Vue has confirmed that it is taking over the old Empire Cinema in Swindon.

The multiplex chain, which has acquired the Greenbridge Retail Park site, will soon welcome back cinemagoers in the near future, and is investing in a major refit that will be carried out next year to add recliner seats to every screening room.

The cinema, which includes 11 screens and the area’s only IMAX, will reopen before that refit work begins, though an exact date has not yet been revealed.

Vue UK and Ireland’s general manager, Toby Bradon, said: “Bringing Vue to Swindon is something we are very excited about.

“At Vue, we love bringing the best of the big screen to customers, and this is exactly what we are going to do very soon at this new site, with our new Swindon customers soon able to enjoy all the latest blockbusters, classic titles and the best in live music, sport and theatre.

“We can’t wait to bring the big screen experience back to Greenbridge and we can be sure that all our customers will get lost in great stories with us.”

The chain hopes that joining the existing shops and restaurants nearby, along with the soon-to-open Hollywood Bowl, will make the retail park a good place for a family day out.

After Empire collapsed into administration in July, Vue submitted plans to change the signage on the front of the building.

It also asked for a premises licence that would allow the company to screen films and serve refreshments on-site.

The acquisition adds the Swindon cinema to Vue’s portfolio of 91 multiplexes around the UK and Ireland which feature a total of 850 screens.

Empire entertained cinema audiences for many years in Greenbridge but struggled to recover from the temporary closures enforced during the coronavirus pandemic.

The company closed several cinemas during the summer, blaming a lack of income during the pandemic, low attendance levels post-Covid, rising inflation, and soaring costs.

The film hub ceased trading at such short notice that customers turned up in the morning for their pre-booked screenings still expecting business as usual.

Administrators BDO were brought in to look after the sales of the Empire sites that remained open, which did not include Swindon’s.

A printed-out version of Vue’s licence application appeared on the empty cinema’s front door in October, which offered the first sign of hope that the building could be brought back into use.