Poole’s Empire cinema will become a Cineworld from today.

The 16-screen multiplex at Tower Park is one of five cinemas to change hands following the announcement last month it had been acquired in a £94million deal.

The others are London’s Empire Leicester Square and multiplexes in Basildon, Hemel Hempstead and Bromley.

In a statement posted on their website on Monday, Empire said: “We are very sad to announce that as of August 12, 2016, Empire Cinemas will no longer operate the following cinemas: Leicester Square, Basildon, Bromley, Hemel Hempstead and Poole.

“We have had an epic journey since 2006. We would like to thank you for all your custom over the years and hope to see you at our other fantastic cinemas.”

They added: “Both Empire Cinemas and Cineworld are doing everything possible to ensure that the transition is as smooth as possible and all cinemas will remain open during the transition into Cineworld ownership from the weekend of 12th August.” 

The new owner said there is no need to spend more money on its new cinemas, as all have state of the art equipment already.

It is understood the Empire may not be rebranded with the Cineworld signage in the short term.

Tower Park’s cinema opened as a 10-screen UCI multiplex in 1989.

It was acquired by Empire in 2004, when UCI and Odeon Cinemas were bought by Terra Firma Capital Partners and six venues had to be sold as a condition of the merger.

How do I book tickets now? 

Customers wishing to book tickets for films from today will now have to visit the Cineworld site.

I've got an Empire gift card, what do I do?

Empire gift cards will no longer be valid at the five cinemas.

Customers with an active Film Card with a remaining balance of £5 or more can apply for a refund. 

You'll need to email GiftCards@EmpireCinemas.co.uk and provide the following information:

Film Card Number (19 Digit Card Number starting 6336).
Remaining Balance.
Customer Name.
Customer Address.

Refund requests to be received no later than November 30, 2016.

Empire says, once the Film Card has been verified and funds frozen, a credit for the remaining balance in the form of a cheque will be issued within 10 working days.

How soon can I start using my Cineworld Unlimited Card?

Unlimited Cards will be accepted from opening today.

What happens to Empire's offers?

Empire JNRS will be replaced with a Movies For Juniors programme which offers films from just £2 or £3.50 for 3D screenings when children are accompanied by an adult.

Cineworld will continue to provide the senior screening programme, Last Chance to See Thursdays, and Saver Day Tuesday.

What if I booked a ticket through Empire for a screening on or after August 12?

You’ll need to take your booking reference number to the cinema and Cineworld will give you a replacement ticket however there may be some changes to your seat allocation. 

What about my Empire VIP card?

Cineworld are not able to accept Empire VIP cards.

Will cinema tickets cost the same as Empire?

Cineworld says: "To provide a smooth transition, we are aiming to keep the prices as consistent as possible with what they were under Empire. Ticket prices will be online when we go live this weekend."