The Savoy Penzance
Merlin Cinemas began in June 1990 with the purchase of the Savoy Cinema Penzance. Over the next four years the cinema received a well deserved face lift and was converted to provide three screens.
In addition a successful pizza take-away and delivery shop was installed in 1993 and a stylish licensed bar and restaurant added in 1996.
In 2010 we decided the Savoy was in need of another, not so drastic, face lift. As well as a lick of paint and some new signage outside, the bar and restaurant was refurbished and reopened with the launch of a new mouthwatering menu!
In May 2011 it was the first Merlin Cinema to go completey digital as well as the welcomed addition of Digital 3D. Opening it's doors to the public in 1912, next year the Savoy will reach it's 100th birthday!!!
The Royal St Ives
In late 1990 Merlin acquired the very run down Royal Cinema St Ives. Urgent action was taken and with some hard work was also converted to provide customers with three screens. By 1997 admissions had increased at both sites rising from less than 60,000 to over 130,000 per year.
Last year the cinema had some external work carried out and with the bright blue and red there is no mistaking it is part of the Merlin group.
The Regal Redruth
The Regal was acquired in July 1998, a logical step in both the expansion and protection of the Merlin empire. The Regal is a cinema and theatre operation and for over a decade has staged live shows for several weeks of the year in the multipurpose 600 seat auditorium. In 2001 the two shops next door to the cinema were purchased to develop an integrated bar and restaurant as well as the introduction of the Screen 7 concept which brought customers our first licensed screen.
In early 2011 the Regal was the third in the group to receive Digital 3D.
This Autumn work will begin to enable the Regal to reach its full potential. The main auditorium will be converted to house two brand new screens as well as a total refurbishment of the theatre. The existing two screens won’t be left out in the cold and will also receive a much needed refurb.
The Central Torquay
In January 2000 Merlin Cinemas were presented with a surprise opportunity to purchase the recently closed two screen Odean in Torquay. It was then given a dramatic facelift along with the Merlin touch and renamed the Central Cinema. With the cinema now providing four screens, all fitted to a very high standard, Torquay now again supports a successful and profitable town centre cinema.
In March 2010 the Central received 3D digital installation on the largest screen in the bay to ensure Walt Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland” could be screened. Not only was this was the first cinema in the area to go 3D but also the first Devon cinema within the Merlin group. Uniquely ticket prices for 3D films at the Central Cinema will be the same as those for all other films, unlike most cinemas who charge a premium price for 3D.
The Flora Helston
In 2002 a failing 80 seat single screen cinema was leased from the charitable trust who operated it. In 2004, following the purchase of the building, the Flora was converted to a high quality two screen 80 and a 60 seat cinema.
The Embassy Ilfracombe
In 2006 Merlin Cinemas purchased the freehold of the somewhat dilapidated cinema in Ilfracombe. It was converted into a modern three screen cinema which also housed a fully functioning bar. In addition we continued the Regal’s Screen 7 concept providing a licensed screen where customers could enjoy alcoholic beverages from the comfort of their luxury cinema seat.
New Carlton Okehampton
In December 2006 the old Market Hall in Okehampton was converted into a two screen cinema. It houses our largest licensed screen seating 70 people, which offers hot snacks as well as soft and alcoholic beverages, and a conventional auditorium with a capacity of 160. The New Carlton also has a spacious licensed bar with the facilities for dining as part of our fantastic children’s birthday parties.
Regal Movieplex Cromer
For nearly 100 years films have been shown on this site. The Cromer Theatre of Varieties (built in 1914) showed short silent films between variety acts. The theatre was enlarged, modernised and a balcony added in 1936. Despite several name changes it remains the oldest cinema operating in the county. In December 2007 Merlin left the Southwest and headed East to Norfolk where we acquired the Regal Movieplex. It is a very popular 4 screen cinema with holiday makers and locals alike.
The Tivoli Tiverton
In 2008 the future of the Tivoli was looking bleak despite a local campaign headed by Dame Helen Mirren to ‘Save the Tivoli’. However Merlin decided to step in and re-opened the cinema in June 2008. There are plans in the near future to expand the site with the introduction of several new screens.
In 2011 the Tivoli went Digital and with it the introduction of Digital 3D.
The Phoenix Falmouth
2009 saw our newest and most exciting project to date with the conversion of the old drill hall in Falmouth to our new five screen cinema, The Phoenix. Merlin now had its first cinema able to show the latest 3D releases. In addition we continued with the Regal’s Screen 7 concept providing three licensed screens where customers could enjoy alcoholic beverages and hot snacks ordered and enjoyed from the comfort of their luxury cinema seats. The hard work proved to pay off when the Phoenix scooped the UK Independent Cinema of the Year Award from RAAM in early 2010.
The Studio Coleford
Merlin acquired The Studio in July 2011 from the Circle Cinema group, helping to slightly bridge the gap between the Southwest and Norfolk! It is a quaint two screen cinema set in the beautiful Forest of Dean. In the near future work will be carried out to give it the classic Merlin look!