The historic Curzon cinema in the West End may closure after developers have made a noise complaint.
Developers want the cinema - which has been on Curzon street since 1934 - to pay for soundproofing to make it easier to sell the £2m flats being converted on the floors above.
However, the cinema will not be able to afford the £500,000 bill for the work and wouldn't be able to get planning consent because the auditorium's walls are listed, the Evening Standard reports. The argument has resulted in a legal "action for forfeiture", which may mean the cinema has to give up its lease and move out.
CEO of Curzon World, Philip Knatchbull, said: “Were Curzon forced to leave it would not only hurt the independent film community but also deprive London of a cinema loved for its heritage and Grade II listed interiors.
“Curzon remains resolute to protect the cinema and has appointed lawyers to defend the landlord action. If the landlord wants to pick up the phone and try and find a sensible solution, then our door is always open.”
London's ageing cinemas are struggling to survive; it recently emerged that one of the few Art Deco cinemas remaining in London is set to be knocked down and replaced by a Lidl.