Edwards Big Newport

300 Newport Center Drive,
Newport Beach, CA 92660

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James Edwards

Viewing: Photo | Street View

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.

Contributed by Ron Pierce

Recent comments (view all 49 comments)

Richie_T on September 1, 2011 at 11:25 am

I agree with you, Flix 70. Edwards Big Newport is a portal to movie magic. There’s something really special about that auditorium. There’s no better theater to see a movie on opening night… so many classics over the years… so many great audiences.

Flix70 on December 28, 2011 at 3:37 pm

Caught War Horse on the big screen the day after Christmas. While it took a while for a couple of the house lights to go out, it was overall a very enjoyable presentation.

lukesky7 on November 9, 2012 at 11:28 am

“Black Sunday”(77); “Breaking Away”(78); “Empire Strikes Back”(80) “Return Of The Jedi”(83), among others! It really doesn’t get any better than the Big Newport experience. Delighted that they brought the curtain back, also. A new generation now gets to see how movies are PROPERLY presented! Now, if we could just get rid of annoying pre-show commercials/previews(FOR TV???) & adverts! It just KILLS it!

I realize adverts pay for operations, etc, but come on, keep it on tv & out of this beautiful theatrical experience for crying-out-loud! Anyone else hearin' me on this?

Becky Watkins
Becky Watkins on December 12, 2012 at 1:48 pm

This may be a ridiculous question, but is the 71ft width, height, or diagonal?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 12, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Becky: The screen in the main auditorium of the Edwards Big Newport is 71 feet wide, at maximum. The screen has masking which can be used to block light from part of it when the theater shows movies that don’t have the right aspect ratio to fill it completely.

Flix70 on May 6, 2013 at 10:56 am

I’ve been a loyal patron of the Big Newport for over 30 years now. For my money, there just isn’t a better place to see an “event” film in OC than in the massive, velvet-draped main auditorium. That said, Regal really needs to stop tinkering with the showtimes for films on the big screen. I checked the paper for Iron Man 3 on Friday and the first showing was at 10 AM. Ok, so the wife and I get up early on Sat morning with the intent of catching the first show and while grabbing some breakfast out I by chance glance at the showtimes again and they’ve changed to 10:30 AM. The 10AM is now on one of the smaller screens. This is the second time in a year, that I know of, where the times for the big screen have changed within 24 hours. Sure, the times stay the same, but the screens sure don’t.

Regal needs to understand that the big screen is a bit of an institution in Orange County and that people actually do make the trek from all over the region to see a movie there. In the old days, you looked at the showtimes for the big screen on Friday and knew your movie would be playing at those times at least until the following Thursday. You didn’t have to check back daily to see if the times had changed.

Even Regal’s staff members weren’t sure what showtime was on the big screen this past Saturday morning. And the marquee hanging over the lobby doors wasn’t helping matters either: it listed the first show on the big screen at 10AM, not the 10:30 posted in Saturday’s paper.

I was hoping to catch Star Trek, Man of Steel and The Lone Ranger on the big screen this summer but I’m thinking the AMC in Tustin is looking like a better choice. At least there I don’t have to keep checking showtimes on a daily basis.

Flix70 on May 20, 2013 at 1:42 pm

Avoided the Big Newport this weekend and caught the 10AM Star Trek Into Darkness at the AMC Tustin. Very nice presentation; especially in 3D. For fun, checked the showtimes for Trek at the Big Newport. First show wasn’t until 1:15 PM. Why such a late start for a major release on opening weekend? So they could show Pain and Gain at 10:30 AM, silly.

Seriously? A four-week-old film gets the first big-screen showing on a Saturday? Unless Regal was hosting a screening for fitness professionals that morning, that film has absolutely no business on the big screen after four weeks.

Both films have virtually the same running times so that shouldn’t have played into their thinking. I mean is it possible Regal actually thought Pain and Gain would do better on the big screen at that time over Star Trek opening weekend? If so, I’d really like to meet their focus groups.

With each passing week, Regal makes it easier to avoid the Big Newport all together. Kind of sad. I guess I’ll just have to remember the good times, when Edwards used to run things.

sartana on November 29, 2013 at 5:27 am

Just read through the comments. Does no one have any photos of the main auditorium??

sartana on November 30, 2013 at 3:43 am


I think you forgot to post the link.

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