and film stars from across the globe, with Queen Elizabeth II, Marilyn Monroe and R2D2 to name but a few. 

To celebrate these premieres, we’ve etched some of their names into the screen entrance doors. See if you can spot them there!

Also, the biggest of the three LED screens is one of the largest outdoor screens in Europe and further cements the status of ODEON Luxe Leicester Square as the home of the film premiere and the most famous cinema in the UK.

The screens will be seen by the 240,000+ people who walk through the square every day. For premieres the screens will really come to life, creating a more interactive experience with the red carpet being displayed live on screens as well as the faces of some of the thousands of spectators who show up.

Arthur Miller, Marilyn Monroe and Anthony
Quayle, 1956

‘Star Wars - The Empire Strikes Back’ film premiere, 1980

Exterior by night, 1937

World premiere of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, 2013


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This is an Audio Described Performance: This performance is Audio Described for the visually impaired via headphones available from the Box Office.
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This is a Subtitled Performance: Displays subtitles on screen to benefit guests who may be hard of hearing.
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