A cinema has existed in the Brunswick since the 1970s under different names and managing companies. Originally named the Bloomsbury Cinema, this arthouse cinema was the first and only British venture of the American-based Walter Reade Organisation, who aimed to capitalise on custom from local university students.
Opening in January 1972 with Michael Cacoyannis'
The Trojan Women, the cinema consisted of a single screen with 490 pedestal-style seats, located in a basement in the newly-built Brunswick Square development.
In May 1974 it was taken over by EMI and reopened as the ABC Bloomsbury and eventually renamed the EMI International Film Theatre in January 1977, with a programming policy of off-beat foreign films. After only a year, the cinema was rented to Barbara and David Stone's Cinegate which operated the Gate Cinema in Notting Hill Gate. Renamed the Gate 2, it opened in February 1978 with Derek Jarman's
Jubilee. Shortly after, the auditorium was split down the middle to create two mirror-image screens seating 266 each, called Gate Bloomsbury 1 and 2 respectively.
After a short period of closure and a refurbishment by architects Burrell Foley Associates, it re-opened under the management of Artificial Eye, and on Friday 9 May 1986, it was renamed the Renoir Cinema. On the opening day, Agnes Varda's
Vagabond played in Screen One, whilst Peter Smith's
No Surrender filled the other.
Showing first runs of Artificial Eye's titles, the cinema became a solid success. Following the impressive development of the surrounding Brunswick Centre in 2006 followed by the union with Curzon Cinemas, Renoir has been given a renewed lease of life.
Following a special screening of Jean Renoir's
Boudu Saved from Drowning on 1 June 2014, the Renoir Cinema closed for refurbishment. In March 2015 it reopens its doors as a six-screen venue named Curzon Bloomsbury with a special festival celebrating Auteur cinema. The first screening in the refurbished cinema is, aptly, Jean Renoir's
The Rules of the Game. In its first few months of operation Curzon Bloomsbury will showcase films by Roy Andersson, Edgar Reitz and Carol Morley.