Hampshire & Isle of Wight

UK's 'first all-laser cinema' opens in Southampton

Westquay leisure hub under construction
Image caption The Westquay leisure hub opened on 8 December

What is thought to be the UK's "first all-laser cinema" is opening to the public, completing an £85m complex.

Laser projectors have been installed in all screens at the new Westquay leisure hub in Southampton.

The complex, containing a cinema, bowling alley and restaurants, was partially opened in December - nearly two years after construction started.

Europe's first all-laser cinema was opened at Breda in the Netherlands in August.

Business analysts IHS said lasers were becoming a "dominant technology" in cinemas around the world.

IHS cinema research director David Hancock said: "More expensive Red Green Blue (RGB) lasers have very high light output, make 3D much brighter... although laser phosphor machines for smaller screens are pretty close to a digital cinema projector."

He said the Southampton theatre was believed to be the first all-laser multiplex in the UK and only the fourth in Europe.

Image copyright Adrian Cox
Image caption Cinema enthusiast Adrian Cox said the new all-laser cinema was "very exciting"

Film buff Adrian Cox, who tours cinemas around the country, said laser projection was an "expensive acquisition" and the investment was "very exciting".

He said the "Dolby Atmos sound in all screens will be a winner", while a new Odeon cinema opening on the same day in Bournemouth would be an "interesting comparison", with Dolby Atmos in one screen out of 10.

He said although laser projectors were already fitted in a handful of screens in the UK, Southampton would be the first all-laser theatre.

Developer Hammerson said the cinema was expected to have about 1.1 million admissions per year and it was hoped the hub would attract more than 200,000 customers to the food outlets and bars.

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