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Visit biografmuseet.dk about Danish cinemas


A History of ABC Shaftsbury Avenue
London, England - 1970 - 1998

This article first appeared in
..in 70mm
The 70mm Newsletter

Written by: Mr. John Hughes and Mr. John Sharp. Images by: Thomas Hauerslev Issue 55 - December 1998
ABC Shaftsbury Avenue screen 1+2 and the beautiful facade in July 1985.

ABC Shaftsbury Avenue opened in December 1970, in the shell of the old Saville Theatre. It was hailed as The Ultimate Cinema Of The 70's. Situated at the top end of Shaftsbury Avenue, it has had a chequered life as a twin cinema. Changing its name (due to various takeovers) to the Cannon, then MGM, before reverting back to its original name ABC in 1996, it was the second twin cinema to open in the West-End after the converted Plaza (Piccadilly Circus), and just before the Warner (Leicester Square).
Further in 70mm reading:

70mm in London 1958-2021 by John Sharp

Visiting 70MM Cinemas of London's West End, September 1990

70mm at the Odeon Leicester Sq, London

"Star Wars" Presented in Dimension 150

Internet link:
ABC Shaftsbury Avenue screen1.

Both screens are fully equipped to show 70mm, with Philips DP75 projectors. Screen 1 (616 seats) still has 2 projectors and a non-rewind [platters, ed.] system.

Screen 2 (seats 581) has, alas, a single projector and non-rewind system. Both screens have the Dolby CP200 sound processors. It also has Dolby Digital and SDDS.
Chief Projectionist John Sharp working with the platters and the DP75s

At the time of writing this article [spring 1998], the future of this cinema is in doubt as the current owners ABC have put the site (along with several others) up for sale, which means that another 70mm West-End cinema could disappear.

The cinema closed sometimes in 2000 and then re-opened as the Odeon Covent Garden Oct 19, 2003, ed.

70mm Presentations

Listed below is an itinerary of all films that have been presented in 70mm at this theatre. Media and Special shows are not included, only films that were screened to a paying audience:
1971 "Wild Rovers"*, "Doctor Zhivago"**
1972 "Doctor Zhivago"**, "Where Eagles Dare"**, "2001: A Space Odyssey"**(++)
1973 "Doctor Zhivago"**
1977 "A Star Is Born"*, "Ben-Hur"**(++)
1978 "2001: A Space Odyssey"**(++)
1979 "The Deer Hunter"*, "The Towering Inferno"**, "Apocalypse Now"*
1980 "Can't Stop The Music"*, "Gone With The Wind"**, "Apocalypse Now"** , "A Star Is Born"**
1981 "The Jazz Singer"*, "Outland"*, "Altered States"*
1982 "A Star Is Born"**, "Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan"*, "Fame"***, "Blade Runner"*, "Pink Floyd's The Wall"*** , "Altered States"**
1983 "Poltergeist", "Return Of The Jedi"**
1984 "Supergirl"*
1985 "Amadeus"* , "Heaven's Gate"**
1988 A typical sticker used on posters to promote 70mm presentations.

"Empire Of The Sun"
"The Untouchables"***
"The Last Emperor"***

1989 "Lawrence Of Arabia" (Restored Version)*** (++)
1990 "Glory"*, "Total Recall"***, "Gremlins 2: The New Batch"*
1991 "Flatliners"***, "Air America"***, "Apocalypse Now"**
1993 "Alien", "Aliens" , "Alien 3" **
1994 "Little Buddha" ***, "Gettysburg" *
1995 "My Fair Lady" (Restored Version) ** (++)
1997 "Hamlet" *** (++)
* Premiere
** Re-Issue
*** 2nd run in West-End.
(++) 65/70 neg.
Note:  "Hamlet" & "Heavens Gate" were shown as one day specials.


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Updated 07-01-23