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Omniplex unveils new £5m luxury cinema on Belfast's Royal Avenue

The Avenue cinema at CastleCourt will allow patrons to enjoy a beer inside its nine auditoriums.
The Avenue cinema at CastleCourt will allow patrons to enjoy a beer inside its nine auditoriums. The Avenue cinema at CastleCourt will allow patrons to enjoy a beer inside its nine auditoriums.

A NEW nine-screen luxury cinema will open in the former Debenhams unit at CastleCourt this week, following a £5.2 million investment by the Irish movie chain Omniplex.

The Avenue cinema has taken over 28,000 sq ft of the former retail space, which closed in May 2021.

The Ominplex group, which operates from 35 sites across the island of Ireland, said 50 jobs have been created by its latest venture in Belfast, which officially opens on Friday.

But in a departure from its standard cinema template, The Avenue’s nine 60-seater auditoriums feature sofa and armchair seating, with a licensed bar and café, meaning cinema-goers can sip a pint of beer and eat a burger while they watch the latest blockbuster.

One of the nine auditoriums of the new £5m Avenue cinema at Belfast's CastleCourt.
One of the nine auditoriums of the new £5m Avenue cinema at Belfast's CastleCourt. One of the nine auditoriums of the new £5m Avenue cinema at Belfast's CastleCourt.

The venue’s name and contemporary art deco design is a nod to the cinema of the same name, which operated from Royal Avenue and was reported to have been the north’s first picture house to screen ‘talkies’ in 1929.

Paul Anderson, whose family own the Omniplex cinema chain, said the project is the result of efforts to create a “unique and elevated” cinema experience.

“This development really is like no other project we have undertaken, and we are delighted to be breathing new life into Belfast city centre with this scheme,” he said.

“The Avenue will contribute towards the vitality, viability and vibrancy of the city centre, whilst also positively contributing to Belfast’s daytime and night-time economy.

Burgers, pizza and small plates will be served to patrons.
Burgers, pizza and small plates will be served to patrons. Burgers, pizza and small plates will be served to patrons.

“We have worked with numerous experts to create a memorable, warm, and friendly atmosphere, which will be complemented by the impeccable service, that is at the heart of everything we do.”

CastleCourt’s centre manager Leona Barr said: “This is the next step in the regeneration of CastleCourt and the wider area, as well as a sign of the confidence our footfall affords our new tenants and their own ambitions.”

Leona Barr and Paul Anderson.
Leona Barr and Paul Anderson. Leona Barr and Paul Anderson.

The new cinema follows the opening of a new street level Starbucks unit in the former Debenhams space at CastleCourt last October.

It’s understood the remainder of the former department store unit will be redeveloped into a leisure attraction, including the likes of crazy golf, laser quest and a virtual reality arcade.