Irvine Spectrum 21 & IMAX

65 Fortune Drive,
Irvine, CA 92618

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Edwards Irvine Spectrum 21

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This Edwards Theatre’s 21 & IMAX opened in 1995 and was one of the first megaplexes, also billed as the largest motion picture complex in the nation at the time. Soon to follow was the Edwards Ontario Palace 22 and IMAX. The Edwards Irvine Spectrum is located within a large out door shopping complex called the Irvine Spectrum.

This theatre was the first to use the themed auditorium concept from what I have learned. The lobby is 15,000 square feet. The theater itself is adorned in marble from Italy, Greece, South Africa and Tunisia, with vibrant murals and majestic staircases, Art Deco-inspired, polished stainless steel and brass ornamentation, and mosaic floors. The lobby has a 100 foot long snack bar and also has seven additional concession areas within the theater.

This Edwards has four themed theatres. They are “The Egyptian”, “The Chinese”, “The Palace”, and “The Hollywood”. These each seat 550 people. The other 16 screens seat between 200 and 250 people. I don’t remember the auditorium numbers for the themed screens. The themed auditoriums are only done so on the outside of the auditorium. The inside looks like any other theatre from it’s time.

The IMAX is a massive 90' wide by 65' high (roughly six and a half stories tall), and seats 580. The Irvine Spectrum site claims the IMAX screen is eight stories tall. I’ve seen it and I don’t believe it’s that tall. The Edwards chain is now under the Regal Entertainment Group and has retained it’s brand name.

Contributed by Mike Juarez

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on October 31, 2005 at 3:38 pm

The theatre mentioned in the first comment is Century Theatres' “Century 25 Stadium Promenade”, built on the former grounds of the Stadium Drive-In.

Bway on June 19, 2006 at 5:53 am

Did someone ever add the Century 25 to the site?

scottof83 on July 6, 2006 at 8:41 pm

To Mike.

The total capacity of this theater is 5862.

As for the theme aditoriums.
The Palace has 579 seats.
The Chinese has 586 seats.
The Egyptian has 582 seats.
The Hollywood has 583 seats.
And the IMAX has 546 seats.

the others range from 131 to 270 seats.

Coate on March 21, 2007 at 11:21 pm

“300” is currently playing here in IMAX.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 6, 2007 at 5:17 pm

Edwards Irvine Spectrum 21 was designed by the architectural firm of Perkowitz + Ruth. It was the first entertainment center the firm had designed. Perkowitz + Ruth would go on to design many cinemas for Edwards and other exhibitors.

kencmcintyre on November 6, 2007 at 5:36 pm

I went to the Irvine Spectrum shortly after construction was completed. At that time it was in the middle of nowhere. Much more development circling the complex as of today.

CTCrouch on December 19, 2007 at 1:18 am

The property is sandwiched between the 5 and 405, beside the “Y” merger of the two freeways. Back when it opened, there was a small retail courtyard in front of the theatre and a few office buildings in the immediate area (the most significant being the Western Digital building). The theatre was a gawdy beacon, who’s violet neon glow could be seen for miles in all directions. However, within a decade, the area was developed to near capacity and the theatre was virtually encapsulated.

Recently (12/07), I noticed that a set of retail “blocks” were being constructed on either side of the theatre’s main entrance (seperated from the theatre structure by a matter of a few feet), further smothering the building in developement. While the neon roof top is still visible from a distance, on site, one has to almost be at the front doors to see the theatre.

A once dramatic structure that has lost much of it’s visual impact in the name of progress.

rivest266 on November 16, 2009 at 6:42 pm

The 1996 grand opening ad can be seen at the Orange Coast Magazine at View link (Page 11)

RobertAlex on May 24, 2012 at 10:53 am

Regal’s RPX Screen opens here Friday, 5/25 in what was the Egyptian auditorium.

Marklar on November 13, 2012 at 11:25 pm

I think the first movie I saw here was Jurassic Park: The Lost World but I vividly remember seeing the re-released Star Wars movies here in 1997.

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