Regal Continental Stadium 10 & RPX

3635 S. Monaco Parkway,
Denver, CO 80237

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Continental Theater, Denver, CO November 1995

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 when it opened January 26, 1966 with Charlton Heston in “The Agony and the Ecstacy” and continued 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 Thetare 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 theatre 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 theatre’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 Theatre for the 35mm presentation and all films shown since 1994 have again utilized the full screen size.

In November 1995, the Continental Theatre closed for an extensive remodel/expansion. The theatre 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.

Contributed by Cliff Stephenson

Recent comments (view all 58 comments)

Logan5 on February 19, 2012 at 10:46 pm

According to the book Future Noir: The Making of “Blade Runner” by Paul M. Sammon, the first sneak preview of “Blade Runner” was held at the Continental on Friday, March 5, 1982. Other sneaks were at the Northpark in Dallas (3/6/82) & the Cinema 21 in San Diego (5/8/82).

Rich Vincent
Rich Vincent on May 26, 2012 at 2:58 am

I managed the Continental during most of the 1990’s including the first remodel and there are a couple of inaccuracies I want to correct. I know nothing about 35mm replacement lenses being inadequate and replaced for Shawshank Redemption. The same lenses were used throughout my tenure. Part of the design of D-150 was that other film formats were never allowed to come close to filling the screen, 35mm in particular. We did at one time experiment with using a different lens size to enlarge the picture but it was too washed out.

Indeed, the D-150 lenses were still in the booth when I left although they wer extremely scratched and unusable from years of neglect.

The D-150 screen was removed after the fire in 1983. The replacement screen was shorter in height by several feet and quite a bit shorter in length since the format was obsolete, although it retained quite a bit of the D-150’s belly. The original D-150 screen literally extended around the front rows of the theatre, similar to Cinerama.

Auditorium #5 is indeed the original auditorium, which I fondly referred to as “Old Main” after the remodel.

The 70 mm presentations did make the Continental a powerhouse in Denver. The Continental actually grossed over 50% of the Denver area gross out of 10 theatres on “The Abyss”.

jmg24601 on July 8, 2013 at 7:08 pm

When the theater reopened in October after the fire, it hosted the premier for Brainstorm.

jmg24601 on July 8, 2013 at 7:09 pm

When the theater reopened in October after the fire, it hosted the premier for Brainstorm.

Frankie Clark Sr.
Frankie Clark Sr. on May 3, 2016 at 8:14 pm


kpdennis on June 3, 2016 at 10:07 pm

Recent pictures posted in the Photo section.

Trolleyguy on July 27, 2016 at 7:38 pm

Now called the Regal Continental Stadium 10 & RPX

kpdennis on April 1, 2017 at 10:20 am

Recent pictures posted in the Photo section.

Coate on July 6, 2017 at 10:27 am

Does anyone remember if Disney’s “Tron” played here in summer 1982 and/or during its autumn ‘82 re-release?

kennyjames on August 27, 2018 at 11:44 am

the continental originally opened 1/26/66 with the agony and the ecstasy. opening night was a benefit performance for the metro association for retarded children. regular performances began on 1/27/66. I am putting together a series of books on the history of the denver area’s drive-ins and indoor theatres (including a full booking history on the continental.) if anyone has any questions on the subject, please feel free to contact me at . I’ll be happy to share my research with you. Thanks ! Ken Mitchell

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