Southport Cinema & Drafthouse

1455 SE 17th Street,
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316

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One of several suburban Broward County theaters opened by Southland Cinemas in the late-1960’s, the Southport spent most of its years as a Cinema & Drafthouse franchise, retaining its single large screen into the 1990’s (but eventually twinned). "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" found its longest-lasting Broward home at the Southport.

Contributed by Steve Menke (sporridge)

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on May 10, 2009 at 7:39 pm

The Southport opened as a Chris McGuire Cinema in 1968. It was twinned in 1980 and became a drafthouse cinema in 1983 and closed around 1993.

sporridge
sporridge on June 7, 2009 at 1:20 am

Al, this particular Village Theatre was located on Commercial Boulevard, a block or two east of U.S. 1. Its closest competition would’ve been the Coral Ridge to the south and the Federal Drive-In nearby north (until the early 70s). As you noted, it had an incredibly short life. I only went there once, for the Broward exclusive premiere run of The Marx Brothers' “Animal Crackers” (reissued in 1974 after years in legal tangles). Once the theater vacated, the building became and remains office space.

Think Chris McGuire made a prompt exit from Ft. Lauderdale, as I mainly remember the Southport and Village being in the Southland Cinemas fold (along with the Manor in Wilton Manors and Reef in Lauderdale Lakes, but Southland would expand, contract, disappear, reappear). Do you know anything further about McGuire?

sporridge
sporridge on June 7, 2009 at 1:28 am

P.S.: Having seen revivals of “House of Wax” and “2001: A Space Odyssey” at the Southport Cinema & Drafthouse in the early 1990s, I can confirm it was still a single-screen house up to that time. Only made one visit after it was twinned: “claustrophobic” doesn’t begin to describe the experience.

After Cinema & Drafthouse closed, live theater moved in for several scattered engagements.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on June 7, 2009 at 2:19 am

Chris McGuire was a franchise deal similar to Jerry Lewis, so they had many different owners. Their sites were quickly passed on to other operators once mini cinemas became the norm for new builds.

I know the Reef was acquired by ABC Florida State (Plitt) for a few years as was the Chris McGuire Village in Hialeah, which closed as the Atlas Twin.

sporridge
sporridge on June 7, 2009 at 2:41 am

Went to the Reef a few times when ABC Florida State gave a try at art film programming: “Days of Heaven” had its Broward exclusive there, looked great on its wide screen. The Reef probably used floor plans identical to the Southport (and the Reef also had a go as a Cinema & Drafthouse, then a Chinese cinema named Screen Play, a church, and vacant the last time I looked).

sporridge
sporridge on June 20, 2009 at 4:56 pm

“Cinema Cafe 1 & 2” was yet another alias for the Southport.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on June 21, 2009 at 2:30 pm

Chris McGuire was a chain and not really an AKA for this site. In 1993 it did operate as the CINEMA & MORE EAST.

sporridge
sporridge on August 2, 2009 at 4:56 am

Drove into the area tonight, and pulled over to find out thie theater’s fate. Retail space. Vacant retail space. Plenty of it.

rivest266
rivest266 on October 27, 2011 at 11:19 pm

According to http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2011/aug/21/James-Duffy-Atlanta-cinema-movie-theater-fraud-lee/

James Duffy was involved with this cinema from June 19th, 1984-July 10th, 1994.

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