Circle West End Theatre

1101 23rd Street NW,
Washington, DC 20037

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smalzz on August 4, 2016 at 11:35 pm

I broke my heart the day I drove by here and discovered it had been torn down. This is the place where I got turned on to independent films such as Raising Arizona and Slamdance and Kiss Of The Spiderwoman. Saw a few films at the sister location, including one of my all-time favorites, The Hidden.

rivest266 on July 1, 2015 at 9:32 am

August 17th, 1977 grand opening ad in photo section.

righter40 on January 6, 2014 at 7:23 pm

I managed this theatre in 1989. Theatre #1 was a true stadium seat theatre. Theatres 2,3,and 4 were upstairs. Lobby was small but complex held regional offices for Cineplex Odeon.

thebigfoist on October 30, 2011 at 11:05 pm

Anyone have an idea how many seats this place had in total after expanding? And what year did it formally close?

Giles on February 8, 2011 at 8:40 pm

Poltergeist at the Embassy? – 70mmm!!, crap! why did my mom take me to see this at the Alexandria Virginia theatre – mind you there, the sound (the rear speaker we sat under) was near assaultive – I went to all the wrong theaters :( … well not all, Star Trek II. E.T., and Gandhi (70mm for all three) at the right theaters.

JodarMovieFan on February 8, 2011 at 7:54 pm

Sorry for not responding. Evidently, my name got booted off the contact list. As I stated above, Tron was in 35mm Dolby here and probably was the best of the venues that booked it.

If you recall in ‘82, the 70mm films in summer at the downtown theaters were: Star Trek II at the MacArthur (which I saw there more times than I will admit, but it didn’t have an entire summer run as it ran Raiders in 70mm for a week or so before closing for a remodel..I’m thinking August?), E.T. at the KB Cinema, which ran forever..I"m sure for the entire summer and probably all of fall., Poltergeist at the Embassy in 70mm, too.. I think that was it for summer. I know I saw Star Trek II in 70mm, at the Uptown, in Dec., just before Gandhi opened in 70mm.

westendcinema on February 8, 2011 at 7:23 pm

Your memory is better than mine — I don’t recall seeing 70 mm in 1-4, but you might be right!

Giles on February 8, 2011 at 6:32 pm

I must be confused, I’m thinking of the theatres that were closer to L Street Screens 1-4 – screen 1 to be exact, the one with the raked seats (early ‘stadium seating’) So, only Fine Arts was the closest screen that was equipped with 70mm, not at the West End 1-4 – right?

westendcinema on February 8, 2011 at 4:18 pm

Unlikely that you saw it here in 70 mm — when I took over the space, there were only three 35 mm projectors. However, cool that you saw Tron here!

Giles on February 8, 2011 at 3:36 pm

JodarMovieFan: I remember seeing ‘Tron’ at this theatre too, but was in 35mm or 70mm, THAT aspect I can’t remember?

lacohen on October 28, 2010 at 11:05 pm

Josh, you are clearly the best thing to happen to the West End in years. I have lived in the West End since 1986, at which point, if memory serves, there were 11 movie theaters within a 15 minutes' walk. The West End 1-4 and 5-7 were truly my “home theaters,” as I could read the marquee of the 1-4 from my bedroom window (if the nearest tree’s leaves were not in full) and be inside the theater within two minutes. It was a sad day when, from that same window, I saw the large screening room’s seats and screen exposed as the wrecking ball knocked away its roof and outside wall. What a relief to see the reopening of the 1-4 after years of walking past lamenting the senselessness of its sitting idle. Let’s hope that more dormant theaters reopen in the wake of its certain success!

westendcinema on July 21, 2010 at 10:12 am

Hi all, I have recently leased the old Inner Circle 5, 6, 7 space and will reopen it as the West End Cinema — a three-screen art-house movie theater — this fall. To clarify a few things from the listing and comments above, the old 1, 2, 3, 4 was located in a building that was torn down to build the Ritz Carlton residences (adjacent to the hotel). The 5, 6, 7, which I leased, is in a multi-use building a block further north, and was never demolished — in fact, it still has the projector systems, platters, sound systems, screens, seats and concessions line exactly where they were when the theater closed in late 2003/early 2004.
I look forward to moving this theater from the “old” listings to the “new” listings on Cinema Treasures soon!

dpjaudon on June 14, 2009 at 2:31 pm

I fondly remember this theater from growing up. They had an eclectic mix of first-run Hollywood films and art-house films. I remember seeing “At Close Range,” “Raising Arizona,” “Without You, I’m Nothing,” and “The Adventures of Ford Fairlane” there, if that gives you any hint as to how eclectic they were.

JackCoursey on December 30, 2008 at 6:19 pm

I was on 23rd street today and noticed that the 1101 address is a single door on what appears to be a relatively new (e.g. built in the past ten years) high rise residential complex. The West End apparently is no more.

HowardBHaas on January 23, 2008 at 1:09 pm

I saw movies here 1985 to 1986 before moving closer to the movie theaters of upper Conn. Ave. JodarMovieFan, since you commented, the Intro was revised. The largest, original auditorium did previously have plays. The other auditoriums and screens didn’t impress me as large, but that was typical nationwide of movie theaters built in that era. It was a good place to see movies.

JodarMovieFan on January 22, 2008 at 6:34 am

If memory serves me correctly, the original auditorium, or largest one also had plays. My first and only visit here was back in 1982 where I saw the movie Tron. It was probably the best venue to see it as there were no 70mm bookings of it in the DC area. The seats were steeply raked..almost stadium-style and had Dolby stereo. I don’t remember if the other 3 had stereo.