How many was that again…?

posted by schmadrian on January 11, 2008 at 7:40 am

As a result of having recently visited the NYC area scoping out movie palaces, I got to talking to a friend of mine and the following question came up: ‘How many first-run, single screen cinemas are left in North America?’ (To be accurate, it was an offshoot of us trying to figure out if there were any of these movie houses still in operation in the Greater Toronto Area. Excluding ‘art houses’ or ‘rep theatres’, the answer was ‘No.’)

I’d be very curious to know the figure…I’m assuming it’s going to be an extraordinarily depressing one.

Comments (27)

longislandmovies
longislandmovies on January 11, 2008 at 10:30 am

More than you think i bet …..will try to work at getting that number..

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on January 11, 2008 at 11:56 am

In the Boston area, the only one I know of is Loring Hall in Hingham.

Los Angeles still has a whole bunch – the Crest, Bruin, Village, Regent, Royal come to mind, and there are probably others I’ve forgotten.

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on January 11, 2008 at 12:17 pm

in the greater L.A. area, you could also add Disney’s El Capitan, Grauman’s Chinese, Bay and…

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on January 11, 2008 at 12:41 pm

I’m not sure the Chinese qualifies as ‘single-screen’ even though it was not subdivided when the adjoining multiplex was added. If this is allowed, I would have also mentioned the Somerville Theatre.

schmadrian
schmadrian on January 11, 2008 at 12:45 pm

And as an off-branch question, I’d love to know how many true ‘movie palaces’ are still in operation. (As opposed to single-screeners, which I guess could have largish numbers of seats, but also could include ‘nabes’, with under 500).

What a great road-trip that would be, hitting all the extant movie palaces!

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on January 11, 2008 at 12:47 pm

To answer that, you’ll first have to provide some definition of ‘palace’.

GFeret
GFeret on January 11, 2008 at 12:52 pm

In ChicagoLand, definitely the PICKWICK, in near-northwest suburb of Park Ridge. So, take-in a flick there, just as our (ahem) next (?) pres. did in her youth.

Technically a 4-plex for several yrs, the main auditorium is a completely separate (original) bldg from screens 2-3-4, and as such can definitely be considered a 1st-run single-screen vintage theatre (I intend to see “Juno” myself there this weekend). In their promotional material they advertise themselves as the largest auditorium of its kind in the area.

Token gripe: I’m a trailer lover, and the PICKWICK’s always been a little lean w/ the POCA’s.

GFeret
GFeret on January 11, 2008 at 12:56 pm

In ChicagoLand, definitely the PICKWICK, in near-northwest suburb of Park Ridge. So, take-in a flick there, just as our (ahem) next (?) pres. did in her youth.

Technically a 4-plex for several yrs, the main auditorium is a completely separate (original) bldg from screens 2-3-4, and as such can definitely be considered a 1st-run single-screen vintage theatre (I intend to see “Juno” myself there this weekend). In their promotional material they advertise themselves as the largest auditorium of its kind in the area.

Token gripe: I’m a trailer lover, and the PICKWICK’s always been a little lean w/ the POCA’s.

schmadrian
schmadrian on January 11, 2008 at 1:00 pm

The definition of ‘movie palace’? Well, I think that’s a poll in itself.

Surely you know one when you see one, yes? The three I visited recently in the NYC area qualify, even if we’re going back to their heyday: Loew’s Jersey, The Stanley and The Zeigfeld. (I’m including this one because of its stairways, the refreshments area, the winding approaches to the auditorium, the ladies' washroom facilities…as well as the size of the auditorium itself…understanding that it was built at the end of the 60s.)

The Century and Tivoli, Palace and Capitol in my home town would have qualified. As would have The Uptown, The University, The Eglinton…and The Elgin in Toronto.

So let’s hear it; what defines a ‘movie palace’?

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on January 11, 2008 at 2:01 pm

First run single screen? Wow. In Connecticut that would be ZERO.

JodarMovieFan
JodarMovieFan on January 11, 2008 at 2:19 pm

DC Metro area (NoVA, MD and DC), I’d say we have three. possibly four; Washington DC’s AMC Uptown, the independent Greenbelt MD’s P&G Old Greenbelt and Baltimore MD’s Senator and lastly, DC’s Avalon. I’d say the Avalon is single screen given the fact that it originally was that and that an upstairs auditorium was added years later not changing the original auditorium’s set up in any way.

Actually, you could count AFI’s Silver, too. The original auditorium is still showing first fun movies..Juno comes to mind.

longislandmovies
longislandmovies on January 11, 2008 at 7:58 pm

there are lots of single screen in the us…1st run..sub run 2nd run..

longislandmovies
longislandmovies on January 11, 2008 at 8:02 pm

i am going to guess 350..

PGlenat
PGlenat on January 12, 2008 at 12:40 am

schmadrian, sadly all the Toronto movie palaces that you mention are now gone, with the exception of the Elgin (former Yonge). Also, on that list should have been the Pantages (now Canon), although it too no longer shows film, the Odeon Carlton, Shea’s Hippodrome (probably the granddaddy of all Toronto movie palaces) and Shea’s Victoria. There were more that don’t immediately come to mind, but this will give you an idea of the Toronto theatres that were easily in the category of “movie palace”. Even if they had survived it is doubtful that they would still be single screen theatres. If you’ll recall, the Pantages, renamed the Imperial 6, had been carved up mercilessly
as a six screen shoebox before being restored as a legitimste theatre.

markinthedark
markinthedark on January 12, 2008 at 5:01 pm

Seattle Area: (I include ANY single screener, “Palace”,“Art House” or “Sub-run” or not):
Cinerama – http://www.cinematour.com/tour/us/2571.html
Columbia City Cinema – http://www.cinematour.com/tour/us/26113.html
Egyptian – http://www.cinematour.com/tour/us/2574.html
Guild 45th – http://www.cinematour.com/tour/us/2578.html
Guild 45th Addition – This might be cheating but it is a completely separate building – http://www.cinematour.com/tour/us/15076.html
Neptune – http://www.cinematour.com/tour/us/2583.html
Seven Gables – http://www.cinematour.com/tour/us/2591.html
Blue Mouse (Tacoma) – http://www.cinematour.com/tour/us/2613.html
Des Moines Cinema – http://www.cinematour.com/tour/us/11237.html
Big Picture Seattle
Big Picture Redmond
Chalet Cinema (Enumclaw)
Enumclaw Cinema (Enumclaw)
Not that bad (although some great losses). We have a few twins and triplexes as well.
NorthBend Theatre ( North Bend)

sdoerr
sdoerr on January 12, 2008 at 6:23 pm

Detroit area has none.

Jason Whyte
Jason Whyte on January 13, 2008 at 1:05 am

In Vancouver, all single screens first-run:

The Rio
Ridge
Park
Van East
Dunbar

Rep houses:

Denman Place
Hollywood

neeb
neeb on January 14, 2008 at 4:40 am

San Diego:

Operating

The Ken – /theaters/914/
La Paloma – /theaters/1922/

Operating but not as a Movie Theater
Balboa – /theaters/710/
Copley Sh (the Fox) – /theaters/2277/
North Park Theater – /theaters/2280/
Spreckels – /theaters/2759/

Closed But the Structure Still Stands:
Aztec – /theaters/2273/
Casino – ?
Adams – /theaters/7172/
California – /theaters/681/
Center – /theaters/18221/
Cinema Grossmont- /theaters/20164/
Strand – /theaters/4281/
Clairemont – /theaters/14493/
Academy – /theaters/17292/
Loma – /theaters/1716/
Bijou – /theaters/11663/

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on January 14, 2008 at 5:43 am

In the Boston area:

Still operating as single screen movie theatres:
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge – art & repertory
Loring Hall, Hingham – first run
Studio Cinema, Belmont – second-run
Cabot Street Cinema, Beverly – second-run, program changes at least weekly; also used by a resident magic show on Sundays
Newburyport Screening Room – very small second-run art-house in a charming small city center

Downtown Boston ‘palaces’ converted (or re-converted) to live stages:
Wang Theatre
Opera House
Cutler Majestic

Other cinemas now used as live stages:
Strand Theatre, Dorchester – closed for renovation last year but should reopen soon. Owned by the city of Boston
Regent Theatre, Arlington (special movie showings still show up here occasionally)
Orpheum Theatre, Foxboro – has occasionally shown movies as well

For an area as proud of its history as ours, this isn’t a lot.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on January 14, 2008 at 5:54 am

Oops, left out one other old Boston theatre, which went from stage to movies then back to stage:
Boston University Theatre

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on January 14, 2008 at 5:59 am

And a couple more old Boston cinemas now used exclusively as concert halls. It has been so long since they showed movies that I tend to forget them:
Berklee Performance Center – unrecognizably modernized inside
Orpheum Theatre – used primary for rock concerts

pbubny
pbubny on January 14, 2008 at 6:24 pm

Looks as though Seattle has got any other city beat, at least on a per-capita basis. In the entire New York City metro area, I count less than 20 single-screen theatres operating as full-time movie houses:

Manhattan: Clearview’s Ziegfeld
Paris Theatre
Clearview’s 62nd & Broadway
AMC Loews 72nd Street
UA East 85th St.
ImaginAsian
Two Boots Pioneer Theater

Queens: Fair Theater

Long Island: Bellmore Movies
Montauk Movies (seasonal)
Cinema Arts Centre, Huntington

Westchester: Pelham Picture Playhouse
Jacob Burns Film Center, Pleasantville

Rockland: Lafayette Theatre, Suffern

Connecticut: State Theatre, Springdale

New Jersey: Dunellen Theatre & Cafe
Beach Theatre, Bradley Beach
Algonquin Arts Centre, Manasquan

I may have missed a few, but probably not many.

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on January 15, 2008 at 1:19 am

In Philadelphia, Pa, we have 0 single screen theatres that are stil used as a movie theatre.

Single Screen Theatres that are still standing but not used as movie theatre:
Stanley Warner’s Circle Theatre
RKO Stanley Warner’s Boyd Theatre/Sameric Theatres-United Artists-Regal Entertainment Group’s Sameric 4 Theatre (1980’s Sameric 2-3-4 addition now a Gap, original Boyd/Sameric #1 awaiting restoration)
Trans-Lux Theatre/United Artists Eric’s Place Theatre (now Foot Action)
Stanley Warner’s Karlton Theatre/William Goldman’s Midtown/Budco-AMC Midtown Twin Theatre (now Prince Music Theatre)
Arcadia Theatre (now a clothing store)
Stanley Warner’s Roosevelt Theatre
Mayfair Theatre (lobby now used as a bank)
Devon Theatre
Green Hill Theatre
Stanley Warner’s Aldine Theatre/Viking Theatre/Rugoff’s Cinema 19 Theatre/Sameric-United Artists Sam’s Place Twin Theatre (Now used as CVS/pharmacy)

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on January 15, 2008 at 6:09 am

Thanks, Mike.

Immediate SUBURBS suburbs of PHILADELPHIA, single screeners for movies:
Colonial Phoenxiville, PA http://72.9.100.242/theater/3769/
Hiway, Jenkintown, PA /theaters/5234/
Newtown, PA /theaters/5613/

Broadway in Pitman NJ live shows but most weeks, 1st run mainstream movies:
/theaters/1014/

Triplexed but original Proscenium Arch and other historic decor can still be enjoyed:
(front auditorium) Ambler, PA /theaters/3953/
(middle auditorium) Clearview’s Bala, PA /theaters/9064/

MANHATTAN, to give some links to ones mentioned by Paul:
Ziegfeld /theaters/12/
Paris /theaters/307/
AMC Loew’s 72nd Street (Tower East) /theaters/7766/
Clearview’s 62nd & Broadway /theaters/7894/
UA 85th Street /theaters/10487/
Others, I think, where original Proscenium Arch can still be enjoyed, but divided up.

longislandmovies
longislandmovies on January 16, 2008 at 10:43 am

LONG ISLAND NY

BELLMORE
SAG HARBOUR
MONTAUCK

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on June 18, 2010 at 4:27 pm

If we could only go back to those days where in most medium size towns one theatre would play one movie.But i know i only worked for a theatre chain ABC/PLITT and GCC and the guys that ran the companies wanted what? More Money.Open a twin okay,then a triple,then how about a six-plex.From there it spread like cancer to these big 20 plexes hat have to hire cops for security.Somewhere going to “THE PICTURE SHOW"got lost.

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