Bon Marche Twin Cinema

707 Lobdell Boulevard,
Baton Rouge, LA 70806

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The Bon Marche Cinema was the third of Baton Rouge’s initially single-screen shopping center theaters to open, following the Broadmoor Theatre and the Robert E. Lee Theatre. "The Cowboys" was the premiere attraction at the ABC Interstate house in February of 1972, but the theater made its real mark a month later with a record-breaking run of "The Godfather." "Deliverance," "A Clockwork Orange" and "The Exorcist" were other major hits in its first two years of operation.

In 1974, the theater was twinned, but it escaped the curse of having its plush auditorium split by having the second house built on the side of the original cinema. The Bon Marche Twin continued as a major force in Baton Rouge exhibition throughout the 1970’s. In 1979, the mall next to the theatre, built an internal 8-screen theater that began to tap into the major bookings.

In the early-1980’s, the Plitt chain took over operation of the Bon Marche Twin, which lasted most of the decade. United Artists took over in the later 1980’s and ran the theater with erratic success, often playing second runs and B-product, until it closed in late 1991. It was finally razed in early 1996, taking another memorable Baton Rouge movie haunt away from the landscape.

Contributed by Fred Sliman

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

GBC
GBC on December 1, 2010 at 4:37 pm

I remember standing in a line for two (2) hours to see the second Star Wars film.

rivest266
rivest266 on January 11, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Ads from February 24th, 1972 and August 8th, 1974 has been uploaded here.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on January 12, 2012 at 1:17 pm

REMEMBERING PLITT THEATRES is now on FACEBOOK for anyone interested in discussions on PLITT THEATRES.

WilliamCarroll
WilliamCarroll on February 19, 2012 at 12:49 pm

I remember that the Bon Marche Theatre had an unusual sign out on the curb, much like some Walgreens signs today, where the sign could be lowered in order to change the movie titles, then raised back into place, up high on the pole. Seems that a poor kid who worked there was told to go out and change the sign, and when he attempted to lower it, the enormous, heavy sign slipped off its track, and fell, killing the young man below. Does anyone remember or know any more details of this tragedy?

flhshvlhed
flhshvlhed on July 21, 2012 at 6:27 am

The young man’s name was James Douglas “Bo” Watkins, Jr. He was a ‘78 or so graduate of Baton Rouge Magnet HS and attending LSU (IIRC). He was a good friend of mine. There’s rarely a time that I haven’t driven by that place, and not thought of him.

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