Britton Cinema 8

3938 S. Dale Mabry Highway,
Tampa, FL 33611

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Britton Cinema 8

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The Britton Theater was opened in 1956 as a 2,200-seat single screen theatre with a balcony.

Contributed by Lost Memory

Recent comments (view all 41 comments)

cvolosin
cvolosin on March 29, 2012 at 9:39 pm

Well I don’t believe it, but late 2011 this theater went 1st run again with a matinee price of $3 and evening $6 with NO UPGRADES.. Do I see it closing again when the problem of a digital upgrade LOOMS?!

seroth
seroth on September 29, 2012 at 5:10 pm

My name is Sam Roth and I was 1 of the managers at the Britton Plaza 8 in the Summer of 2006. At the time Zota were the owners and they didnt seem to care much about the Britton, especially after a major rainstorm hit Tampa the first week of June and one of the top theaters was flooded out and the rain water leaked into the Main theatre downstairs. There was 1 gentleman, John Petrey, who was responsible for maintaining the older model projectors-and he was very good at his job. No word on where he is now, but hopefully he is somewhere taking care of a movie theater. I am now in the St. Louis area after my late wife pasted while living in Valdosta, GA. Good Luck and Godspeed to the New Britton Cinema 8. I wish you well. Sam Roth. .

CAD
CAD on May 6, 2013 at 9:12 am

I like this theater strictly for the old school feel of it. When I first saw a movie there last year, I felt like I went back to 1985. If there’s a first run movie that I might have missed, I can go to the Britton and watch it for $5. Everything about the theater is outdated, they don’t even accept credit or debit cards (ATM inside), and the sound system is terrible. Nevertheless, it’s a fun place to catch a flick when you have nothing better to do.

cvolosin
cvolosin on May 6, 2013 at 9:36 am

Rofl Carlos as that is the death of the cinema… Britton will be a lost treasure soon!! Even the Ruskin Drive-in went Digital last year… The equipment at britton is ORIGINAL with the exceptions of the lamp houses. That elevator fixed yet? New owner in 2010 now 2013… Still broke.. I have seen several $1 theaters already convert to digital, they are very successful value locations that larger chains abandoned because of profit margin..

You can watch those same movies in the Bradenton mall 6 weeks later for .50 on Tuesdays in a multiplex built in the 80’s as a multi not a single screen split into 8 built in the 30’s .

classictoonsand
classictoonsand on May 28, 2013 at 8:39 am

Cvolosin, You’re probably right about the theatre closing soon because they don’t want to convert to Digital Projection. However I would rather watch a movie here than Bradenton mall. Thug city is what that theatre is set in. It’s 50 cents for a reason and I’m sure they will close too because of the area. At least the Britton sits in a plaza with a mix of upscale clientel and middle to low class so cops patrol constantly.

The projectors at the Britton are NOT the original Century projectors. They were replaced by Cinemacannica V5 in 1992 and most recently two auditoriums were replaced by Christie projectors and platters for their Bollywood crowd. No, the elevator is not fixed yet and the rumor mill has churned out that instead of keeping up with code, they will close cinema 7 and 8 upstairs thus making them a 6 plex. Doesn’t matter with only the Bollywood films packing them in every other month BUT then again it’s been said the tenant Venkat lost his right to exhibit Indian films at this location.

So everything is up in the air. Anyone’s guess is as good as mine on the actual fate. I will say that the tenant has signed a 5 year lease with the Gator cinema in Gainesville. That makes the Britton’s fate more apt to close since he was looking to pull out of this plaza. I wish his mama would have pulled out. Anyway the Britton Plaza owner has been taking pictures of the theatre lately from the outside so I think it may be soon in it’s closing.

RRF
RRF on July 8, 2013 at 12:30 am

I remember seeing Oklahoma in Todd-AO 70mm…..it was originally a single screen roadshow cinema.

Marc_Wielage
Marc_Wielage on February 20, 2014 at 9:37 am

I remember the Britton Theater as it existed in the 1960s, when it was just one GIANT single theater. I believe it held roughly 1200-1300 seats. My memory is that there might have been a balcony at the back. The shopping center was not entirely finished, so there was a vacant lot on the right side of the theater with a wooden wall covering most of it up. A faded sign on the brick wall of the theater advertised Walt Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty,” which would’ve been from 1959, but my own memories only start from around 1962. I believe the first movie I saw there was “Taras Bulba,” which would’ve been from that year.

The theater was fairly upscale, kind of a competition to the downtown Tampa and Florida theaters, and they actually had ushers in uniforms and all that stuff. All the way through the late 1960s, they’d show a newsreel, a cartoon short, a couple of trailers, and then the feature. And they always had the memorable AMC logo with the annoying spinning projector logo and the harpsichord/bass song (variations of which still exist with AMC today).

The Britton Plaza theater kind of fell apart over time, and I know they divided it up and turned it into a multiplex. But it was a great theater for me, and I saw some memorable films there. I think the one that had the largest crowd in local history was “Thunderball,” where I swear, the ticket line stretched about a block all the way down the shopping center and to the left, towards the drug store that used to be there. Huge, crazy, massive crowds, easily two thousand people. I also had terrific memories of seeing “Our Man Flint,” “You Only Live Twice,” and a few bad Elvis movies. Palma Ceia was a great neighborhood to grow up in, and the Britton was a very well-run theater for its time.

Scott Neff
Scott Neff on February 21, 2014 at 1:05 am

The Logo you’re thinking of is GCC.

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on February 21, 2014 at 11:54 am

After GCC pulled out the theater was divided from 3-8 theaters and it was one of the worst cut job I ever saw in a theater. How they have stayed open all these years is beyond me. AMC Twin Bays in the next plaza was much nicer.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio on February 22, 2014 at 5:14 am

The Britton was probably the finest single screen theatre in Tampa when first opened in 1956 before being destroyed by GCC in 1973. Capacity of the single screen Britton was 2200 seats and included a balcony. It was huge and very modern for its day. Some films I remember seeing on the Britton’s 60-foot wide screen were WEST SIDE STORY, SPENCER’S MOUNTAIN, CHILDREN OF THE DAMNED, WHAT A WAY TO GO, PLAY MISTY FOR ME, and LET’S SCARE JESSICA TO DEATH. The final film shown on the original big screen was THE LEGEND OF BOGGY CREEK in 1972.

When the BOGGY CREEK run ended GCC closed it for several weeks reopening it as a triplex in 1973. All the character of the original Britton was destroyed—it was pretty bad. Evidently proud of the job they had done GCC then quickly twinned the Loew’s Theatre on Westshore effectively destroying another beautiful theatre. In 1992 Movieco took over ownership of the Britton and cut it into an 8-plex—it was horrendous. I only went once out of curiosity and never again.

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