Britton Cinema 8

3938 S. Dale Mabry Highway,
Tampa, FL 33611

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Showing 26 - 47 of 47 comments

TLSLOEWS on June 1, 2010 at 9:03 pm

Cool artical and photos Nick,I know it is hard to make them look good at least you have some old stuff to post I never kept any of my old stuff except one-sheets.Luckly none of my theatres were divited they just built as one screens even the Loews Melrose with 1000 seats including the balcony would have worked unless they were real small theatres,there was talk of it but it never happened. The Loews Crescent with 830 seats maybe could have been split but they would have been very long skinny theatres with small screens.And I just thought there were only exit doors on the left side of the house so the fire codes would not let this happen.

Nunzienick on June 1, 2010 at 8:18 pm

Here’s an article on the reopening of the Britton as a triplex on June 28, 1973. A photo shows a portion of the original auditorium with the new smaller screen that replaced the original 60-foot wide screen which was torn out. I focused the ad to the max but still not the best quality. Text of article continues on bottom link.
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Nunzienick on May 25, 2010 at 10:33 pm

tlsloews, At least you remembered the film “Sleeper” and your $1.50 per hour when you began in the business. I can’t recall which films were playing my first night on the job at the Dale Mabry Drive-In. But I can’t forget my $5.00 per night pay that amounted to about .83 cents an hour!

Mike, I saw “Paper Moon” on my first visit. Afterwards I peeked in the shoebox cinema I to see how “The Sound of Music” was doing and it was crowded. I was standing at the back for a few minutes when suddenly the reel ended and the picture went off the screen making loud bleeping & popping noises as it ran completely through the projector and soundhead leaving a brightly lit screen for a few seconds. POOR SHOWMANSHIP! Where was the projectionist..?!

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 25, 2010 at 5:27 pm

Hope the old ladies didn’t slip into cinema 2. Great ad. I started on “FOR PETE’S SAKE” rated PG.

TLSLOEWS on May 25, 2010 at 12:46 pm

Nice ad Nick,1973 the first year I was in the business showing Woody Allens SLEEPER at the LOEWS MELROSE $1.50 an hour as a doorman.

Nunzienick on May 24, 2010 at 9:59 pm

Grand re-opening ad from 1973:
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TLSLOEWS on May 16, 2010 at 1:42 pm

She will sooner or later.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 15, 2010 at 9:50 am

Nick, i try and cruise and see what you and TLSloew comment on. Was checking Robin’s theatres,but she’s sorta dropped out.Hope she puts Tlsloews Drive-in pictures on.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 15, 2010 at 9:48 am

Well,when i talked to Hal Holbrook.and I know i have told you this during his Mark Twain show and afterwards we talked a long time back stage and when i asked about movies he had done he really had no idea what I was talking about,And i got to thinking,it is just a job. We fans get caught up in it.You hit your mark and say your lines.Brilliant Actor ,but it wasn’t important to him about being a bad guy in “MAGNUM FORCE”.

Nunzienick on May 14, 2010 at 9:29 pm

Sorry Mike…I promise to keep you more up-to-date in my postings! No, I guess I was too starstruck and intimidated to ask Mr. Marley about the horse’s head. What I said to him was, “I just wanted to say I saw you in The Godfather and Love Story and you did a great job in those two films and I also enjoyed this film as well.” Of course afterwards I was kicking myself for not asking him more especially about The Godfather and also about Ali McGraw and what she was like to work with. Guess I had my chance and blew it!

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 14, 2010 at 7:15 pm

Nick, I just saw this May 14,Plez, leave a message on newer posts telling me to go back. I just happen to stumble on it.Did you ask about the real horse head they used in “GODFATHER”

Nunzienick on April 30, 2010 at 10:47 am

Forgot to include this bit of trivia in my prior posting. In 1974 the Britton Theatre held the world premiere of a little horror movie that has achieved somewhat of a cult status. The film was called “Dead of Night” (also known as “Deathdream”) and was shot entirely in Brooksville just north of Tampa. A portion of the film near the climax was also shot at the Brooksville 41 Drive-In Theatre.

It starred John Marley (of Godfather & Love Story fame) and the plot dealt with the homecoming of a soldier killed during the Vietnam war who somehow returns home as a sort of living dead vampire. It’s a creepy and well-made little shocker directed by Bob Clark who later did the “Porky’s” films and the holiday favorite “A Christmas Story.”

Mr. Marley made a personal appearance at the Britton and spoke on stage prior to the screening. Afterwards he remained in the theatre and chatted with several patrons including yours truly. There are many excellent reviews of the film posted on the Internet Movie Database.

AndyCallahanMajorMajor on April 26, 2010 at 12:04 pm

I took this picture back in 2007, not really aiming at anything in particular. This is from when Zota operated the theater.

DennisBenjamin on January 22, 2010 at 11:53 am

I worked very breifly at this location. I trained there in 1996 to be a GM for Regal Cinemas. I liked this location and could not believe that it was originally a single screen location and was eventually turned into an 8 screen.

bpajak on October 27, 2009 at 10:15 pm

Oh also, we were listed in the St. Pete Times on Firday, October 10, 2009 as one of the “Five Theaters Near You”. We made the list with the likes of Channelside, Ybor 20, CineBistro and Tampa Theatre.

Brian Pajak

bpajak on October 27, 2009 at 10:07 pm

I am the manager of the newly reopened Britton 8 in Tampa, Fl. Zota no longer own the theatre. It was purchased by a group called 5 Star Cinemas, which also owns the Center 6 in Ocala, FL. They reopened Britton in August 2009.

The theatre shows subruns currently but hopes to go to first run by the holidays. We also cater to the growing Indian population by showing first run and subrun Indian movies as well.

Currently we are showing movies for $2 everyday with the exception of Tuesday where movies are $1.

If you would like to talk to me further please feel free to contact me.

Brian Pajak
Manager, Britton 8
813 – 839 – 1600

cvolosin on August 10, 2009 at 2:31 pm

In October 2008 I happened by this location and had noticed it was closed.. Zota had opted out of renewing it’s month to month lease. All of the A/C units were toast and multiple celing damage could be seen from the faulty units.

I managed to meet with a real estate broker for the property,and took a LOT of pictures. it was turn-key (Necessity of a DEEP CLEANING) Victoria 5 projectors.

Balcony is split in 2 (Stadium seating <G>) elevator and stairs. There are 6 houses downstairs, 3 on each side of a center hallway, the hallway getting narrower as you go down, as the splitting of the original house to accomidate the 6 houses.

seating appeared to be ranging from 80-185. I guess the last time I drove by in July 09, there was a sign up saying they were re-opening on the 31st Haven’t seen the times in the paper yet so I wonder if they did get open.

Once the “Submit Photo’s” link is up I will post them.

Nunzienick on July 15, 2009 at 3:40 am

The above article contains two incorrect statements. The Britton was never twinned. It was first tripled and later 8-plexed. It opened in 1956 as a huge (and I mean HUGE) single screen theater.
It was big! Standing at the back of the auditorium and looking towards the screen, the main level seemed like a full block long. The newspaper ads proclaimed: “when at the Britton you’re at Radio City Music Hall! It had 70mm capability and a giant 60' wide screen. I believe capacity was just shy of 1,900. It also had a balcony. Not certain who the original owner/operator was but it was sold to General Cinema around 1972 (this was around the same time the single screen Loew’s Theatre on Westshore Blvd was also purchased by GCC).

Anyone remember the Loew’s? Following the Britton’s grand reopening as a triplex in 1973, GCC announced similiar plans were underway for the Loew’s which was twinned and renamed Austin Cinema I & II — a disaster but that’s another story.

The Britton was totally destroyed when they tripled it. The front half of the auditorium was basically left intact and was the larger of the three theatres. The rear half was divided into two smaller screening rooms with each room retaining half of the original balcony. I believe GCC closed it around 1991. In 1992 it was purchased by Muvico and sliced into 8 small screening rooms. It was terrible. I went once and never returned. That was enough for me. It closed once again when Muvico pulled out and was later reopened by Regal. The above article states Regal closed it in 2001. I believe it was sometime during the 1990s that it fell under the ownership of Zota Theatres for a time but not sure exactly when.

I haven’t kept close tabs on the Britton in the past few years but I recall it being in operation for several years since 2001. I heard it just recently closed again. Probably for good this time.

Scott: The 20-screen theatre in Centro Ybor opened under Muvico — it was never an AMC theatre. There has been talk of cutting the theatre down to 10 screens and rennovating the other half for office space. That doesn’t suprise me at all. There were very few people there each time I’ve been. Hard to believe the theatre has hung on this long without Muvico pulling out.

Scott Neff
Scott Neff on January 7, 2009 at 12:49 pm

That article mentions that the Centro Ybor theatre was an AMC. Was it originally an AMC that Muvico took over or what’s the deal there?

Mikeoaklandpark on January 6, 2009 at 1:00 pm

Wehn I moved to Tampa in 1983, the theatre was a triplex run by General Cinema. When GC pulled oout of Tampa it was purchased by Muvico and than Regal and than closed and reopened under the current owner. Right behind this theatre was the AMC Twin Bay 4 which used to be AMC’s discount house in Tampa. I was in the theatre once after it became 8 screens and it was terrible. Most of the theatres were very small like a living room. Before it closed as a GCC theatre, it had one large theatre that held about 900 people and 2 smaller theatres.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 6, 2009 at 12:04 am

Unless the original theater at this location was demolished to make way for the 8-plex, it opened as the single-screen Britton Theatre in 1956. Boxoffice Magazine’s issue of September 10, 1955, carried an item about the planned theater, which was designed by architect James E. Casale. At that time, it was intended to have a seating capacity of 1,800. I haven’t been able to find any items about the actual opening, so I don’t know if it was built to that size or not.

The original Britton was apparently triplexed by the early 1970s. The various photos of the Cinema 8 at Cinema Tour, as well as the satellite view from Google Maps, lead me to suspect that the original theatre is still there as the nucleus of the 8-plex.