RKO Warner Twin Theatre

1579 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

Unfavorite 40 people favorited this theater

Additional Info

Previously operated by: Marks Brothers, Mark-Strand Theater Corp., RKO, Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corp.

Architects: Thomas White Lamb

Styles: Adam

Previous Names: Mark Strand Theatre, Strand Theatre, Warner Theatre, Cinerama I & II Theatre, RKO Cinerama Theatre, Penthouse Theatre, Cine Orleans (Off Broadway)

Nearby Theaters

News About This Theater

RKO Warner Twin Theatre

Located on Broadway at W. 47th Street, the Mark Strand Theatre was opened on April 11, 1914 with the photoplay “The Spoilers” starring William Farnum. It was built for the Mitchel Mark Realty Company and was under the early direction of Samuel L. “Roxy” Rothapfel. It originally had a seating capacity of 2,989 located in orchestra and a single balcony.

The Mark Strand Theatre began its life with stage shows in addition to movies and also had one of the largest stages in the city in 1914. After stage shows were dropped in 1929, seating was reduced to 2,750. In the late-1930’s stage shows (and vaudeville) were brought back.

After dropping stage shows on July 3, 1951, the Strand Theatre was renamed Warner Theatre, and opened with “Strangers on a Train”. During 1952 to 1953, the theatre closed, was renovated and renamed Warner Cinerama Theatre. Cinerama films moved here from the Broadway Theatre, starting with “This Is Cinerama” in 1953.

In 1963, the auditorium was equipped with a 81 foot wide, 30 feet tall screen to show “Its a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”. World Premiere’s of 70mm films included “Porgy and Bess”(June 24, 1959), “Exodus”(December 15, 1960), “The Greatest Story Ever Told”(February 15, 1965), “Grand Prix”(December 21, 1966 and “Camelot”(October 25, 1967).

On June 30, 1968, the theatre was twinned becoming the Warner Strand Theatre. A third 450-seat theatre was built on the old Strand Theatre’s stage-house, named Cine Orleans (Off Broadway), which had its own entrance on W. 47th Street. On June 3, 1971 following an over $5000,000. refurbishment it reopened as the RKO Warner Twin Theatre. With 1,100 seats occupied the main floor. The former balcony became the 1,200 seat Penthouse Theatre.

Unfortunately, on February 8th 1987, after a long and eventful life, one of the greatest movie palaces of New York City closed and was demolished.

Contributed by Cinema Treasures, Warren, Orlando Lopes

Recent comments (view all 343 comments)

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on February 7, 2020 at 2:07 pm

Hello-

being a lifelong film buff I am still a tad confused as to what the term “grindhouse” means. if I am not mistaken this theater played several studio releases after TSON ran here. for instance Apocalypse Now played here after its run at the Ziegfeld.

vindanpar
vindanpar on February 7, 2020 at 2:41 pm

I did see Superman II here. But it did in the very early 70s start showing a lot of exploitation fare unlike the Ziegfeld which for the most part played Hollywood A films. The Ziegfeld was never an exploitation house which all the great Times Square houses were at some point if not all the time. The one that remained for the most part a class act until the end was Loew’s State. I don’t know why exactly.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on December 4, 2020 at 3:12 pm

Hello-

to vindanpar. the Loews State stayed almost but not quite exploitation film free, it did show “Without A Stitch” a Swedish soft-core film.

also the Capitol escaped becoming an exploitation house by Closing June? of 1968.

moviebuff82
moviebuff82 on December 4, 2020 at 5:00 pm

One of the last hits it played before it closed was “Aliens” on two screens in the summer of 1986.

vindanpar
vindanpar on December 11, 2020 at 4:42 am

Yes Jack Valenti lamented at the time of Without a Stitch about porn coming to a first run Broadway house. Especially one that recently had a year long run of a family roadshow.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on December 11, 2020 at 1:09 pm

Hello-

on pg.1 of the photo section is an ad with highly acclaimed critics' quotes for the New York premiere of Isadora with Vanessa Redgrave. interesting note. I believe the Paramount Theater(now the El Capitan) in L.A. was the only theater in the entire U.S.to have played the original uncut version.

ridethectrain
ridethectrain on July 4, 2021 at 10:02 pm

Please update, on June 30, 1968 it was the Cinerama Theatre (Orchestra), Penthouse Theatre (Balcony)On June 16, 1976 RKO rename the theatre Cinerama 1 and 2. The upstairs theatre Penthouse Theatre became Cineram 2 and finally on June 3, 1983 it was refurbished and rename RKO Warner Twin.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on August 2, 2021 at 3:43 pm

Hello-

when The Greatest Story Ever Told premiered here Feb.15,1965 what was the running tome at the premiere? the IMDB page for the film says the original Cinerama print was 260mins. or 4hrs. 20mins.. the 4hr. 20min. running time is also noted on the Wikipedia page for the film. was the twice noted original run time of 4hrs. 20mins. ever used during the film’s roadshow run at this theater?

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on August 3, 2021 at 3:45 pm

Hello-

to CCMPI- thanks for your reply. I’m sure every film ever made has had cuts of various lengths made during the editing/post production process. but to be referred to as the “original cut” I would say it would have to have been shown theatrically regardless for how short a period of time. for instance the original roadshow cut of 2001 played the Capitol for a week before Kubrick ordered cuts. so why would both IMDB and Wikipedia refer to The Greatest Story Ever Told’s “original cut” for its Cinerama roadshow engagements as being 4hrs. 20mins. when as you state such a cut never existed?

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on August 3, 2021 at 4:25 pm

Here is the AFI version of the edits: https://catalog.afi.com/Catalog/moviedetails/22336

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.