Cinemagic 3 at Penn

3925 Walnut Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19104

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In the 1970’s, GCC opened this triplex at 3925 Walnut Street in a small shopping mall at the University of Pennsylvania campus in the University City area of Philadelphia. It should not be confused with the nearby Eric triplex that opened on 40th Street at Walnut Street also in the 1970’s, which was later replaced by the six screen Bridge movie theatre (now the Rave).

In 1975, this GCC was known as the GCC Walnut Mall I, II, III. Later it was operated by local movie theatre operator Budco, then by AMC after they took over Budco. In 1994, AMC departed.

On February 1, 1995, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that as of the following month, the theatre would be refurbished, including new box office, new seats, new carpeting, and an upgrade to stereo sound, and it reopened as the Cinemagic 3. Cinemagic owner Andrew Sheppard, then 27 years old, also then operated a five screen cinema at the Tri-State Mall in Claymont, DE, and a movie theatre in Hamilton, NY near Colgate University where Sheppard had graduated from. In 2003, the largest auditorium number 3, had 219 seats.

The theatre closed during the week before March 18, 2005, because the University of Philadelphia decided to demolish the entire block so a new building could be constructed.

Contributed by Tim, Howard B. Haas

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

HowardBHaas on December 19, 2006 at 3:33 pm

Not part of Sameric chain. The Eric 3 was replaced by the Bridge theater. The Cinemagic 3 was not an Eric. I believe it was a Budco, and it might have earlier been a GCC. I think it was built in the 1970’s. It closed 2005. My notes from 2003 indicate auditorium 3 had 219 seats.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on December 19, 2006 at 3:57 pm

Uncertain future for 39th, Walnut block

[Ryan Jones/The Daily Pennsylvanian]

Local store owners cite possible departures of largest tenants as causes for concern

By austin lavin

January 27, 2005

“The face of the 3900 block of Walnut Street could look significantly different in the coming years.

The futures of the block’s two largest tenants — Cinemagic 3 and CVS — are both in question.

CVS recently announced it will be opening a second location just blocks away, on 34th and Walnut streets. The University is currently in litigation to evict Cinemagic, which owes approximately $100,000 in back rent.

Additionally, a PNC Bank kiosk has been empty since early last year.

Despite a 2001 campus plan calling, according to University President Amy Gutmann, for the “redevelopment of that block,” none of the nearby business owners know of any upcoming plans.

“I’ve heard rumors. I approached the University and asked them what future projects they had planned,” said a business owner on the block, who declined to be named.

But according to the owner, the University had said, “It’s up in the air.”

Stanley Shapiro, who has owned both the Campus Copy Center and land underneath it since 1959, is similarly in the dark.

“I’ve watched the whole University change … but I don’t know anymore than anyone else regarding plans,” he said.

Shapiro added, however, that over the years the University has made casual offers.

“I’m not interested in it. It’s been in my family for years, and my son Ron is going to take over after me,” he said.

Many local store owners say that their businesses are doing well.

The Last Word used bookstore has been at its location on Walnut Street for more than two years.

“I wanted to be on campus but accessible to West Philadelphia,” said store owner Larry Maltz, who lives in the area.

Maltz said that the bookstore’s customers are an even mix of college students and West Philadelphia residents. He thinks he’s in the perfect location.

“If I were a block or two over one way, I would lose a lot of student customers, but if I were one or two blocks the other way, I would lose a lot of residents,” Maltz said.

Employees at other stores on the block echoed Maltz’s comments.

“We’re making a living, even in the snow … nobody here is driving a Porsche or a Lamborghini, but we’re surviving,” said Bruce, a chief technician at University Micro Center. He declined to offer his last name.

And as a class was about to start at Power Yoga Works, with students walking in from the cold, General Manager Sarah Reilly said that the business was doing well. Reilly also said that not only are many of the customers Penn students, but many of the employees are as well.

College junior Alexis Weill said that because he lives on Walnut Street he often goes to the CVS and Philly Diner.

“I think we have everything we need, but it is always nice to get new stores and new places to hang out,” Weill said.

Shapiro noted that while the University does not own the entire block, they own the land stretching from College Pizza to CVS".

Staff reporter Marissa Montenegro contributed to this report.

RickB on December 20, 2006 at 8:20 am

The Philadelphia Inquirer for May 28, 1975 shows the theater at this address as the “GCC Walnut Mall I, II, III.” The Eric 3 on the Campus is advertised as well, with its location simply shown as “40th & Walnut.”

curiouskiwi on November 14, 2008 at 9:16 pm

I worked at the Budco Walnut Mall in 1984. That summer, the big hits were “Purple Rain” and “Karate Kid”. :)

kencmcintyre on January 20, 2010 at 10:55 pm

This was a GCC theater in the early 1980s. I saw an Agatha Christie film and a couple of others. They used to show Rocky Horror on weekends. Not a great theater.

Here us a 1975 photo when it was Eric on the Campus:

alps on February 14, 2010 at 8:13 pm

This is not cinemagic3, but Eric 3 on the Campus up the street.

kencmcintyre on April 19, 2010 at 11:04 am

So I’m getting confused with this theater and the one that is now a Rave. Which one is which?

fred1 on April 19, 2010 at 11:54 am

This theater close a few months after N/A Bridge (now Rave) opened . There are a block away from each other

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