UA Mall Cinemas 1-2-3-4

Westminster Mall,
Westminster, CA 92683

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This fourplex opened on August 7, 1974, and was located on the inside of the Westminster Mall. UA also had a twin on the outside.

It was closed in March 2001.

Contributed by Robert R

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

JakeM
JakeM on January 5, 2006 at 1:58 am

Well, Bill, your hunch is pretty much right. I went to this theatre several times as a kid to see some really awful “family” type movies (anyone remember the “Babe” ripoff “Gordy?” ugh…

Anyway, the choice of films aside, this place was a dive. I still remember that, even as a kid, I realized this theatre was a dump. I don’t remember for sure if there were 3 or 4 screens, but for some reason I’m leaning towards 3. One of the last times I went I can remember a good number of seats being broken and covered with black trash bags, and some whole sections of concrete flooring torn up and in pieces, surrounded by yellow tape.

It has been replaced by 2 or 3 retail stores, and there is really no indication that it ever existed. Maybe it should be listed as closed/demolished?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 6, 2006 at 1:01 am

Bill is correct. United Artists Theatres listings in the Los Angeles Times of August 24th, 1986, show this house as having four screens.

Both this theatre and the UA Twin outside the mall must have opened after February of 1971, as the only theatre I find listed in Westminster in the Los Angeles Times on February 10th of that year is the Cinema West 1&2, which was operated by Edwards Cinemas.

moviebluedog
moviebluedog on January 6, 2006 at 2:32 am

The Twin opened on December 20, 1974. Not sure on the Mall theatres. I do recall that they ran a lot of crummy family features and possibly slasher flicks during the early-1980s.

I believe that when Edwards took over (sometime in the mid-80s), they installed Dolby Stereo in this theatre, as they did with most of their locations. Probably didn’t help much on the presentation. If this was like the Brea UA, the presentation was horrible anyway.

I think UA had opened a series of mall theatres around Southern California when new malls were springing up during the 1970s. The City (Orange), Brea Mall, Los Cerritos Mall and Westminster Mall all had UAs, and even though I haven’t been to all of them, I bet they were all very similar to each other. Occasionally, UA opened some decent theatres with at least one large auditorium during the 1970s.

I have a very foggy memory of the empty patch of land where the Westminster Mall was built. Once it opened sometime in the 1970s, it was the place to shop.

The Edwards Cinema West (“1 & 2”) was apparently once a big single screen house with approx. 1000 seats until it was split apart. I recall going to that theatre when it had four screens to see “Airport 77” and “Audrey Rose.”

jmarellano
jmarellano on January 6, 2006 at 10:33 pm

The space that was once the theatre is now a DSW Shoe Warehouse

papibear
papibear on April 2, 2006 at 6:38 pm

This was definitely a four screen theater. I recall seeing “The Final Countdown” on my birthday (August 2nd) in 1980 here, and also seeing “Flash Gordon” with a full audience of young peers (most of whom were pretty sarcastic and catcalled the screen) in December 1980.

Funny story about that “Flash Gordon” screening. I went there wanting to enjoy it, and during the opening credits, most of the audience was very mockingly singing along with Queen – “Flash! Ahhh-ahhhh!” and generally making snarky comments at every action that went on in the film. Eventually I got tired of it, and just hollered at the top of my lungs “Shhhhuuuuuuuutttt Uuuuup!” Well, that little shoebox auditorium quieted down right quick, I’ll tell you. My sister was seated next to me, and she later told me that further along in the film, she heard a couple guys two rows back start to chat again, and a girl next to them said to them “shhh, be quiet, that guy’ll get mad again!”

Heheheheh.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on July 14, 2007 at 7:15 pm

A bit of excess from the LA Times, dated 8/6/74:

New Fourplex Theater to Open

Tomorrow, August 7, marks the beginning of the most exciting development in entertainment since sound was introduced to motion pictures. United Artists Theaters is opening their newest fourplex theater inside the modern Westminster Mall. Featuring four separate motion picture programs in one location, the U.A. Mall Cinemas hopes to bring a new era of convenience to the people of Orange County.

[Photo of theater manager with bad 70s suit and cheesy 70s mustache]

Bill Gartley, of Los Alamitos, will manage the new U.A. Mall Cinemas in Westminster. Starting his career with United Artists in 1966, Gartley’s experience involves managing a drive-in theater in Sacramento, reserved-seat theaters in Oakland and Chicago, and for the last three years he has been in charge of United Artist’s most successful operation, the U.A. Cinemas in Del Amo Fashion Square in Torrance.

CTCrouch
CTCrouch on June 16, 2009 at 11:51 am

In early March of 2001, a mall water line broke, forcing the theatre to close for repairs. After about a week of being advertised as “reopening soon”, Edwards announced that they were shuttering the venue for good (the water damage had allowed the troubled chain to utilize an escape clause in their lease).

Even if this event had not taken place, I don’t imagine the theatre would have lasted much longer. By the time it closed, the theatre was in sad shape and devoid of customers. Typical of many older sites Edwards was operating at the time, the chain had completely neglected the theatre for years; they basically gave up on the Westminster Mall after opening the nearbye Westminster 10, in 92'.

Gartley
Gartley on April 24, 2011 at 10:02 pm

I see I’m late to the party here, but with all due respect to ken mc — in 1974, all suits were bad and all moustaches were cheesy. When I opened the Mall Cinemas in 1974, it was festive and classy. The shoebox auditoriums were acceptable at the time, so it’s easy to crticize them now. (Cinerama Dome on Sunset was one of the few “stadium” theatres around then). I had my share of notable employees in Westminster – a great assistant, Robert J., another excellent usher who is now a successful DM for a large circuit (Hey, Shaun), and on the other side of the coin, a doorman who was sentenced on a murder conviction (about 1978). If any former employees want to say hi, my email is

Scott Neff
Scott Neff on January 15, 2013 at 10:43 pm

I never ventured inside, but I imagine this theatre was similar to the UA Tanforan 4 in San Bruno, CA. Had the same sort of box office entrance with the giant color coded 1-2-3-4 next to the poster frames.

kermitthefrog76
kermitthefrog76 on July 27, 2013 at 12:06 am

Wow! I remember seeing a “sneak preview” of *batteries not included here…good times

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