Largest seat count in a 1960’S single screen theater?

posted by optimist008 on September 15, 2008 at 7:45 am

What are some of the highest seat counts for USA single screen theaters constructed during the 1960’s theater construction boom era?The largest General Cinema seat count seen listed in Boxoffice magazine was 2000 seats at their Buffalo, NY Thruway Plaza Cinema. There was also a listing for slightly over 2000 seats for a theater being built by Associated Independent Theaters in Patchogue, NY.

Many Thanks to all, and please patronize the movies this weekend!!


Comments (9)

markp on September 15, 2008 at 8:16 am

Hi Tom. Here in New Jersey, while not as large as you posted above, during the early 60’s, we had 3 theatres built within a 5 mile radius of each other that were quite large. The General Cinema Menlo Park was originally 1700 seats before twinning. The National General (later Mann) Fox Theatre in Woodbridge was 1800 seats, and the Walter Reade (later GCC) in Woodbridge was 1550 seats before twinning. You could start on Rte 1 from the Reade, drive south 2 miles to the Fox and then drive another 1 ¼ miles to the Menlo Park. All three were built between 1961 and 1964.

moviebuff82 on September 15, 2008 at 1:51 pm

Also in Jersey, the Tenplex in its early years once had 2200 seats for the main screen alone, before several screens were added and chopped up into 10 screens with 410 seats each. This was back in the 1960’s, way before AMC pioneered multiplexing.

JohnMLauter on September 15, 2008 at 2:07 pm

The Mai Kai theatre in Livonia Michiagan was built with 1700 seats, and was a modern version of a completely equipped movie palace, sans organ. A fully operational stage (few hangin sets, though, orchestra pit, locations in the ceiling for lekos and ellipsoidals, the full treatment.
look up the Mai Kai page, it may be listed as “George Burns theater” due to this site’s insistance of listing a theatre by it’s last name rather than its first.

optimist008 on September 16, 2008 at 7:23 am

According to Boxoffice magazine, the Paramu Tenplex seating was originally just over 1900 seats. And Century’s Paramus theater nearby seating was just over 1800 seats, not the 2000 appearing in their opening day newspaper ad. But when Boxoffice did a profile of that theater they mentioned 2000 seats…do building and fire inspectors actually count seats before issuing certiciates of occupancy??

Seriously, many zoning codes have seat to parking spot ratios that are required, so maybe some of the seat counts magically are altered in plans submitted for approval to municipalities. I have the dates of the boxoffice magazines if you want to verify the seat counts. The had a court battle over opening Century Paramus and the 1800 seat count was mentioned several times.

markp on September 16, 2008 at 7:42 am

Great job Tom. I’ve heard of occasions around the country, not just in the 60’s, but even now in the 2000’s where a theatre needed so many parking spaces per so many seats. Could you imagine if that was the case in New York City with Radio City or the Roxy?

markp on September 16, 2008 at 7:47 am

Also Tom, perhaps you could check, but if memory serves me, from the days my dad was an IA projectionist, (as I am today) in Paramus, there was the Stanley Warner Theatre that had the 70MM Star wars in 1977, and there was also the Stanley Warner Route 4 Theatre, as well as the Century Theatre on route 17 you refer to above. I seem to remember the SW and Rte 4 being next to each other, then eventually being combined to form the 10-plex. I could be wrong, but you might know.

optimist008 on September 16, 2008 at 7:55 am


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Thanks Much.

TLSLOEWS on December 9, 2009 at 5:25 pm

These must have been the last of the really large single screens built.Most mutil-plexs barely have that many total seats nowadays.

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