3635 S. Monaco Parkway,
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United Artists' Continental Theatre stands as Denver’s last remaining giant screen movie house. Along with the Cooper and Century 21 theatres, The (then) Commonwealth Continental was one of Denver’s premiere showcase theatres throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s, with a screen that measured 35'x 83'. Seating for the theatre was originally 916.
The theatre played host to dozens of large screen 70mm presentations over the decades including “Die Hard”, the original “Star Wars” trilogy, “The Abyss”, and “Terminator 2”. With the right booking, the Continental could be responsible for 35% of a film’s business in the city of Denver.
In 1983, during its run of “Return of the Jedi”, the theatre fell victim to a fire that destroyed part of it. The following day’s Rocky Mountain News contained a front page photo of theater workers rushing the 70mm print of “Jedi” out of the theatre to safety. During the fire, all of the projector lenses (except the 70mm lens, which was in use) were destroyed. The new lenses for 35mm put to use after the fire were inadequate for the theater’s long throw distance and, because of this, all 35mm presentations on the screen would require severe masking on all four sides to accommodate the smaller image size. The estimate is that 35mm reduced the screen size to 23'x 55'.
In 1994, for an exclusive engagement of “The Shawshank Redemption”, lenses from a recently closed drive-in were put to use at the Continental for the 35mm presentation and all films shown since 1994 have again utilized the full screen size.
In November 1995, the Continental closed for an extensive remodel/expansion. The theater reopened in June of 1996 with five new screens (several THX approved) built around it. During this remodel, the seating was reduced to 869 to accommodate new handicap accessible seating. In 2008, the number of screens was increased to ten.
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