Phoenix Theatres Union Station 9

Union Station,
50 Massachusetts Avenue NE,
Washington, DC 20002

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Union Station

This movie theater opened in the basement, the food hall, of Union Station, on November 18, 1988. The marquee names each auditorium after a movie palace in Washington, D.C., most of which are gone: the Capitol (only the exterior stands), the Palace, Orpheum, Avenue Grand, Penn (only the facade survives), Roxy, Paradise, State, and Tivoli (recently reopened but not as one huge movie palace).

The Union Station has long maintained large crowds, especially because downtown lost almost of its movie theaters by the time it opened. However, the recent opening of the larger megaplex, the Regal at Gallery Place, may have made this pre-stadium seating house redundant.

In December 2005, it was announced that as part of the merger with Loews, this theater would be spun off to another operator, and the theater was operated by Phoenix Theatres.

It was announced in September 2008, that the theatre will close sometime soon because it is no longer profitable. It was closed in October 2009 and the space will be used by restaurants.

Contributed by Howard B Haas

Recent comments (view all 20 comments)

HowardBHaas on September 23, 2007 at 7:17 am

from Washington Post:
Editorial Review
Although it’s basically like a multiplex in a mall, the AMC Union Station is not your cookie-cutter theater. The place has character. Built inside catacombs that were once used for storage, its ceilings are two-stories high. Each house has a different name taken from a long-gone Washington movie palace, which is displayed on an old-fashioned facade. This theater on Capitol Hill is the prime movie stop for most people in Northeast, Southeast and even Southwest Washington. And with shops, restaurants, a parking garage, the Metro and MARC trains right here, it’s easy to see why. The largest theater is the Avenue Grand with 364 seats, a large screen and DTS sound, which led to THX certification. All nine are equipped with SDDS. Two other theaters have big screens, two more have medium-size screens, and the rest have small ones. The capacity of the smallest house is 148.

— Matt Slovick
Theater Office: 202-842-3757
Modified for Hearing Impaired: Yes
Disabled Access: All theaters and restrooms are wheelchair-accessible.

SethLewis on September 18, 2008 at 4:05 am

Anytime a theatre closes it’s a shame. This is a particular shame because of the failure of a theatre in a mixed use facility where going to the movies was part of a travel, shopping, dining, after work experience. And the theatres were an above average of their time multiplex.

I ran restaurants in Union Station 10 or so years ago and the theatres were business drivers and part of the lifeblood of the complex. We ran some classic movie nights together – Citizen Kane, Casablanca and Some Like It Hot. I took over a theatre one night for the team – Robert de Niro in The Fan – ok great idea not so great movie. And took a break for myself to see such classics and non classics alike as Usual Suspects, Leaving Las Vegas, Cable Guy, White Squall, Mission Impossible, Species, The Quick and the Dead, Extreme Measures, Ace Ventura 2 and The Quest. The AMC management at the time was positive and proactive and much as we could joke about the level of the movies sometimes, there was a theatre there.

I remember taking calls the day of the blizzard asking if the theatre was open and sure enough with a skeleton crew they opened for a couple of shows.

RIP Union Square 9

psomerf on October 24, 2009 at 2:51 am

Funny. Or, I guess more intriguing. I saw a movie here once, while on vacation to DC. I didn’t recall that the theater had just opened, but it was opening week. I never got around to visiting the theater again when I visited DC almost 4 years ago. Now I wish I had.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on December 28, 2010 at 6:28 pm

Have these theatres been converted to retail, or are they sitting empty waiting for another chain to reopen them?

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on August 2, 2013 at 7:04 am

Has anything ever happened to this space? Any new restaurants or retail gone in?

Giles on August 3, 2013 at 11:26 am

I was there about a month ago having a meal in the downstairs food court and all I saw was the original entrance still boarded up.

As I recall about the theater this was the only in-town AMC theater to feature 8-channel SDDS sound on the Ave. Grand screen. I saw ‘Lost in Space’ and ‘Heavy Metal’ (reissue/SDDS-8) and they sounded amazing!

Giles on October 17, 2019 at 10:01 pm

I recently saw a Washington Post ad for ‘Arachnophobia’ (1990) that denoted that it’s 70mm run was here at Union Station; that bit of information totally went unnoticed by me – who knew?!

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