Orinda Theatre

2 Orinda Theater Square,
Orinda, CA 94563

Unfavorite 13 people favorited this theater

Showing 25 comments

Mikeyisirish
Mikeyisirish on June 27, 2012 at 11:49 am

A 2010 photo can be seen here.

DonSolosan
DonSolosan on August 7, 2010 at 10:29 pm

The address should be 2 Orinda Theater Square.

darquil
darquil on May 26, 2010 at 11:44 pm

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

darquil
darquil on May 24, 2010 at 12:55 am

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

scottfavareille
scottfavareille on April 15, 2010 at 11:48 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
mcmikecroaro on July 5, 2009 at 9:25 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.

Mike

movietheatres
movietheatres on June 18, 2009 at 11:15 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
DavidZornig on November 16, 2008 at 11:38 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
kencmcintyre on September 28, 2007 at 8:41 am

Here is a september 1967 ad from the Oakland Tribune:
http://tinyurl.com/2tt6gf

gsmurph
gsmurph on January 23, 2006 at 10:23 am

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

scottfavareille
scottfavareille on September 19, 2005 at 1:07 pm

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
jfrentzen on May 10, 2005 at 9:55 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
gsmurph on April 27, 2005 at 11:51 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
teecee on April 2, 2005 at 8:44 am

Evening photo of marquee:
View link

teecee
teecee on March 3, 2005 at 3:24 pm

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

aipo
aipo on February 15, 2005 at 4:49 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 12:44 pm

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

stefoscope
stefoscope on December 10, 2004 at 5:12 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
petecrooks on December 9, 2003 at 12:15 pm

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!

cnmpat
cnmpat on November 17, 2003 at 10:11 am

Walt and Pat Sonnenstuhl, of the Art Deco Society Northwest <<http://www.artdeconw.org/>>, lived in Orinda, CA from 1973-1983 when the “Save the Orinda Theater” group was able to save this historic building from the wrecking ball. We were both members of group, and Walt contributed his musical talent to fund raisers. Bob and Lois McKim did yearly musicals, and in 1982 “Sly Masterful' played by Dale Lindholm was the villain of "That’s Entertainment”.
Razzmatazz provided musical support for the musicals, and Walt was part of this group. This musical was a spoof on the issue and increased awareness of the Save the Orinda Theater efforts. Once
the theater became a historical landmark it was saved. The theater is currently being used as a cinema. The photos below were taken by Walt Sonnenstuhl, and these Art Deco images would have been lost without saving this priceless piece of Art Deco.
Walt was the proprietor of Orinda Electronics which was across the street from this glorious structure. Our thanks to Walt Sonnenstuhl of the Art Deco Society Nortwest, and John Gerecht a local Olympia area photographer for helping the Webmidwife create these graphics. Walt can be reached by email: <<>
More information and pictures:
http://www.artdeconw.org/restororinda.html

Dejael
Dejael on November 19, 2002 at 4:38 pm

Thanks to all those wonderful people (and you know who you are) who contributed funds or efforts to restore and preserve this marvelous Art Deco Moderne picture palace – one of the Bay Area’s finest. We must have something of real artistic value to leave our posterity more than strip malls and cineplexes. If you want a first class cinema experience, visit the Orinda Theater, and you will not be disappointed!

GaryParks
GaryParks on April 19, 2002 at 12:59 am

errata: My comment above SHOULD say, “Court of the Moon towers at the 1939-1940 (NOT 1930-1940) Golden Gate Exposition…”

GaryParks
GaryParks on April 19, 2002 at 12:53 am

Even when new, it can be argued that the Orinda was one of the finest theatres built in the Bay Area during the 40s. It is one of only two theatres I know of which drew their exterior inspiration directly from the Court of the Moon towers at the 1930-1940 Golden Gate Exposition on Treasure Island (the other theatre to do so was the Santa Cruz in Santa Cruz, a 1939 remodel of a 1920 theatre—still standing as an office/retail building, but minus its tower). The architect of the Orinda was Alexander Aimwell Cantin. The theatre is in beautiful shape, inside and out, and is currently operated by Renaissance Rialto Theatres. Two additional screens were added in a deco bank building next door, utilizing elements from other lost theatres, most notably the gutted Garden Theatre in San Jose.