Wang Theatre

270 Tremont Street,
Boston, MA 02116

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Metropolitan Theatre (now Wang Theatre), Boston, MA – 1929

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Metropolitan Theatre was opened October 17, 1925. In recent years it has been renamed the Wang Theatre, and along with the Shubert Theatre, the two theatres operated by the non-profit Wang Center for the Performing Arts has been converted into a grandiose performing arts center that, until spring of 2005, delighted movie audiences with ocasional showings of classic films.

A theatre whose beauty is really the ‘big’ thing, the Wang Theatre has state-of-the-art sound technology along with beautiful decorations and gold plated figures. It also features a large stage, with the auditorium containing a 1,500 seat balcony, a mezzanine, and 20 box seats along its edge.

Contributed by Andy

Recent comments (view all 150 comments)

Bill L
Bill L on December 31, 2014 at 4:56 pm

I was one of the projectionists for the Wang Classic Film Series. As previously mentioned, one of the most memorable events was “Ben-Hur”, attended by Heston. The 70mm print was made from the 1969 reissue negative. When the film first opened in November 1959 at the Saxon Theater (formerly and currently the Majestic), the original 70mm prints were in “MGM Camera 65”. This process used an anamorphic lens to stretch the normal 2.2:1 image to 2.76:1. The original 6-channel Technicolor prints were said to yield a staggering image in terms of sharpness and scope. The Saxon’s presentation(running well over a year)would have been magnificent. 35mm “Cinemascope” prints were extracted from the original 65mm negative for use in neighborhood theaters with standard equipment. When reissued in 1969, few theaters were set up with the lenses to run this process so MGM optically converted the new 70mm prints to 2.2:1. This resulted in a loss of sharpness and side image information. It was still an impressive presentation.

The Classic Series was very successful when it ran great films, many in 70mm when available, such as “Oklahoma”, “Around The World In 80 Days”, “Spartacus” and “Lawrence Of Arabia”. The series ran on Mondays when the house would have been dark and usually did substantial business. “Lawrence” drew around 2500 the night I ran it.

Eventually others took over booking and the quality took a nosedive with the series eventually being scrapped. I recall running the Indiana Jones trilogy one winter weekend during a raging blizzard. I wondered who would trek in during that storm as I trudged through blinding snow. The house ended up being packed with fans. I also remember the Wang being part of First Night on New Years Eve one year. We ran around 15 or 20 Warner Bros. cartoons repeatedly all evening. The event was free and I think may have been sponsored by

Previously, Sack had installed a pair of Century JJ 70mm projectors for the showing of “Cleopatra”. Other 70mm shows during that era were “Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines” and, much later, “The Stewardesses” in 3D. Sack had wanted to continue using the house for rock concerts but their lease renewal was refused, so the equipment was removed.

You can pretty much forget ever seeing films at the Wang again. A couple of years ago they decided movies weren’t their thing and sold off the current projectors, a pair of Philips Norelco AA-II 35-70 machines that had been donated by Redstone (Showcase). They were earmarked for George Eastman House Museum in Rochester, NY but the sale may have stalled.

Movieholic on February 28, 2015 at 2:41 pm

I’m sorry to read movies won’t be shown anymore because I loved the classic films series, some of them seen for the first time by me on the big screen. “National Lampoon’s Animal House” was a truly enjoyable night out, sadly overshadowed by 9/11 the next day. “Ben Hur” couldn’t have looked or sounded more spectacular, especially in 65 or 70 MM. (I’m not sure which format was utilized for the presentation). “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “Some Like it Hot,” “Silence of the Lambs,” and “Guys & Dolls” are among the other fine films I had the pleasure of seeing.

BobSchlapowitz on June 21, 2015 at 1:40 pm

Some time around 1993 or so, they screened the Original Star Wars Trilogy at the Wang, and it was absolutely amazing in every way.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on September 24, 2015 at 10:19 am

Citigroup banking is withdrawing its long-time sponsorship of the Wang Center in November. That will mean the end of the “Citi Wang” and “Citi Shubert” theater names.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on October 8, 2015 at 10:38 am

Citigroup will end its relationship with the Wang Center in November 2016 not Nov. 2015. Reported in Boston Herald today, Oct. 8.

dallasmovietheaters on November 13, 2015 at 6:45 am

The Famous Players'-Lasky $4.5 million “wonder theatre” — the Metropolitan Theatre — opened October 17, 1925 with a live performance of the 1812 Overture and live stage presentation of “The Melting Pot” symbolizing the colonization of New England and Paramount’s feature, “The King of Main Street.” The manager Ralph E. Crabill saw a full house for the first performances.

DavidZornig on November 27, 2015 at 12:21 pm

Circa 1957 photo added, photo credit Boston Globe. Possibly a 1962 re-release after Loren won her Oscar.

DavidZornig on November 27, 2015 at 12:35 pm

1970 photo as Music Hall added, photo courtesy of the Dirty Old Boston Facebook page. Music Hall name was 1962-1980, and should be added to the Overview and/or as previous names. It was also named Metropolitan Center from 80-83 before becoming Wang.

Trolleyguy on July 16, 2016 at 6:34 am

The rock concert scene in the new “Ghostbusters” movie was filmed here.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on August 8, 2016 at 3:47 pm

It’s been years since the Wang Theatre showed a movie, but they will screen Mel Brooks' “Blazing Saddles” on October 22. Brooks will be on stage “to provide a behind-the-scenes look at his illustrious career and talk about the making of his 1974 western comedy starring Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder.” The event will include an audience Q&A session.

Mel Brooks is in the saddle again, en route to Citi Wang Theatre (Boston Globe)

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