Century Plaza Cinemas

2040 Avenue of the Stars,
Los Angeles, CA 90067

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Plitt Century Plaza Theatres old large auditorium (before remodel)

Viewing: Photo | Street View

A standard 1970’s design (which includes a lot of curtains), the theater’s main house was very similar to the Loews Astor in NYC, but not as wide, but just as long. The main house seated around 1,400 people and the second house seated around 800 people, when it opened on April 5, 1972 with the West Coast premiere of “Cabaret”.

In the mid-1980’s, Cineplex took over the Century Plaza Cinemas and remodeled the theater. Unfortunately, this work included a conversion of the main screen into three smaller, separate screens.

By comparision, if one were to cut the Astor’s rear seats from the main seating area, one would create screens 3 and 4 at the Century Plaza. As a result, the theater’s original second screen became considered its main screen.

This theater was often used as a preferred location for private trade screenings, a common occurence in Los Angeles. It also hosted the occassional premiere.

It closed on July 27, 2003 and was demolished the following year.

Contributed by William Gabel, Bradley Erickson

Recent comments (view all 80 comments)

fieldight on June 4, 2011 at 3:17 am

This was one of the best theatres ever! beautiful screens sound, overall quality a real cut above. And it felt fancy. I saw The Matrix there, Born On The Fourth Of July—with Ron Kovic, who the movie was based on actually there. Saw The Green Mile, Apocalypse Now Redux. This really was one of the best theatres, especially the main one.

BRADE48 on June 6, 2011 at 4:38 pm

This was one of the best theatres in L.A. when PLITT operated it. The large auditorium was fantastic. I went to the first showing of Jaws opening day June 20, 1975 at this theatre. Like the AVCO Westwood, it was ruined when they cut up the main theatre into smaller.

Mark Tufiftee
Mark Tufiftee on June 13, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Early in 2002 I got a postcard from the company that owned the ABC Entertainment Center (which included this theatre), announcing they were going to tear everything down and replace it with a new office building and a park. Whenever I went there after that, it was more special because of knowing that it might be the last time. And one day, sadly, it was.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on September 3, 2011 at 5:07 pm

I just watched Oh God Book 2 and they go to this theater, but only the outside. No interior shots, but there is an exterior shot of “ABC Entertainment Center.”

Floresaj on August 14, 2012 at 3:09 pm

I saw Star Wars, 2001, Sound of Music, and I believe The Black Hole in 70mm on the large/main 1,400 seat screen here. Man, if I’d only know what that truly meant at the time!

sartana on September 4, 2013 at 7:47 am

The main auditorium was the site of HPS-4000 with the first ever 4-way speakers in Cinema. The system had the acoustic power equivalent to 10 Symphony Orchestras and was hailed by many film makers as the finest they had ever heard. The picture of the main auditorium shown here was taken upon the completion of the HPS-4000 sound.

Here are two very detailed articles about the awesome system that once was.(PDF required for the second one)

The ultimate system?

Mighty sound of Century Plaza

Daniel on January 26, 2014 at 12:07 am

I saw American Psycho here in 2000, it was amazing. The place was a ghost town though, even the employees looked bored.

It was in such an odd location, I remember getting lost in the office building when I’d go there.

Edward Havens
Edward Havens on March 16, 2016 at 6:36 pm

When I worked for Cineplex Odeon in 1991-1993, this was the seating for the Century Plaza Cinemas:

1: 772
2: 583
3 and 4: 198 each

Theatres 1 and 2 were 70mm capable. Theatre 1 was THX certified. Theatres 2, 3 and 4 had the HPS-4000 sound system.

Coate on June 1, 2016 at 10:40 am

Extracted from 70mm in Los Angeles, here is a list of the 70mm presentations held at the Century Plaza. (Sorry, I don’t have the duration data for most of these or the screen designation. But if anyone wants that info, it shouldn’t be too difficult for you to research now that you’re armed with the relevant titles and start dates.)

1972-10-31 … The Great Waltz

1973-04-27 … Gone With the Wind (3 weeks)
1973-05-23 … Tom Sawyer
1973-06-01 … Doctor Zhivago
1973-06-13 … Gone With the Wind (1 week)
1973-06-20 … Camelot
1973-09-21 … The Sound of Music (2 weeks)

1974-06-19 … The Sound of Music

1975-11-21 … Jesus Christ Superstar

1976-01-30 … Lucky Lady
1976-03-30 … Dersu Uzala (FILMEX/U.S. premiere screening)
1976-07-28 … Gone With the Wind
1976-09-29 … 2001: A Space Odyssey

1977-03-21 … Nights and Days (one screening at FILMEX)
1977-06-14 … Metamorphoses (trade screening)
1977-07-06 … Star Wars (61 weeks)

1978-05-19 … Close Encounters of the Third Kind
1978-08-25 … The Sound of Music

1979-10-05 … The Deer Hunter
1979-11-07 … The Rose (FILMEX/west coast premiere screening)
1979-12-20 … The Black Hole

1980-09-25 … Divine Madness
1980-11-20 … Heaven’s Gate (engagement canceled)
1980-12-17 … The Jazz Singer (world premiere screening)

1981-03-27 … The Black Hole / Sleeping Beauty
1981-04-24 … Heaven’s Gate
1981-05-22 … Sleeping Beauty
1981-07-31 … The Empire Strikes Back

1982-01-22 … Raiders of the Lost Ark
1982-05-21 … Poltergeist (sneak preview screening)
1982-06-04 … Poltergeist
1982-08-13 … Tron
1982-10-22 … Annie
1982-10-22 … Superman II
1982-10-29 … 2001: A Space Odyssey (1 week)
1982-11-10 … Pink Floyd: The Wall
1982-12-07 … Gandhi (24 weeks)

1983-09-09 … 2001: A Space Odyssey
1983-09-09 … Gandhi
1983-10-07 … Staying Alive
1983-10-15 … The Right Stuff (sneak preview screening)
1983-10-21 … The Right Stuff (#1: 8 weeks)
1983-10-21 … The Right Stuff (#2: 2 weeks)

1984-05-18 … The Right Stuff
1984-07-13 … The Last Starfighter
1984-08-31 … Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (7 weeks)
1984-09-13 … Amadeus (HPS-4000)
1984-09-28 … The Bear
1984-10-12 … Ghostbusters (1 week, HPS-4000)
1984-10-19 … The Razor’s Edge (HPS-4000)
1984-11-21 … Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (HPS-4000)

1985-05-17 … The Cotton Club
1985-07-03 … The Emerald Forest (HPS-4000)
1985-08-02 … The Black Cauldron
1985-11-08 … Bring on the Night (2 weeks; HPS-4000)
1985-11-22 … White Nights (3 weeks; HPS-4000)
1985-12-10 … Out of Africa (world premiere screening)
1985-12-11 … A Chorus Line (HPS-4000)

1986-03-07 … Back to the Future (HPS-4000)
1986-04-18 … The Money Pit (HPS-4000)
1986-06-03 … SpaceCamp (world premiere screening)
1986-11-14 … The Mission (HPS-4000)
1986-11-26 … The Nutcracker

1987-06-24 … Spaceballs (THX)
1987-11-06 … Cry Freedom (2 weeks, THX)
1987-11-06 … Cry Freedom (5 weeks; HPS-4000)
1987-11-19 … The Last Emperor (THX)

1988-02-12 … Shoot to Kill (HPS-4000)
1988-08-12 … The Last Temptation of Christ (70mm from Week #4; THX)

1989-01-27 … Tucker: The Man and his Dream (HPS-4000)
1989-02-12 … Lawrence of Arabia (re-premiere screening)
1989-02-15 … Lawrence of Arabia (17 weeks; THX)
1989-02-24 … Lawrence of Arabia (2 weeks; HPS-4000)
1989-10-06 … West Side Story (THX)
1989-11-17 … Black Rain (THX)
1989-12-14 … Glory (THX)
1989-12-20 … Born on the Fourth of July (THX)

1990-06-14 … Dick Tracy (west coast premiere screening)
1990-06-22 … Lawrence of Arabia (THX)
1990-06-29 … The Hunt for Red October (HPS-4000)
1990-08-24 … The Sound of Music (THX)

1991-03-01 … The Doors (THX)
1991-04-26 … Spartacus (THX)
1991-07-01 … Terminator 2: Judgment Day (world premiere screening)
1991-12-08 … Hook (world premiere screening)

1992-05-16 … Far and Away (sneak preview screening)
1992-05-22 … Alien 3 (HPS-4000)
1992-05-22 … Far and Away (THX)
1992-09-25 … The Last of the Mohicans (THX)

1993-07-02 … Cliffhanger (HPS-4000)
1993-10-08 … Gettysburg (HPS-4000)
1993-10-08 … Short Cuts (THX)

1994-07-15 … True Lies (THX)
1994-09-23 … My Fair Lady (THX)

1996-10-14 … Vertigo (re-premiere screening)

Richie_T on April 2, 2017 at 5:40 pm

This was where I saw The Phantom Menace. Man was that a disappointing day. The main auditorium was classic. The last few movies I saw there were X Files, Private Parts and lastly, Apocalypse Now Redux in August of 2001. It was a proper way to say goodbye.

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