Madrid’s Central Cinemas added to CinemaTreasures.org, but sadly closing
When I first visited in 1994, Madrid seemed to be the last city to have so many historic cinemas with daily movies on its main street, the Gran Via. Hand painted billboard sized movie posters proclaimed the features. Ushers wearing jackets and ties showed you to your reserved seat. A curtain opened and closed, for commercials, for trailers, and finally for the feature. Many had one or two balconies. Full houses greeted Hollywood blockbusters, dubbed into Spanish. I eagerly experienced movies in almost all of them. By the end of the 1990’s, multiplexes were luring customers away and the historic cinemas began to close.
Cinematreasures.org listed only two of the historic cinemas on Madrid’s Gran Via: theAvenida de la Musica huge & gorgeous, but may close to be a retail mall; and the Capitol, with its stunning Art Deco exterior and auditorium.
This past week, I’ve added to cinematreasures the other 11 Gran Via cinemas that were showing movies with I visited in the 1990’s, as follows:
In June of this year, the Gran Via’s Cine Avenida with its awesome neoclassic grand lobby, closed to become a store.
4 movie palaces on the Gran Via survived as legit theaters: the Gran Via Gran Via decorated with Old World elegance and now showcasing ballet & other dance; the Coliseum with its beautiful auditorium hosting musicals & concerts; the Lope de Vega with its Spanish Baroque auditorium, for musicals; the Rialto Rialto with a Spanish musical running for 3 seasons, and its ornate architecture modeled on New York’s Roxy!
2 historic Gran Via movie palaces on the Gran Via continue for now with daily movies: the Callao, Callao with its famed corner presence and continued popularity; The Palacio of the Prensa built as the largest cinema on the Gran Via.
Gran Via cinemas that were not large enough to be considered movie palaces, but were historic cinemas, have not all had a great fate: the Rex closed, and though beautiful, is to be demolished; the Pompeya built with Pompeii inspired ceiling murals, is now a cafeteria; the Azul is now a TGI Friday; the Imperial proudly showed horror flicks and closed to be a store or legit theater.
Many of the historic cinemas in Madrid’s neighborhoods have also been closing. I added to cinematreasures 3 historic cinemas near the Gran Via, at the Bilbao Metro stop: the Proyecciones with its Expressionist style exterior, has been redone as a multiplex; the Palafox which hosted a famous premiere; the now closed Bristol which was the balcony of the Bilbao cinema, and still retains an ornate exterior.
Thanks to Ken Roe for posting the two Gran Via cinemas, and for assisting with the others.