Orinda Theatre

Moraga Way and Brookwood Road,
Orinda, CA 94563

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Showing 1 - 25 of 29 comments

terrywade on June 9, 2020 at 9:35 am

For many years the stereo surround sound in the large original Orinda Theatre has been turned way down as the former IA union projectionist did not care for people looking up when they heard effect surround speaker volume so he turned the ceiling/wall surround speakers way down. That projectionist is no longer in the booth so the volume has been turned back up like It was in the past. Hope they can re open soon so we can go and see this classic deco neon cinema with better sound at least in the large cinema space. Turn on the marquee neon and bring back the movie crowd!

jordanlage on July 30, 2017 at 7:01 am

I remember seeing a double feature of AGAINST ALL ODDS and MOSCOW ON THE HUDSON here in… 1984. Preferred the Bridges film. A recent visit to the theater (July 2017) finds it still beautifully kept up.

paulvideo on April 6, 2015 at 1:40 am

Very nice. I lhave seen a long shot on fb of the lobby-excellent.

Mikeyisirish on June 27, 2012 at 9:49 am

A 2010 photo can be seen here.

DonSolosan on August 7, 2010 at 8:29 pm

The address should be 2 Orinda Theater Square.

darquil on May 26, 2010 at 9:44 pm

I’ve posted information and photos from a recent visit here.

darquil on May 23, 2010 at 10:55 pm

Seating capacity, per posted sign at box office:
1 – 750
2 – 178
3 – 47
Total seats: 975

scottfavareille on April 15, 2010 at 9:48 am

It is now the only theater left after the Rheem in nearby Moraga closes for good after tonight’s performances. My concern is will this theater be next??

mcmikecroaro on July 5, 2009 at 7:25 pm

Hi Folks:

My understanding is that the hot greasy steam from a popcorn machine could potentialy damage the ceiling murial in the lobby. This is what I was told and it seems to make sense.

This was an EXCELLENT theatre under Renaissance Rialto / Alan Michaan. It’s hard for me to believe anyone would think otherwise.


movietheatres on June 18, 2009 at 9:15 pm

The operation of the Orinda Theatre was taken over from Renaissance Rialto on May 8, 2009 by the group currently operating the neighboring Rheem Theatre in Moraga, CA. The new operators let about 80% of the staff go and also locked out the Union Projectionists.

For years RR said they couldn’t pop fresh popcorn at the theatre, and the new operators had a popcorn popper in place within 2 weeks of taking over. RR raised the General Admission ticket price to $10 while their largest and most lovely auditorium still lacks cupholders on the seats to this day. On the flip side, the new operators are just booking the same commerical first run films they have at the Rheem right up the road. I don’t understand why they are doubling up the same films right down the street from eachother, there aren’t that many people there. Its feeling like an election, you know the old guy sucked, but the new guy also sucks, just in different ways. Best of luck to the theatre, the real victim in all of this.

DavidZornig on November 16, 2008 at 9:38 pm

The Orinda marquee was briefly seen in a recent episode/montage of “Snapped”.
Utilizing the marquee’s in the various hometown’s of profiled murderesses, seems to be a pattern of “Snapped” producers/editors.
Especially when said theatre’s share the same names as the towns.

kencmcintyre on September 28, 2007 at 6:41 am

Here is a september 1967 ad from the Oakland Tribune:

gsmurph on January 23, 2006 at 8:23 am

Once more—-Orinda should be listed as a “Triplex” and its seating capacity adjusted to include that of the two additional cinemas.

scottfavareille on September 19, 2005 at 11:07 am

According to today’s San Francisco Chronicle, in an article about the closing of the Park Theater in Lafayette (also operated by Renaissance Rialto), it mentions that Rialto may give up on the Orinda when its lease is up a year from now. Not good news. (The Park Theater listing on Cinema Treasures has a link to the article.)

jfrentzen on May 10, 2005 at 7:55 pm

I grew up in Orinda in the late 1960s and 1970s, so this was my primary movie cavern. At the time, the theater was growing a bit “long in the tooth” but the auditorium was very magical. It sounds as though the restoration was successful. The place really was starting to fall apart, but it was an enchanting plan to escape for this youngster and it became an integral part of growing up.

gsmurph on April 27, 2005 at 9:51 am

Though the Orinda was not physically split in the process of adding the two additional screens, it should probably be considered a “Triplex” and its seating capacity adjusted accordingly.

teecee on April 2, 2005 at 6:44 am

Evening photo of marquee:
View link

teecee on March 3, 2005 at 1:24 pm

Jan 17, 2003 article from the San Franciso chronicle:
View link

aipo on February 15, 2005 at 2:49 pm

I grew up in Orindaâ€"and hated it, try being one of the lone Jews among the WASPS in the 70s, but at the theater, staring at the walls painted with long-haired women, soaring upwards against blue and stars… I could forget for awhile.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 13, 2004 at 10:44 am

The Orinda Theater opened on 27th December 1941 with a seating capacity of 834.

stefoscope on December 10, 2004 at 3:12 pm

This is one of the finer examples of deco in the Bay Area. The vertical neon sign, and the theatre’s main auditorium have been beautifully restored. The lobby is warm and inviting, with it’s etched-glass doors, plush carpeting, and chandeleirs. The main (original) auditorium is stunning. Beautiful original murals adorn the walls. A classy plush curtain hangs in front of the stage and the colors and lighting inside, remind you that you are indeed going out to see a movie (not in front of a TV).

The other two, added, auditoriums are not quite as impressive. The decoration in them is nice, but does not stand out like the main one’s does. Their screens are quite small, and frankly, if the movie I wanted to see was not playing in the main auditorium, I wouldn’t bother. Regardless though, this is a true class act of a theatre. A good example of an older theatre being tastefully rejuvinated.

petecrooks on December 9, 2003 at 10:15 am

Love the Orinda. Always the first choice to see a first run in the East bay. Also the sithe of the two year old Orinda Film Festival, which has guested Faye Dunaway and Jacqueline Bisset in its first two years!