Sony Columbus Circle

15 Columbus Circle,
New York, NY 10019

Unfavorite 7 people favorited this theater

Columbus Circle

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Nestled under the base of the former Gulf & Western Building which was the home of Paramount Pictures at the corner of Manhattan’s Columbus Circle, it featured mostly high profile films and Academy Award nominated features. The Paramount Theatre was opened on June 24, 1970 with “Catch 22”. It was taken over by Loew’s in 1981.

Before it closed in 1994, it screened the film “Forrest Gump” and stayed there for months.

The building above was sold to real estate mogul Donald Trump who converted it to a hotel and tower today. The theater was the first to go — it was completely removed and is now an underground parking garage in the basement of the hotel. Today, there’s no sign that the theater ever existed.

Contributed by Jamal P. Savage

Recent comments (view all 54 comments)

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on January 21, 2012 at 1:53 pm

I somehow doubt that the line “stretched for blocks,” but it might have extended around the one square block which contained this theatre and what was then the Gulf + Western office building (now transformed into a Trump hotel and apartment tower).

Garth
Garth on January 21, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Tinsel I remember it being one of the longest movie lines I ever waited on. I’d like to know what the seating capacity was. Of course the movie was worth the wait.

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on January 22, 2012 at 10:43 am

While I passed by this theater literally hundreds of times on my way to Lincoln Center, I only visited it once. The film I saw was a cinematic version of Richard Strauss' opera “Der Rosenkavalier” Elizabeth Schwartzkopf played the Marshallen and Otto Edelman was Baron Ochs. Since, as noted above, this theater mostly played first run movies, this probably represented a bit of a departure.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on January 22, 2012 at 1:45 pm

I would guess between 500 and 600 seats. When the theatre originally opened, the screen was set back from the audience in a most peculiar way. I wish that I had a photo, because I can’t accurately describe it. But if you were sitting in the front row, you still seemed a goodly distance from the screen. After many complaints, this was eliminated by moving the screen forward, eliminating the tunnel effect.

RobertR
RobertR on March 4, 2012 at 10:00 pm

@Tinseltoes I remember that “shadowbox” effect on the recessed screen when the theatre was new.

RobertEndres
RobertEndres on March 5, 2012 at 4:33 am

Actually, the auditorium was more interesting than described above. My predecessor at Radio City, Bill Nafash, did the installation in both the theatre and the two Paramount screening rooms in the offices at the top of the building. All of the projectors were 70mm, and before they were installed Radio City took three of them to get “Airport” opened on time. Three of the machines were in the theatre, and Bill said it was really really unique, at least in concept. The auditorium was designed to look like the bellows of a camera narrowing as it got closer to the screen. The “curtain” at the front was designed to look like a camera lens when the curtain was closed. Bill said originally strobe lights were installed in the coves in the “bellows” designed to look like camera flash bulbs going off. Alas the effect was too successful triggering discomforting effects in the audience. The flashes were soon eliminated. The travelling attraction sign above the entrance was also one of the first in New York to not feature fixed sign letters. That too was an idea who’s time may not have come since they were limited to incandescent bulbs with all their limitations. In all the theatre was probably a result of form over function, and while the design concepts may have worked better on paper than in reality, at least the idea was more interesting than indicated above.

Ed Miller
Ed Miller on March 10, 2012 at 1:39 am

Oddly, my usual steel-trap memory recalls nothing innovative about the auditorium at all. Of course, I was only there once, and it was a long time ago; yet I remember everything else about that evening as if it were yesterday.

SeaBassTian
SeaBassTian on September 3, 2012 at 6:28 pm

As a teenager in the 80’s, I considered this weird venue a fun place to catch a flick. I have a vague memory of a spiral escalator transporting you downstairs? I didn’t visit often, but I remember going for Making Mr. Right.

marklyons
marklyons on November 15, 2013 at 2:00 pm

I saw The Breakfast club there, it was one of my favorites….

moviebuff82
moviebuff82 on July 6, 2014 at 8:23 am

20 years ago today Forrest Gump came out at this theater and others.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater