AMC 309 Cinema 9

1210 Bethlehem Pike, Routes 309 and 63,
North Wales, PA 19454

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309 Cinema 9

This theatre was built by William Goldman & Co. as a single-screen theatre which opened April 10, 1968. Originally owned by Budco, which also owned the adjacent 309 Drive-In. Twinned on February 8, 1974. On February 1, 1980 another screen was added on the right side of the existing building.

In 1982 a fourth screen was added on the left side of the existing building. When AMC took over the Budco chain, they added four more screens on the north side of the building on December 3, 1982. On June 20, 1986 it became a 9-screen cinema. The theatre’s famous sign is the hexagonal “3 0 9” on the building, and the neon “309” sign on Route 309. It was closed for refurbishment/rebuilding on May 23, 2017. It was reopened March 30, 2018.

Contributed by Tim Quan

Recent comments (view all 33 comments)

RedJacket on January 2, 2011 at 5:12 pm

Maintenance always has been an issue because of the various additions. The lobby was redone in 1992-1993 to move the concession stand back and to allow for more registers. Previously, the entire place was a mess on opening nights and big releases because people were spiraled around a small stand — intended for drive-in audiences — and there was no easy way to situate the lines for those entering the theater. Further, resupply and preparation was behind a door that later became the arcade area. This is to the immediate left when one enters the building through the front doors. We used to have a popper going upstairs to handle any surges. Before the refurbishment, the equipment was getting to beaten up that if you touched popcorn scoops to the back of the warmers you would get an electric shock if your scoop didn’t have a rubber handle. Sometime in the ‘00s, they eliminated the generators that once sat behind the building. These were guarded by a low wall, and we would find people toking up and getting intimate in the weeds there. Location is what keeps this place open. Time has passed it by, but for awhile the $3 twilight shows (4 p.m.-6 p.m.) and cheaper prices than the former Eric up the street helped to drive traffic here.

mitchaia on June 19, 2011 at 11:57 am

The first addition was on the left. Subsequent splitting of the two auditoria made it into a 4plex. The last addition, resulting in 9 screens, was done, prior to the purchase by AMC, by a group of hotshot movie mogul wannabees who hired a major theatre architect from Boston, rather than the local architect who designed all Budco’s facilities, who proceded to screw up the patron circulation.

TheALAN on December 9, 2013 at 4:29 pm


Opened in 1968, the 309 Cinema, a single-screen, first run theatre was built adjacent to and on the same site as the 309 Twin Drive-In (now demolished) by Budco Theatres Inc. The theatre was twinned in the mid 1970’s and several additions and renovations to the original building, and poor planning, during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s has resulted in the hodgepodge that exists today. The cinema was rebranded the AMC 309 Cinema 9 when the Budco Theatres chain was acquired by AMC Cinemas (now AMC Theatres) at the end of 1986. Renovations to the lobby were made in the early 1990’s. And since it is a cinema, a marquee would be nice!

Coate on December 11, 2013 at 10:20 am

How many screens did this theater have as of the winter of 1978/79?

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on December 11, 2013 at 2:08 pm

The Budco 309 Cinema was a Twin by the start of 1976. This location became a 3-plex in early to mid 1980.

rivest266 on October 10, 2016 at 7:16 am

April 10th, 1968 and February 8th, 1974 grand opening ads in the photo sections. 3 cinemas on February 1st,1980, 4 cinemas on December 3rd, 1982, and nine screens on June 20th, 1986. No grand opening ads in the philly newspapers 1980-1986.

jeffpiatt on April 4, 2017 at 7:43 pm Based on this twitter thread the AMC 309 cinema is set to be upgraded. Either to AMC classic or Amazing.

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on May 4, 2017 at 4:01 am

From what i heard, the 309 Cinema will be completely rebuilt

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on June 11, 2017 at 6:35 pm

The 309 Cinema closed 5/23/2017 to begin its renovations/rebuilding

jeffpiatt on April 29, 2018 at 2:44 am

article on the theater reopening.

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