Finding a good cinema is like finding a good pub or restaurant. You keep going back.
The cinema in Whiteleys was originally a UCI (which was bought out by Odeon who in turn are owned by AMC Theatres) opened it’s doors on December 1st 1989.
I’ve been going this cinema pretty much since it opened. My earliest memories of films watched at Whiteleys include The Dream Team, Hook, Ghostbusters 2 and Back to the Future 2.
To this day I still see films more than once if I enjoy them. It was the same back in 1991 when Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was released. I believe the number of times I saw this was in the high 20s/low 30s. Can’t recall exactly.
I do frequent other cinemas when I need to but this has been my go-to location since it opened. I’ve always found the staff at Odeon to be genuine film fans themselves and it has led to good conversations over the years. No matter which Odeon location I visit I always find the same of their teams.
Back in the very early 90’s myself, my brother and our friends Mark, Peter and Robin got to know the managers (Tim and Steve) very well. We were so regular that we were lucky enough to get posters, standees and other items from them once the films had completed their run. I still have some of these even today. Now of course you can still get posters etc. but they ask for a donation to MIND, the mental health charity which I am happy to do.
Over the past few years we have lost other iconic Odeon cinemas that I also used to attend including Odeon Kensington High Street and Odeon Marble Arch where I saw Star Wars with my Grandad. I hope we don’t lose any more!
Now Odeon Whiteleys is to close on November 25th this year. 5 days before its 29th birthday. You wouldn’t know it as when I went last night to see my last two films (Fantastic Beasts 2 and A Star Is Born) the team were still working their socks off and the place was spotless. They had quiet periods in between films but they didn’t stop- they could easily have done so what with the closure the next day.
Farewell Odeon Whiteleys, you have served me, my family and friends, and the local community well over the years.
Thank you for all the years of fun and entertainment! I will miss you….