Walthamstow's only cinema is set to reopen after summer closure

Empire Walthamstow will reopen  (Waltham Forest Council)
Empire Walthamstow will reopen (Waltham Forest Council)

Walthamstow is set to get its only cinema back after it closed last summer.

Waltham Forest Council has confirmed that a new operator will reopen the borough’s sole cinema, Empire Walthamstow.

Cinephiles were left distraught when the Empire suddenly closed last July after its owner went into administration.

The council announced this week that PDJ Cinemas has secured a 25-year lease for the site, with plans to open Forest Cinemas this summer.

The former VIP lounge of the Empire will transform into an Alfred Hitchcock themed-bar, accessible by lift.

Over the coming months, the cinema will upgrade to state-of-the-art laser digital equipment, replacing damaged screens, the council stated.

Council leader Grace Williams said in her weekly newsletter that cinema pricing will be announced nearer to the opening. There will be discounts for children, seniors and families, she added.

The cinema will feature a mix of Hollywood, international and independent films.

PDJ, which runs four UK cinemas including Romford’s Premiere cinema with a £3.50 flat ticket rate, operates the venue.

Announcing the re-opening, Cllr Williams said: “Walthamstow was once the centre of the British silent film industry, and our borough has a long-running connection with the silver screen, from Leytonstone’s Alfred Hitchcock to ex-Walthamstow School for Girls pupil Naomi Ackie, who recently played Whitney Houston in the biopic of the singer.

“Waltham Forest is a place for film fans and so we knew we needed to keep a cinema here in the borough.

“I am thrilled that we have been able to secure such a great new operator for the former Empire so quickly. PDJ has exciting plans for Forest Cinemas – I know our residents can’t wait to see the big screen back in our borough once again.”

PDJ Cinema director James Jervis said: “We’re thrilled to breathe new life into the cinema at the Scene in Walthamstow, soon to be known as Forest Cinemas.

“This momentous occasion extends beyond just reopening doors; we’re reigniting a love for storytelling that captivates, challenges, and most importantly, entertains.

“We cannot wait to welcome back the community in Walthamstow, with our plans to show films from Hollywood blockbusters to independent arts films and international, foreign language hits.

“Everyone at PDJ, and those at the council we have been working with, are extremely excited to start rolling the films for all movie goers as we bring back cinema to Waltham Forest.”