Aero Theatre

1328 Montana Avenue,
Santa Monica, CA 90403

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Aero Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Built by the Donald Douglas Company in 1939, the Aero Theatre was originally opened as a continuous 24-hour movie theatre for aircraft workers who worked in shifts around the clock. It later became a beloved neighborhood theatre and has anchored the now posh Montana Avenue section of Santa Monica.

Robert Redford’s ill-fated Sundance Cinemas project was slated to take over the Aero Theatre, but pulled out after the bankruptcy of General Cinemas and its subsequent sale to AMC and it closed in 2003. The Aero Theatre was the boyhood cinema of the famous actor/director.

In January 2005, the Aero Theatre was reopened by the American Cinematheque after a $1 million dollar restoration including a new screen, sound and projection equipment, a new concession stand and reduced seating, from nearly 600 to 425. The screen is 38 feet wide and 18 feet high. The American Cinematheque also operates the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood.

Contributed by Cinema Treasures, Jason Axe, Ray Martinez

Recent comments (view all 60 comments)

DonSolosan on July 15, 2010 at 11:58 am

If you’re talking about “An Animated Life,” that’s several years old, but was just released in paperback.

Ross Care
Ross Care on July 15, 2010 at 12:55 pm

I’m not sure. They said this book was only available through Every Picture.
I was distracted by the original $4,500 Mary Blair when I was in the store!

Ross Care
Ross Care on October 21, 2010 at 6:05 pm

Ken Russell & Richard Chamberlain at the Aero:
View link

Ross Care
Ross Care on October 21, 2010 at 6:08 pm

Director Paul Verhoeven at the screening of STARSHIP TROOPERS at the Aero:
View link

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on December 16, 2011 at 7:59 am

It was mentioned early on in the comments here that the exterior of the Aero is seen in the movie “Get Shorty.” In that film, the characters portrayed by John Travolta and Rene Russo are seen watching the end of Orson Welles' “Touch of Evil” in this theater. I don’t know if those interior shots were also filmed at the Aero, but a good deal of the auditorium decor can be seen.

Danny Baldwin
Danny Baldwin on June 21, 2012 at 4:54 pm

Has been equipped with a 4K NEC projector with 3-D capability. Will run DCPs of the traditional classic fare all July…

Complete lowdown here

Ardith on September 1, 2013 at 2:40 am

Ahhh…The good old Aero where we kids used to sit scrunched down with our knees up against the seat in front, with an all day sucker watching the Saturday morning movies for 25 cents in 1952. And we have the dental fillings to prove it. Glad to see the joint is still there.

silver on March 11, 2016 at 10:30 pm

This American Cinematheque tweet has a photo from 1942, just 2 years after the Aero was built. Remarkably little has changed to the theatre’s exterior. Talk about a #tbt! Aero Theatre founder Donald Douglas & State Guard members in 1942 📷: Santa Monica History Museum

Marlon Martinez
Marlon Martinez on May 4, 2016 at 10:57 am

Robert Downey Jr. mentioned this theater on Howard Stern today. He said this is where he and Jon Favreau like to host screenings.

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