The Empire Cinema in Clydebank is coming under new ownership following the chain's collapse into administration in July.

The 10-screen cinema complex on the outskirts of Glasgow will be relaunched under the Omniplex Cinema brand as part of the Irish group's £22.5 million move into he British mainland. The investment includes the acquisition and renovation of five former Empire Cinema sites in Clydebank, Birmingham, Ipswich, Sutton and High Wycombe.

Omniplex, Ireland's largest cinema company, said the move will secure 150 existing jobs. The group also said that it expects to announce further acquisitions next year.

"We are thrilled to bring Omniplex Cinemas to Great Britain," director Paul John Anderson said.

The Herald: Paul John AndersonPaul John Anderson (Image: Omniplex)

"Our disciplined approach to investing in our businesses and unwavering drive to operate high-quality cinema locations have proved successful over the years on the island of Ireland and has given us the confidence to venture into new territories. This expansion is a testament to our commitment to innovation, quality, and delivering unforgettable moments for our customers."

The Clydebank cinema, which has 2,500 seats, will begin trading under the Omniplex name from Sunday. The five acquired sites have been sold by real estate advisor CBRE on behalf of Empire's administrators, BDO.

Clydebank was one of eight profitable outlets that survived the initial administration of the Empire Cinemas estate, with six sites south of the Border closing in July with the loss of 150 jobs. 

Headquartered in London, Empire Cinemas was founded in 2005 following the mergers of Odeon and UCI, and Cineworld and UGC. The Office of Fair Trading ruled that both new groups should lose a number of their cinemas, creating an opportunity for the formation of Empire which was owned by Irish entrepreneur Thomas Anderson.

READ MORE: Scotland cinema: Empire Clydebank on open market for sale

Empire was a victim of the Covid pandemic - which forced the prolonged closure of all cinemas and "non-essential" businesses from March 2020 - and the ensuing cost-of-living crisis. It previously operated 14 locations with 129 screens.

Speaking in July when Empire went into administration, chief executive Justin Ribbons said: “As a consequence of Covid-19, we found ourselves in a position where we were mandated by Government to close down our cinema chain in its entirety for protracted periods in 2020 and 2021, leaving us with a high fixed cost base and no income.

“Cinema attendance levels have not yet returned to [pre-Covid] levels and the operating environment remains extremely challenging, with extraordinary levels of utility costs and rates, and persistently high levels of inflation leading to increased costs and a squeeze on discretionary spending by consumers which has inevitably created profitability issues for the group. The decision to appoint administrators has not been taken lightly but will give us the best chance to protect the viable parts of the business and secure as many jobs as possible.”

The Herald:

The collapse of Empire came the month after embattled operator Cineworld filed for administration in the UK and suspended trading on the London Stock Exchange as part of a restructuring plan to reduce its massive debts. Vue - which earlier this year recorded its best weekend of UK trading since Covid with the simultaneous releases of Barbie and Oppenheimer - was taken over by its lenders in 2022 as part of a £1 billion debt restructuring deal.

Owned by the Anderson family, Omniplex currently has a network of more than 270 screens across 38 locations.