Edwards Town Center 4

3209 Park Center Drive,
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Edwards Cinemas

Architects: L. Perry Pearson, Paul Wuesthoff

Firms: Pearson & Wuesthoff

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Edwards Town Center 4

Construction of Edwards Town Center 4 was announced in the Los Angeles Times on July 12, 1981, complete with an architectural rendering of the façade. The front of the theatre had a unique sloped glass roof, which enabled the lights from the lobby to be seen from the San Diego freeway. The 25,000 square foot building was to cost $7.29 million with Edwards signing a $4.44 million, 30-year lease. The land was and still is owned by the Segerstrom Company, owners and developers of South Coast Plaza and all of the property in the area.

This was Edwards 19th Orange County location with their LA Times ad also showing four LA County locations in Alhambra, Monterey Park and Temple City under the Edwards banner.

Two of the screens were opened on December 25, 1981, and two more were open by the New Year.

For many years, along with two other Edwards South Coast Plaza theatres, it was a popular first-run destination. In 1998, when Edwards opened the Metro Point 12 stadium in the area, it began to play only art films along with their acquired South Coast Village 3 theatre.

It closed on June 14, 2001, 10 years before their lease was up, mainly because of Edwards bankruptcy. In fact, one of the reasons mentioned for the bankruptcy was that Edwards had too many outstanding leases on non-productive theatres. If the terms of the original 1981 lease had not changed, this would mean that Edwards was paying $12,333 a month for its lease. It was demolished in 2007 and the location is now a parking lot, with no indication that a theatre ever existed there.

Contributed by Ron Pierce

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

Coate on April 12, 2009 at 11:18 am

Theater info and photos here.

Richie_T on January 30, 2010 at 2:18 pm

I was startled to see how badly this theater fell into disrepair. Town Center was a classy place to see a movie back in the 80s and early 90s. I saw some amazing 70mm presentations there as a kid including: Return of the Jedi, Star Trek II-IV, Platoon, The Mission, and Lethal Weapon 2. Cool place. Classy. Sad to learn of its premature demise.

Coate on January 30, 2010 at 2:28 pm

“Platoon” was a 35mm presentation.

Flix70 on September 15, 2011 at 1:34 pm

The first film I ever saw at the Town Center was “E.T."on opening weekend in June of 1982. It was the only time I ever saw a line wrap completely around the building.

The two corner theaters were the largest and the ones you hoped were showing your flick. Saw some great films there over the years: Return of the Jedi(first show opening day; hardly anyone there), Gremlins, Star Trek III, Platoon and Crouching Tiger to name a few.

Always thought it was an odd place for a theater as it was in the far corner of a corporate plaza. The parking lot had an attendent booth and sometimes someone was in it, other times not. I remember always asking someone in the car: “You think I can park here?”

Eventually the lot was closed to theater patrons and you had to park in the corporate structure across the way. Sometimes you had to pay, other times not. Kind of lost its allure after a while.

LuckyBastard76 on January 9, 2015 at 10:20 am

I loved this theater and I agree it was a classy place. I liked how there was a balcony upstairs where they had giant windows and you could see the projectionist and projector. Some of the films I saw there, and there was a lot as this was one of my favorite theaters. Re-release of A Clockwork Orange, advanced screening of E.T., Conan The Barbarian, Videodrome, Blue Velvet, Visiting Hours, Tootsie, Platoon, What About Bob, The Dark Crystal.

Flix70 on February 13, 2020 at 8:30 am

The wife and I drove by the old location for the first time in years yesterday and noticed a parking garage now sits on the site. It’s like the Town Center never existed, except here on Cinema Treasures.

samwisefan on August 23, 2021 at 10:00 pm

My two best memories of this theatre are actually both audience test screenings. One of them was for the movie THE BEAR. That test screening happened an entire year before the movie was released in the US. And the second one was for DICK TRACY. That test screening was super memorable because Warren Beatty was actually there and walked right by us on the upstairs hallway after the film ended.

Flix70 on December 26, 2021 at 9:12 am

The Town Center opened 40 years this weekend (Dec. 25, 1981) with “Modern Problems” starring Chevy Chase & “Neighbors” starring John Belushi & Dan Aykroyd.

Ron Pierce
Ron Pierce on December 27, 2021 at 11:36 am

E.T. The Extra Terrestrial played the Town Center from June 11, 1982 to May 19, 1983. After that it played for three more weeks at Edwards Mesa, and Huntington Beach, giving it an Orange County run of two days shy of one year. At the end of February 1983, Edwards added a bonus, pairing it with first run films.

Robert MacNaughton, age 16, salary for E.T. $15,00, lived in Irvine and was interviewed by the Los Angeles Times July 25, 1983.

As for the parking structure commented on above, I remember taking the elevator up and some jokester had emptied a bag of Reese’s Pieces all over the floor.

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