UA Horton Plaza

475 Horton Plaza,
San Diego, CA 92101

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UA Horton Plaza-San Diego (1986)

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The UA Horton Plaza opened December 11, 1985 on the third level of Hahn’s groundbreaking Horton Plaza center, the focus of revitalized downtown San Diego. Its first manager was Paul Belshe, who ran this extremely busy place for over 12 years. The complex originally featured seven auditoriums.

The gorgeous, 600-seat fuchsia main theatre ran 70mm projection when that format was still prominent and was the first THX auditorium in San Diego proper. One of Horton Plaza’s smaller auditoriums once featured an early interactive theatre system: armrest controls allowed audience members to ‘vote’ on the course that they wanted the movie to take.

The original front of the building had a Neo-Art Deco style, three-sided marquee and a spire illuminated by spinning rainbow lights. Unfortunately, this entire theatre front was replaced when the complex added seven more screens in the late-1990’s. UA Horton Plaza was downsized from fourteen to eight screens in 2012.

Contributed by Zubs

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

jmarellano
jmarellano on June 20, 2010 at 8:58 am

The 7 additional theaters were added on the third floor of a former Robinsons May depaartment store. These auditoriums are small and all have sloped floors. A second concession stand was built in the hallway going to these auditoriums.

gonefishing
gonefishing on June 23, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Rumor has it that Regal is trying to downsize UA Horton Plaza to an 8 plex dumping screens 9-14 added in 1995.

gonefishing
gonefishing on August 31, 2010 at 3:51 am

Original Marquee Taken 12/18/1985
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Theatre #2 THX Dolby Stereo Norelco AAII 70/35mm projector
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Grand Staircase.
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dcubs
dcubs on March 17, 2011 at 5:20 pm

I grew up in San Diego and loved these theatres. I remember when they opened. The whole area was redone to revitalise the San Diego down town area. My friends and I used to frequent the theatres as the manager Paul Belshe was a very good friend from school. I was very saddened to hear he had passed away and at such a young age. I remember when he used to work at the Clairemont Theater.
Glad that the theatres are still around.

redsoxfan
redsoxfan on March 11, 2012 at 1:48 pm

Blast from the past! Paul was my best friend…thank you for honoring him and his memory. He was the most humble person I have ever known…I remember him asking several students from my youth group to help him during a preliminary screening of INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE…these students were the personal attendants for: Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Nicole Kidman…. I will conclude with the memory of visiting Paul at work, and observing the excellence he expected and produced from those who worked for him. He truly was a Servant Leader…always ready to roll up his sleeves and climb into the concession stand, climb up to the projection booth and make himself available to the public and his staff. Paul, I miss you so much, every day! Thank you for watching over us! ~Dianne

1aber
1aber on March 22, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Paul was a great manager and an even better friend. It’s too bad that those he felt were closest to him disappeared towards the end of his life. It would have been nice if some of them had stuck around after he passed to remember this great man with his family and friends, but apparently they had more important things to do. Paul will be remembered by those who loved him, and they know the truth.

jmarellano
jmarellano on September 15, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Looks like the end is near for the newer addition. According to the UT, the last remaining tenant of the old Robinsons store, Sam Goody, is closing. Once closed the mall will tear down the store (along with the 7 screen addition) for a new park. Once again this theater will be 7 screens, as it was originally.

Danny Baldwin
Danny Baldwin on October 25, 2012 at 11:30 pm

They are now only running 8 (not 7) auditoriums (this has been the case for the past week and is the case for the next week). I would have thought the “new” addition was shut down, if not for the extra auditorium.

jrgaz
jrgaz on October 26, 2012 at 10:43 pm

I was sad to find this theatre downsized as I refuse to patron that other theatre in the gaslamp. Because of exclusive bookings, it’s going to get harder to see the best films at Horton. For some time, I felt the theatre had very poor presentation, but over the last couple years, they have done a decent job. As many know, digital projection doesn’t guarantee a decent presentation. I watched Argo in theatre 2 two Saturdays ago and the presentation was absolutely superb. It’s my favorite screen in all of San Diego and I’m glad it will continue to run. With the newer seats, straight screens, smaller crowds, and great staff, this theatre is one of the best around. The only real hassle is the parking if you care to watch multiple films. I was truly sad to hear of this, especially with Gaslamp still operating 15…

Danny Baldwin
Danny Baldwin on November 26, 2012 at 5:17 pm

Name has officially been changed to “UA Horton Plaza 8” on Fandango. So they must have kept the first new auditorium down the left hall.

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