Edwards Big Newport
300 Newport Center Drive,
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Opened in 1969, with 1,130 seats and a 71-foot screen, this was among the last of the large theaters built in Southern California before the advent of the multi-screen shoeboxes in the early 1970’s. It was the fourth theater built by the growing Edwards chain and for many years it was considered their flagship.
In the 1970’s and 1980’s, two smaller screens were added on either side of its building, keeping the original auditorium intact.
Edwards' corporate offices were in the second story of one of the newer theaters and anyone who attended a matinee would probably see James Edwards II, the chain’s founder, greeting patrons. He came to work daily until his death at the age of 90.
In 1996, three stadium auditoriums were added to the building but the Big Newport, with its non-stadium seating, has defied trends and still continues to draw crowds. The Big Newport has a loyal following of fans who camp out or at least show up for the first day of the big movies. (Their unofficial web site is www.bignewport.com).
Edwards Newport Cinemas is now part of Regal Entertainment Group.
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