UK’s second Dolby Cinema to open April 12 at ODEON Luxe Leeds Thorpe Park

The UK’s second Dolby Cinema – the first being the ODEON Luxe Leicester Square which launched in December – will open on April 12 at ODEON Luxe Leeds Thorpe Park.

The flagship theatre in the new 10-screen multiplex will offer 263 recliner seats, a 19m screen tethered to dual 4K laser projection Dolby Vision images, and ‘studio-grade’ Dolby Atmos audio.

This morning HCC joined Julian Stanford, Senior Director Dolby Cinema Europe, and John Alls, ODEON Luxe Leeds Thorpe Park’s General Manager, for a tour of the venue. The projection screen was yet to be fitted (it was actually residing in the foyer in its packing crate), but the cinema appeared well on track for its opening in 24 days.

The cinema will use Dolby’s custom twin Christie projector array, the same installed at ODEON’s Leicester Square venue. Yet Stanford explained the Atmos speaker implementation is naturally less expansive, simply due to the size of the theatre. That said, we quickly lost count when trying to tot up the ceiling-, wall- and behind-the-screen models already in place, and some more are still due to be fitted.

The Dolby Cinema is Screen 2, rather than Screen 1 as you might have imagined. Space allocated for the recliner seats shows gently curved rows, rather than the square-on approach of more traditional theatres. Ticket prices aren't yet confirmed, but will be the same across all rows and positions.

The seats here will all be matte black. Together with matte black carpeting and wall covering, the aim is to minimise reflection from the screen and maintain the optimal impact from Dolby's claimed 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio. Interestingly, this Leeds venue is more in keeping with Dolby's desired design, as the seats at the Leicester Square flagship are actually a slightly grey shade to match the Art Deco vibe.

The launch of Dolby Cinema in London has been very successful, HCC was told, and Stanford is evangelical about the technology. Yet he reveals audiences aren't just paying the price premium to view obvious blockbuster titles – horror films, with their immersive spine-tingling sonics, are also proving extremely successful, often shown in late-night slots after the 'main event' movie. ODEON Luxe Leeds Thorpe Park will stay open until 3am on Friday and Saturday nights.

'Unlike other companies, we don't tell the operator what to programme, or how to do it. There's a realisation that one size does not fit all,' says Stanford.

Adjacent to the Dolby Cinema is an ODEON iSense screen, another Premium Large Format (PLF) theatre with (single) 4K laser projection, 15m x 6.2m screen and Dolby Atmos audio. It's the largest iSense screen in the UK, says John Alls. Again, the 173 seats are all leather recliners – as are those in the multiplex's other eight screens.

As for the Dolby Cinema, Stanford thinks its appeal can be summed up succinctly. 'This cinema offers the best possible uncompromised picture, more so than any other in the country. The people of Leeds are lucky...'

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ODEON Luxe Leeds Thorpe Park's Dolby Cinema will feature 263 seats

Most speakers are now in place, but the projection screen isn't...

...because it's still in its packing crate waiting to be installed

ODEON's John Alls (left) and Dolby's Julian Stanford (right)