Uptown Theater

3426 Connecticut Avenue NW,
Washington, DC 20008

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Showing 376 - 400 of 413 comments

JodarMovieFan
JodarMovieFan on July 7, 2004 at 5:28 pm

I had the privilege of revisiting the Uptown to see the midnight opening of Spiderman 2. It has been a year since I’ve been to this theater and was looking forward to being enveloped by the big screen that this gem has to offer.

The single most irritating item about watching a movie at this theater is the constant stream of commercials. While I have not been to another Loews/Cineplex theater to confirm whether it is an isolated incident, the commercials just keep coming and were in bad quality and were not even in stereo.

While the picture was good, the sound was not. As mentioned, the commercials and previews were not played in stereo. The sound, for the most part was very tinny and muddled. It was centered but some of the dialog was almost intelligible. The only time that the sound came alive was during the fusion reaction scenes with Doc Ock. You could feel the theater come alive at that time. It was like the picture played in mono and was only turned on towards the middle and end of it.

I did contact customer service at Loews/Cineplex and received an Email response from an intern, who stated that they apologized for the commercials and that the chain has to show them to compensate for the “$20M salaries that stars are demanding…” There was no response as to the rather disappointing sound presentation.

Will this second bad experience hinder me from going back to the Uptown? I don’t know. But I will think twice before travelling downtown again. I think our suburban theaters have better sound presentation and picture, albeit in a smaller and less grand setting.

mirad1997
mirad1997 on June 18, 2004 at 9:04 pm

Does anyone one know what played at Uptown here in DC before Star Wars Episode II ?

JodarMovieFan
JodarMovieFan on June 17, 2004 at 5:05 pm

The 70mm revivals aren’t as frequent as they used to be. Actually, I don’t think they’ve had a 70mm series since the 90s? I imagine, if the Uptown does host a 70mm series, it will be after the summer movie season, since attendance will drop and there won’t be any event films coming out until Thanksgiving.

If I had a wish, I would hope for a science fiction/fantasy series starting with the Star Wars films, Star Trek, Superman, Alien, all in 70mm. I read that 20th Century Fox was going to re-release a director’s cut of Aliens in theaters like they did the recent Alien one. Perhaps, they could show it here. Even older films would be nice to revisit. I remember watching Vertigo, in a restored 70mm print with a remastered soundtrack. The movie looked like it had just been shot yesterday. The print was so sharp and scratch free!

What would be really cool is if this theater had digital projection capabilities.

mirad1997
mirad1997 on June 17, 2004 at 8:00 am

I just rememebered that I forgot to add two movies to list of recent movies at Uptown before Road To Perdition. Again, if am wrong please tell me! Here are the two movies before Road To Perdition.

05/16/02 Star Wars Episode II: Attack Of The Clones
06/21/02 Minority Report

mirad1997
mirad1997 on June 17, 2004 at 7:59 am

I just rememebered that I forgot to add two movies to list of recent movies at Uptown before Road To Perdition. Again, if am wrong please tell me! Here are the two movies before Road To Perdition.

05/16/02 Star Wars Episode II: Attack Of The Clones
06/21/02 Minority Report

mirad1997
mirad1997 on June 17, 2004 at 7:44 am

Now I have made my own list of more recent movies that have played at Uptown in DC. This is only a list of what I can remember. If I am wrong , please tell me.

07/12/02 Road To Perdition
09/06/02 City By The Sea
09/20/02 The Four Feathers
11/15/02 Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets
12/18/02 The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers
04/04/03 Phone Booth
05/02/03 X2: X-Men United
06/20/03 The Hulk
07/25/03 Seabiscuit
10/29/03 Alien: The Director’s Cut
11/28/03 Mystic River (8th week)
12/05/03 The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of Thge Ring (re-release)
12/12/03 The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers (re-release)
12/17/03 The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King
04/02/04 Hellboy
05/07/04 Van Helsing
05/28/04 The Day After Tomorrow
06/18/04 The Terminal

VincentParisi
VincentParisi on June 17, 2004 at 7:28 am

Are there any 70mm revivals coming to this theater anytime soon?

mirad1997
mirad1997 on June 17, 2004 at 7:17 am

I am wondering what played at the Uptown here in DC after The Four Feathers (2002) with Heath Ledger, Wes Bentley, and Kate Hudson. I really neeed to know this for some reason.

DaveGrau
DaveGrau on June 10, 2004 at 4:48 am

To Ron3853 Have you ever done any research on the Warner Theatre in Pittsburgh? If so please contact Dave Grau. At

DaveGrau
DaveGrau on June 7, 2004 at 7:52 pm

I had the honor of being one of the Projectionist at the Uptown from 92-95, it has to go down as one of my favorite Theatres. The Warner in Pittsburgh will always be my very favorite. I liked working the Avalon as well. I also know the Chinese place down the street, and know that President Kennedy ate there as well. My favorite DC Theatre will always be the Wisconsin ave. 6 plex. at 4000 wisc. ave.
Dave Grau
(Mungo)

SethLewis
SethLewis on April 25, 2004 at 12:35 am

I lived in DC for a couple of years in the mid 90s and enjoyed a couple of fun trips to the Uptown – to see Twelve Monkeys at a full house right after the great blizzard of 99, and American President and Twister…One of the attractions was also a fantastic 1960s era Chinese restaurant up the block which attests to being a meeting place for Dean Rusk and the Russian delegation during the Cuban Missile Crisis – great sizzling rice soup.
Ron’s list also brought to mind one other sadly lost trend…that even great roadshow houses in the 60s & 70s had to put a double feature on once in a while in a fallow period…Studios would package some classics or a couple picture at the end of their runs and give us another taste…Another casualty of VCR/DVD that we don’t have that anymore…Remember seeing A Touch of Class & Paper Moon on the same bill in New York on wide release and Paul Mazursky’s The Tempest paired with a Richard Pryor concert film at the Loews State 2…we can only dream…Thanks Ron for sharing that great research

bruceanthony
bruceanthony on April 24, 2004 at 3:27 pm

Ron I really like your listing of movies 1958-1981. It tells a lot about the specific theatre. Its a little easier picking the theatres that were the deluxe roadshow reserved seat houses such as the Uptown. Each large city had at least four or more of these theatres. New York City had the following, Criterion, Rivoli, Loews State,Warner Cinerama(Strand),Loews Capitol. The Roxy and Radio City were in a class by themselves and the Paramount.The Demille was also a roadshow house for a time and the Palace. The studios preferred theatres that sat 1500 and would reduce capacities of theatres such as the Loews Capitol in NY and the Pantagees in Hollywood to achieve this goal. The last successful reserved seat roadshow engagement was United Artists “Fiddler on The Roof” released in the early 1970’s.brucec

Falkenberg2001
Falkenberg2001 on April 24, 2004 at 10:58 am

I saw How The West Was Won & It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad World when they came out originally in this theatre. I used to spend a lot of time at the zoo nearby and remember poor Smokey The Bear in his concrete cage looking forlorn and bored.

George Senda
Concord, Ca

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on March 30, 2004 at 12:19 pm

That’s great news, Ron. I will certainly look forward to your future posts with the results of all your hard work. It’s very enjoyable to read through these lists of movies and their release dates – so many memories come flooding back. And I know what you mean about working with microfilm – in my college years, I think I spent more time looking at pages from old movie sections in the New York Times than I did going to class!

Ron3853
Ron3853 on March 30, 2004 at 11:48 am

Actually Bill, believe or not…I’ve never lived in DC, although I have lived in NYC, Chicago, but mostly Pittsburgh. I’ve made it a hobby to research first-run theaters in various cities to see what movies they played each week. I always liked the DC movie theaters ever since I visited the city wih my family on a vacation when I was 11. That’s why I chose to put DC on this website first. Check out other cities and theaters in Washington for more lists as I can add them.

I still have more researching to do, as so far I’ve been trying to get 34 cities from the period 1960-1975. Trying to borrow microfilms of other cities' old newspapers is a process that is slower than molasses in January and they will only lend you 6 reels at a time.

I hope to eventually get all research on this website for posterity from 1957-1981 for all 34 cities that I have been researching…and NYC will be my biggest challenge.

I know that “Star Wars” in its first release at the Uptown did play over a year. Watch for another posting at some time and I’ll take the theater up to December 31, 1981.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on March 30, 2004 at 10:31 am

Thanks, Ron, for that fantastic list. I appreciate all the work you must have done to put it together. I only wish I’d lived in DC during all those years so I’d be able to see “Around the World in 80 Days”, “West Side Story” and all the Cinerama features on the Uptown screen.

Do you know how long “Star Wars” played there? It played 65 weeks at the Loew’s Astor Plaza in New York, which is where I saw it for the first time.

Six separate engagements for “2001”, huh? May there be many more.

Ron3853
Ron3853 on March 27, 2004 at 12:03 pm

As you can see there were occasional spells where no appropriate new first-run films were available to be released, such as 1960, 1961, and the mid-70s, so the Uptown occasionally resorted to second-run rilms or rereleases played there to fill in until the next big box-office spectacular worthy of the theater was ready for release. This accounts for the double features as well as the foreign films.

In the first half of the 1970s, MGM trotted out “Gone With the Wind,” “2001,” and “Doctor Zhivago” every year as a part of what it called “MGM’s Big 3.” In some cities it was “MGM’s Big 4” with “Ryan’s Daughter” added. Usually this package played at one of the theaters in each city which had formerly shown “roadshow” films.

For excellent reading regarding motion picture theaters in Washington, D.C., try MOTION PICTURE EXHIBITION IN WASHINGTON, D.C.: AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF PARLORS, PALACES AND MULTIPLEXES IN THE METROPOLITAN AREA, 1894-1997, by Robert K. Headley, published by McFarland & Company, Publishers in 1999.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on March 27, 2004 at 4:34 am

It’s interesting to see that foreign films played there from time to time as well, i.e.: WILD STRAWBERRIES, BELLE DE JOUR, A MAN AND A WOMAN, SCENES FROM A MARRIAGE, MALIZIA, ALL SCREWED UP, LAST TANGO IN PARIS. Not what you normally associate with the Uptown.

edward
edward on March 27, 2004 at 12:43 am

Seeing the title Car Wash almost made me fall out of my chair. Earthquake in Sensurround…now that was a crazy experience. The Odeon in my hometown even had nurses and ambulances on stanby for the premiere screening. When the theater started to shake (with the help of huge speakers installed in the auditorium), my best friend promptly threw up in the seat next to her. She was immediately ‘treated’ in the lobby by the medical staff. That beautiful theater is now closed and abandoned.
2001: A Space Odyssey was released three times at the Washington Uptown?

JodarMovieFan
JodarMovieFan on December 31, 2003 at 11:10 am

The hired help at this theater does leave much to be desired. I saw Star Wars: The Attack of the Clones (‘02) there with a friend, who is physically challenged. After making a phone call to the theater to assure that we would be allowed first into the theater to make sure we had seats together and a spot where my friend could park his wheelchair, the ticket taker demanded that both of us go back to the end of the line (around the block) and wait our turn.

The film does have decent film presentation but the sound isn’t what it could be. I’m not sure if its the acoustics in the theater or just the speaker set up, itself. The Senator, in Baltimore, while having a smaller screen, does have superior sound to the Uptown, IMHO, boasting Dolby Digital Surround EX. It would be nice if the theater could be THX certified but I’ve heard that because of the curved screen, THX isn’t possible.

It is sad that this is one of the last of the single screen theaters in DC.

VincentParisi
VincentParisi on December 8, 2003 at 11:15 am

I thought 2001 had its world premiere in the Loew’s Cinerama in NY.
And why does Washington still have a great classic theater like this and NY nothing? And now they’re destroying the Henry Miller. If Penn Station were around today I’m sure they’d be chomping at the bit to tear it down as well. Does anybody have the money to convert Toys R Us back into the great Criterion?

William
William on November 20, 2003 at 4:59 pm

During the mid-50’s the Uptown Theatre seated 1364 people.

edone
edone on March 27, 2003 at 10:15 am

I remember the Uptown first as a Todd-AO theater in the 1950s when it had beautiful projection and sound. Unfortunately, the conversion to 3-strip Cinerama was a giant leap backward in sound as they used early solid-state amplifiers that produced sound that just sat there behind the screen and rattled, a far cry from the realistic Cinerama sound that the Warner had previously had. They seemed to keep these amps for the 70-mm Cinerama which followed, and it was quite a few years before the sound was any good. Now, of course, they have the best.

LauraLeigh
LauraLeigh on October 16, 2002 at 6:18 pm

I would LOVE to know when tix for Matrix 2 are going on sale. i really wanna see it and uptown is the only place. i wanna get them asap! thanx for anyone who can tell me!!

unknown
unknown on November 29, 2001 at 9:34 am

The Uptown is certainly one of the premier movie theatres in the metro DC area. It suffers from two serious shortcomings, unfortunately: lack of parking (for late shows, the Metro does not run late enough to make it home) and some of the most unpleasant staff I’ve ever seen at a theatre. Whereas most cinema staff are just plain incompetent, the staff at the Uptown border on hostile. They won’t stop me from coming, but I do hope Loew’s boots the lot and trains the next set in customer service!