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I dropped by one of my favorite childhood theaters this weekend which now operates as a discount house. Happy to report that the 30 year old establishment continues to thrive and is well looked after by Regency. It’s a perfectly preserved relic from the 80s. It’s amazing they can stay in business with such low prices. That said, business was booming on the day of my visit.
I was in the neighborhood recently so I decided to swing by and pay my respects. Happy to see that the sad patch of land which used to be Edwards Cinema Center, The Ice Skating Palace, Kona Lanes and the old record store has been developed into a massive condominium complex. Looks really nice. Life goes on.
The last film I saw here was The Doors in 1991, just over 25 years ago. We sat up in the stadium seating section and were tripping in magic mushrooms. It was quite an event. I don’t think we were the only audience members on some kind of hallucinogenic… I can’t remember if this was a 70mm presentation but I’ll tell you what, for most of us in attendance we were looking through a portal to the late 60s early 70s. So much fun. I grew up seeing movies in this amazing auditorium… Popeye, Empire 70mm, Superman, Poltergeist 70mm, Aliens 70mm, Die Hard 70mm… Great memories… Now just a patch of green grass next to a parking structure.
For me, the newly renovated Big Screen did not disappoint. Although I do miss the curtain and can do without the Regal pre show, I really appreciate the extra space and comfort of this modern configuration. It’s the next logical step and feels right for this landmark of cinema. The screen looks amazing and was wide as I remembered it for today’s showing of Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation. Great sound. Good crowd. Long live Edwards Big Newport. The old man would be proud.
One question. From the listing I couldn’t tell if Antman was screening in 3D. Didn’t appear to be. I don’t think they ever offered 3D before in that auditorium because of the old screen. I would imagine they have the capability now with all the new specs. The Chinese Theater has the same projector and 3D looks amazing there. Just curious.
Thank you, Flix70! I’ve been so curious about this revamp. I’ll be visiting next weekend to see M:I Rogue Nation. I’ll try to snap some additional shots. Also, I should be receiving new vintage photos soon. Thanks for sharing!
That’s awesome! Can’t wait to see what they’ve done with the original three.
I found it on line. I used to work for Edwards, many years ago. My girlfriend at the time worked upstairs at the corporate office. I have recently been in touch with her and she is working on acquiring many photographs from the early 90s all the way back through the late 60s. Once I get the ok I will post them here!
My guess is that it makes more sense to have five theaters up and running by May 1st… I imagine July 4th would be a good of day as any to unveil the new big screen. Perhaps Terminator Genysis will kick things off. I can’t wait to see the finished product. I grew up watching films at Big a Newport. I worked there from 1990 through 1992. I can barely articulate how much this place means to me. I live in LA now but will happily make the trek down south to see what’s doing. I can guarantee my attendance in late December for Star Wars.
The renovation of the big screen has begun… Fingers crossed.
They have not twinned this theater. It is a legend in Orange County and thankfully has been well looked after over the years. However… Plans are in motion to “upgrade” the auditorium with spacious stadium seating as well as state of the art IMAX screen. I have mixed feelings about this. If they can pull off what the Chinese Theater did just a few years ago this might be a worthwhile endeavor… Time will tell.
I love this theater more than any other. I hope they do right by her. There’s nowhere else I’d rather be on December 18th, 2015.
Is this theater closed?
I’ve been inside and I really like what they’ve done. The AVCO has been reborn. Is it the cinema we remember from the 70s? No. Is it ten times better than the cinema we remember post split? Ten thousand times. This is a classy spot and I urge you to come see for yourself.
Just recognized the National in all its living glory while watching David Fincher’s Zodiac. The house is packed with a 70s era audience while Dirty Harry plays on the big screen. The lobby is also featured as the film lets out. Check it out if you’re feeling nostalgic.
This was a cool theater back in the day. Saw ET and Jedi there. Jedi was 70mm. The building now houses a BABY’S R US. You can see it from the 405.
It’s official. The Rialto has been converted into an Urban Outfitters. The interior is pretty cool. They were projecting old black and white films onto the former screen wall during their grand opening. Will drop by with my camera soon.
What a short life…
What’s done is done. I’m sad to see our heritage lost but at the same time I’m optimistic that this new design will carry on the tradition of first class presentation at one of our most beloved theaters.
That’s too bad… That was the nicest theater on the promenade… the nicest in Santa Monica even…
Anybody know when this place relaunches…?
Wow… this theater reminds me exactly of my beloved, late Orange Cinedome… next time I’m up north I will visit for sure. Good to see.
The Family Four was a little run down but a decent place for broke neighborhood kids like me to camp out in all day long. There were lots of second run double features and a fair amount of hard core slasher flicks which always seemed odd for the Family Four.
I saw RAMBO III and COMING TO AMERICA there while on vacation in 1988… Great theater!