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The theater has reopened and is now Celebrity Theatres, similar to its sister theaters in Broussard and Ruston, LA. It reopened November 15, 2016.
1994-September 2002: Oak Cinema 8
November 2002-August 2016: Grand Cinema
November 2016-present: Celebrity Theatres
The McKinley Theater was built by Joseph Barcelona in 1935 for the African-American community. Barcelona sold the theater in 1937. The theater closed in 1958.
The Tivoli Theater closed in 1955, as per an article in the Baton Rouge Advocate about theater owner Joseph Barcelona. Barcelona purchased Gem Theater in 1928, renamed it Tivoli, and owned it until it closed.
Leslie Theater opened around 1927, as per the Baton Rouge Advocate and by the 1950s it was owned by Mrs. Violet Muse Clark, who also owned the Joan Drive-In Theatre in Denham Springs near the Amite River Bridge on US 190. Both were involved in a bankruptcy sale in late 1953. The Leslie Theater was rechristened the Carol Theater in 1954. The Joan Theatre later became a commercial building supply site.
According to the August 20, 1961 Sunday Advocate article, the theater closed in 1960. It was built by Gordon Ogden. His sons, Gordon, Jr. and J. Randolph, managed the Gordon and Varsity Theaters in town.
In February 1978, the Tiger Drive-In was “temporarily closed,” hence gone for good, seems the porno film “Chatterbox” was the last movie screened there.
Theater closed in mid 1985
From September 6, 1951
Theater opened August 22, 2003 with stadium seating, wall-to-wall screens, digital surround sound, four feet between seats, hi-back rocker chairs with retractable cup holders, three concession stands and elevator access. It has 3,700 seats in a 73,292 square-foot complex.
Rave initially considered building a theater in the Bon Carre Town Center located at the old Bon Marche Mall, while the owners of Oak Cinema 8 initially wanted to build on O'Neal Lane, with these ideas coming to fruition in the late 1990s. With Bon Carre’s purpose shifting to a technology park instead of a mixed-commercial development, Rave eyed O'Neal Lane and built their theater there.
Most of Rave’s base is from Livingston Parish, and one of the biggest issues that the theater has faced is traffic, as this theater is situated at the end of a no outlet two-lane street. The theater has compensated the lack of adjacent parking (as the parking lot stretches a far distance behind the theater) by offering shuttle service, and local policemen are usually present in the evenings to direct traffic.
According to Baton Rouge’s “The Advocate,” United Artists opened this theater in December 1987, boasting 2500 seating capacity, fully automated projection booths, and Dolby stereo. In 1996, Cinemark opened a Tinseltown Theater less than a mile away and successfully lured away many of UA’s customers by offering stadium seating and matching the Siegen Theater’s ticket prices. In 1999, with the closure of a small theater nearby (Essen Cinema 6), Siegen Theater chose to screen independent and foreign films. By 2007, it was the last “traditional” theater still in operation as other theaters erected in Baton Rouge had digital sound/picture and stadium seating or had upgraded to such. On June 7, 2007, Siegen shut its doors with the last film screened being “Delta Farce” starring Larry the Cable Guy.
Here is a brief history of this theater. It opened in early 1994 as Oak Cinema 8 to cater to citizens of southeast Baton Rouge, an area that did not have a nearby theater. For the first 1-1 ½ years in operation, it aired second-run movies before switching to first-run in July 1995. In September 2002, the owners of the theater closed it for renovation to upgrade it to one with stadium seating and digital sound—doing this because of the planned opening of the Rave Motion Picture Theater a few miles north (which eventually opened in 2003). When it reopened by the 2002 Thanksgiving/Christmas season, it was renamed Grand Cinema, which is what it is called today. The theater has always been locally owned and operated (currently the only O&O in BR) now under the ownership of local company Celebrity Theatres, which also has theaters in Broussard (near Lafayette) and Ruston.