Stockton Empire Theatre

1825 Pacific Avenue,
Stockton, CA 95204

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itheliving on April 1, 2017 at 8:54 pm

Anyone looking for historical pics and info on theaters in Stockton CA should visit historical Stockton on Facebook. Gene Wright has an archive that is superb and complete. That’s right Wright has them all

itheliving on April 1, 2017 at 8:30 pm

The Fox Theater is now the Bob Hope Theater.

CSWalczak on December 2, 2012 at 12:21 am

The Stockton Empire’s official website is:

Mikeyisirish on December 1, 2012 at 11:24 pm

A 2011 photo can be seen here.

larrygoldsmith on June 14, 2010 at 11:27 am

KenRoe You’re right. I forgot that it was called FOX CALIFORNIA. Thanks again!

larrygoldsmith on June 14, 2010 at 10:59 am

There was a beautiful FOX THEATRE located in downtown Stockton, however I am unable to find it listed anywhere on CT.

ksutterfield on December 4, 2009 at 2:25 pm

Ken mc: The State Theater of the photos was located in the 300 block of main street. It was remodeled and renamed the Esquire Theater in 1954.


Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 29, 2009 at 11:10 pm

Here is a weblog post by the late Bob Wilkins with several photos of the Stockton Empire both before and after its renovation.

kencmcintyre on November 7, 2009 at 2:56 pm

From the LA Times in February 1980:

Fire of undetermined origin caused an estimated $175,000 damage to a Stockton theater. There were no injuries. Authorities say the flames gutted much of the interior of the Stockton Royal’s main theater. There was also extensive smoke damage to three adjoining theaters, recently added in a remodeling project at the Royal.

DataGirl on October 4, 2009 at 9:22 am

Construction of the theater was authorized by the Federal Goverment despite wartime restriction on private construction. The Harvey Brothers (Rodda W. Harvey Sr. and H.V. “Rotus” Harvey) argued that the theater was needed for the morale of the local port workers who were critical to the war effort. Probably Mr. H. V. Harvey’s extensive work as chairman of the theater exhibitor’s war bond effort played a large role.

kencmcintyre on June 28, 2008 at 11:53 am

It looks like most of the bookings are for private parties. The San Joaquin film festival will be held at the Stockton in May 2009.

hellathatguy on August 8, 2007 at 2:54 pm

The theatre is open now and is some kind of coffeeshop/arthousecinema/bar/music venue. here is the website:

tanyeshka on July 21, 2007 at 4:25 am


I used to go to the theatre when I was a kid in the 80s and 90s, back in the “Stockton Royal” years. I remember at least one of the auditoriums had a gorgeous side wall with all sorts of art deco/archaic greek plasterwork. There was a stag, and perhaps archers too…I can’t remember, but it was all very Artemis/Apollo allusiony. It was gorgeous. I also remember that the lobby had at least one depression glass chandelier. A family friend, who was a glass collector and just happened to live right across the street from the Royal (on Walnut), freaked when we saw the fixture had been replaced by some cheesy 80s looking thing.

Sigh. I miss this place. I think the last film I saw there was “Ghost.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 15, 2006 at 3:31 pm

ken mc: I thought I’d replied to your question about the State Theatre long ago, but I must have hit the “preview” button instead of the “Post” button. D'OH!

Anyway- The Stockton Empire was in a fairly suburban location some distance north of downtown Stockton. The pictures of the State show it being in a dense, urban area, with a tall building next door, so it must not be the same theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 13, 2006 at 2:13 pm

Stockton was a fairly large city by the time movies were invented and, until the recent burgeoning of Bakersfield, was long the third largest city in the central valley. I’d be very surprised if the city had not had at least a dozen movie theatres over the years. Unfortunately, Stockton’s old center was largely wiped out by urban renewal projects beginning in the 1960’s, so it’s unlikely that many of the buildings containing those theatres survived. I only ever visited downtown Stockton three or four times, and that in the 1970’s when demolition was already well advanced.

Incidentally, the web page listing Robert Lippert Theatres (the company owned two in Stockton; the Liberty and the Lincoln) has expired, ints domain name not having been renewed. For the time being you can still see the Google cache of the page here.

NicholasWeed on December 14, 2005 at 12:43 pm

I worked at the Stockton Royal for two years and have photos of the Art Deco. I think that it is sad that the new owner had it painted over during the remodeled.

GaryParks on May 13, 2005 at 5:15 pm

Glad to hear this theatre is at least still standing. I remember seeing a photo of it many years ago in a book called, “Stockton’s Theatres of Yesterday.” I THINK I’ve got the title right. Much has been said about the Fox (Bob Hope) California (rightly so) and I remember seeing the now-gutted or demolished Ritz in its last days in the mid-1980s, but its nice to hear Stockton still has yet another cinema treasure surviving. Hopefully much of its integrity will be respected.