Cinema

5100 Wisconsin Avenue,
Washington, DC 20016

Unfavorite 7 people favorited this theater

Showing 26 - 40 of 40 comments

FunkD
FunkD on May 14, 2006 at 5:56 am

This was the pride of KB Theatres back in the 80s. I remember being there for a staff meeting and seeing Indiana Jones (The last one with Sean Conery) in 70mm (6 Track Dolby surround) for a special staff preview. I loved the sound system, wish I saw more movies there when I was working for them.

It was a company pride meeting…but all pride aside KB theatres had one foot in the grave and the owners were just trying to hold on.

Should have sold out much earlier if they were smarter, still I doubt the Goldman’s are living in the street somewhere.

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ on September 5, 2005 at 10:53 pm

The architect of the Cinema was Ben Schlanger, who was also instrumental in the development of the Cinema I-Cinema II in New York City.

Glennm
Glennm on March 11, 2005 at 8:18 am

Dear Ron,

Its closed—I don’t know its future!

drosnin

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on March 11, 2005 at 7:26 am

So, is it open or closed now? If closed, what is its future?

Glennm
Glennm on March 11, 2005 at 6:49 am

Hello Mr. Charles Van Bibber!

5100 is the correct address for the Cinema—Wisc. Ave. is numbered even on the west side, odd on the east. 5101 is the Transit Workers Bldg., I believe.
Rodman’s Discount Drugs and the Cinema share the same address (5100) because they’re both in the same block-long building!

drosnin

KeithMadden
KeithMadden on January 11, 2005 at 9:05 pm

Sadly the Cinema was just closed by Loews Cineplex Entertainment.

JodarMovieFan
JodarMovieFan on August 20, 2004 at 10:08 pm

Yes, the first Star Trek movie premiered at the MacArthur, but it also opened at other theaters in the DC Metro area. I saw it, on opening weekend, at the now closed KB Langley and later at the Jenifer, which I believe had the movie longer than other theaters in the area. The Jenifer played the movie on both screens starting at 8 or 9 am, on opening weekend, too, if I remember correctly.

Michael21046
Michael21046 on August 20, 2004 at 12:19 am

In response to JodarMovieFan. I thought the first Star Trek movie opened at the old MacArthur theatre. It also had a dolby system. Maybe it was a second run at the Jenifer. When there was little first run material the old GCC theatre would should second run films.
I know I saw the last Star War movie at the Jenifer which was shown there in 70mm and dolby. There may have been a 70mm run of Superman at the Uptown but as I recollect the Embassy theatre(which is now the Visions theatre and bar)was the first to show Superman in the 70mm format.

That second theatre at the Jenifer was really too small for anything! Would you believe when the Sensurround movie
Rollercoaster was not getting any business the manager moved it to the second theatre? He moved everything including the special speakers to that much smaller screen! Ocassionally the Jenifer would show some arthouse films if nothing else was available. During my duration there they had a double feature of early Lina Wertmuller films! Later they showed the old 1965(?) Czech film “The Shop on Main Street” – on the big screen! No one showed for that on a Saturday night except for two people!

JodarMovieFan
JodarMovieFan on August 19, 2004 at 9:09 pm

I remember the Jenifer. Maybe it should be listed on Cinema Treasure, too. I saw the first Star Trek movie there several times as well as a few other movies. It had a killer dolby sound system that was turned up nice and load..the way I like it :) And, yes, the second theater didn’t have Dolby, if I remember correctly.

I think Superman played at the Uptown in 70mm. I was too young to go downtown when it came out and saw that film at a shoebox multiplex theater called the Landover 6, now thankfully closed.

Michael21046
Michael21046 on August 19, 2004 at 5:36 pm

No, there was a GCC theatre called the Jenifer & & II. It was located a couple of blocks from KB’s Cinema. It was originally named the GCC Jenifer Cinema I & II but KB objected so it was shortened to Jenifer I & II. The GCC theatre opened in 1975 with Funny Lady. But it hit its stride with long lines outside its theatre for the immortal “Jaws”. Unfortunately, after Jaws' run, it ran a gamut of bad movies and B movies that did not attract many crowds. (Part of this may be due to the fact that it ran many of Universal’s films which were, aside from “Jaws”, pretty awful. None of them are mentioned as great classics of the ‘70s). However, by 1976 the problems were rectified and the Jenifer showed better, more prestigious films. The list of films shown included The Bad News Bears, An Umarried Woman, Julia, Annie Hall, Hustle and Animal House.

Initially, although it had a big widescreen in its larger hall, it did not have stereophonic sound. By 1979 Dolby Stereo was installed in the first house, its first stereo feature being “Superman”. It was one of the very few houses that ran the Superman in Dolby Stereo.

The Jenifer’s second screen was much smaller and its original screen was the size of a postage stamp. It was later replaced by a more subtantial larger screen.

I’m familiar with the Jenifer because I worked as a doorman part time for a few years there. The security problem was immense as the entrance to both screens were across from one other. One could easily go from one theatre to the other without any real scrutiny. As it was located in the lower level of a building that included a Booeymonger and old Herman’s store this also posed problems of security.

I’m not sure but I believe the local Circle chain bought the Jenifer I & II. When the Circle chain was gobbled up by Loew’s Cineplex the Jenifer was closed down and gutted for new stores.

Ron3853
Ron3853 on August 19, 2004 at 1:31 pm

To the best of my knowledge, it was the KB chain which opened the Cinema in April 1965.

JodarMovieFan
JodarMovieFan on August 15, 2004 at 9:45 am

I’m not sure if this theater was part of the General Cinema chain, during the 60s, but I’m sure it was part of the KB chain during the latter part of the 70s and most of the 80s.

If memory serves me correctly, the GCC chain had just a few theaters in the DC area; namely the Springfield Mall (VA) multiplex (now AMC), Mazza Gallery (now AMC), Columbia 9, in MD, and I think the Fair Oaks Mall 10.

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ on August 14, 2004 at 3:14 am

This must have been General Cinema when it first opened – the sign on the front above the entrance canopy – ‘Cinema’ in an unusual stylized script is the same script used in the theatre sigs for the GCC formatted display advertising in the 60s, and it was also used on the uniform blouses the female employees wore in the 60s & 70s. When Cineplex had the theatre (Loews aquired it from the merger) they probably put the pink neon tubing in the sign, since they were out of their minds with that damn pink neon everywhere. It was probably blue neon, originally.

Most of the Cinemas at the time used the red serif-style block letters, but there were a few theatres where the landlord of a more upscale property did not want that type of sign, and felt that the script was more elegant looking.

Ron3853
Ron3853 on March 27, 2004 at 2:26 pm

Films which played at the Cinema from 1965-1976 Research from microfilms of The Washington Post and Variety. Theater opened 4/1/65.

04/01/65 White Voices
04/07/65 The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
05/19/65 Nobody Waved Goodbye
06/09/65 All These Women
06/16/65 The Yellow Rolls-Royce
09/29/65 The Ipcress File
12/22/65 Bunny Lake is Missing
02/02/66 Where the Spies Are
03/02/66 Lord Love a Duck
03/16/66 The Sleeping Car Murders
04/27/66 Cast a Giant Shadow
05/25/66 The Guns of Navarone
06/29/66 Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
11/09/66 La Dolce Vita
11/23/66 10:30 PM Summer
12/21/66 A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
03/15/67 Hotel
04/12/67 The Deadly Affair
05/24/67 The Honey Pot
07/12/67 The Family Way
09/20/67 The Flim-Flam Man
10/18/67 Point Blank
11/22/67 More Than a Miracle
12/20/67 The Graduate
01/29/69 The Subject Was Roses
03/05/69 Funny Girl
10/15/69 Take the Money and Run
12/17/69 John and Mary
02/25/70 The Magic Christian
03/25/70 Woodstock
06/24/70 Catch-22
12/23/70 Love Story
07/07/71 McCabe and Mrs. Miller
08/25/71 The Hellstrom Chronicle
10/06/71 The Marriage of a Young Stockbroker
10/20/71 The Steagle
11/10/71 Bless the Beasts and Children
12/01/71 Glen and Randa
12/22/71 Straw Dogs
02/09/72 A Clockwork Orange
06/28/72 Portnoy’s Complaint
08/16/72 The New Centurions
10/04/72 Deliverance
12/20/72 The Getaway
02/14/73 Steelyard Blues
03/07/73 Billy Jack
03/28/73 Fantasia
04/11/73 Scarecrow
06/27/73 The Last of Sheila
07/18/73 O Lucky Man
09/19/73 Bang the Drum Slowly
10/24/73 The Paper Chase
12/26/73 The Exorcist
06/12/74 Buster and Billie
07/10/74 Our Time
08/14/74 The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz
10/16/74 The Gambler
11/20/74 Ladies and Gentlemen…The Rolling Stones
12/18/74 The Night Porter
01/29/75 Murder on the Orient Express
03/26/75 Tommy
07/02/75 Nashville
10/08/75 Three Days of the Condor
12/24/75 Barry Lyndon
02/18/76 (repertory film festival showings)
02/25/76 Taxi Driver
04/07/76 All the President’s Men
06/30/76 The Big Bus
09/15/76 The Tenant
10/13/76 Marathon Man
12/22/76 The Last Tycoon

The Cinema was one of the most desired theaters in the Washington DC area during the late 1960s and 1970s for film studios to exhibit their product, as witness the many popular films that played first-run engagements there as well as the length of those engagements. Yes, “The Graduate” played there over a year and most of the other films were youth-oriented hits and box-office smashes of their year.
All of the listings above were either first-run bookings or official studio reissues such as “The Guns of Navarone” and “La Dolce Vita.”

JodarMovieFan
JodarMovieFan on March 8, 2004 at 11:01 am

1980 was the year, in which I made a long bus ride from the MD suburbs, with a few of my school chums, to stand in a line that went around the block, to watch “Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.” This theater had a 70mm print of this eagerly awaited sequel to “Star Wars.” This particular theater is not as opulent or otherwise memorable as say DC’s MacArthur or Uptown, but it had a killer Dolby 6-track sound system and 70mm capability. I still have vivid memories of watching Empire, especially the asteroid belt sequence and just being blown away by the sound and moving, in synch, with Millenium Falcon, as it bobbed and weaved avoiding asteroids and the pursuit of firing Imperial ships!

E.T. played here, also in 70mm, but the lines were too long and I ended up seeing it at the now closed Landover 6 theaters, one of the worst places to have seen a movie in the DC area. The last film I saw here, in 70mm, was Spielbeg’s “Empire of the Sun,” in 1987. I don’t think this theater booked any 70mm films after that time as I’m sure I would’ve gone there. Then again, 70mm presentations became far and fewer into the 90s.

In 1991, this theater had a Star Trek movie marathon where they showed the first five films and the trailer, for the eagerly anticipated sixth and final Classic Trek cast film. Yes, I sat and watched all five films, with a friend from work, whom I cajoled into playing hooky from his job. Unfortunately, it was a non-70mm event but it was some experience to revisit those movies again all in one day, on the big screen with an enthusiastic audience. How else would one want to experience movies, eh?

The last film I saw there was Shrek, in ‘01’, playing in digital stereo and the theater seemed pretty much the way I remembered it but seemed to be in need of some touch ups here and there. They don’t seem to book the mainstream films that they used to anymore, as the recent films shown were more of the art house variety or festivals.