Twin Bays 4

4250 S. Dale Mabry Highway,
Tampa, FL 33611

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Located in the Twin Bays Shopping Center, which was directly next to Britton Plaza. The Twin Bays 4 opened in 1971.

The shopping center was demolished in the early-2000’s, but the theater had been vacant for awhile. Last operated by AMC Theatres.

Contributed by Andy

Recent comments (view all 15 comments)

Nunzienick on April 28, 2010 at 11:00 pm

Yes, as a matter of fact they did. When researching these two I was shocked to see that Horizon Park closed the day following the Twin Bays closure. And what’s really odd is the Tampa Tribune did a front page feature story on Twin Bays closing but not one word about Horizon Park…not a single mention. I was hoping to post the Twin Bays story tonight but if not I’ll post tomorrow.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on April 28, 2010 at 11:04 pm

Great Work Nick. We all enjoy the stories you write. We need to print Charlie’s Bio. “life as a projectionist”. The CT gang would love it.

AndyCallahanMajorMajor on April 29, 2010 at 1:11 am

Interesting that they were both in Tampa’s two Woolco shopping centers. I went to Twin Bays once or twice, but never Horizon.

Nunzienick on April 29, 2010 at 5:14 pm

AMC opened Twin Bays 4 and Horizon Park 4 on the same day, August 26, 1971. Both theatres were the same style and design and were identical to each other. This was AMC’s initial entry into the Tampa market and was much praised and heralded by local moviegoers. The Tribune’s film critic stated, “the coming of the quads will hopefully relieve the bad theatre situation in Tampa.” At the time there were only six first-run theatres locally, the Tampa, Florida, Palace, Britton, Hillsboro and Loew’s. The market was poorly under-screened for a city the size of Tampa in 1971. Smaller cities in fact had twice the number of first-run theatres.

Seeing as both theatres were identical and opened on the same day, the first portion of both postings will be the same for each theatre. The difference will be in my comments for each.

Two new theatres opening in the area was great news for local filmgoers. And what was even more thrilling was each theatre would feature not one or two but four screens under one roof for a total of eight new screens! At the time these four small theatres were a wonder to behold. Tampa had yet to receive its first twin theatre much less four.

These were the typical mini shoebox theatres with two large and two smaller auditoriums that probably seated anywhere from 125 to 225 per screen. They were always neat, clean, and well-maintained. Even today AMC theatres are among the cleanest.

AMC promoted the small quads with their creed:

*With smaller auditoriums patrons will not feel “lost” as they may feel in larger theatres on days with low attendance.

*Projection in smaller auditoriums provide for a shorter throw to the screen resulting in a sharper and brighter picture.

*The capability of showing a popular film in two auditoriums at the same time using a single print thus saving additional costs.

The opening day announcement advertised the theatre amenities:

Four Luxurious Motion Picture Theatres Under One Roof
Acres of Free Parking
Reduced Admission During our Exclusive Twi-Lite Every Evening
Discount Senior and Student ID cards that Offer One Year Disounts

Both theatres played the same attractions on opening day:

Pinocchio / A New Leaf / Ryan’s Daughter / The Andromeda Strain

The theatre was was located in the Twin Bays Shopping Center in South Tampa right next to Britton Plaza. Twin Bays 4 had an erratic admission history. Opening as a first-run theatre it later became a second-run $1 house for some time. It then reverted back to first-run and later back to $1 once again. This fluctuation between first and second-run movies/admissions occured at least two or three additional times during Twin Bays life span. For a time it was also a $1.50 house before finally closing as a $1 theatre.

The design of the small lobby made it somewhat tricky to sneak into another theatre without being seen. With admission being only $1 it wasn’t worth the grief and embarrassment of getting caught. It was easier to simply exit the theatre, pay another $1 and re-enter. This I did several times after nearly being caught once.

Some of the many films I saw here first-run that come to mind:
Abdominable Dr. Phibes/American Graffiti/Slaughterhouse 5/Dirty Harry/Son of Blob

And these I saw for $1.00:
Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex/The Exorcist/The Goodbye Girl/Coal Miner’s Daughter/Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind/ Oh God!/Piranha/Greystoke The Legend of Tarzan/E.T./Back to the Future/American Werewolf In London/10/Born on the 4th of July/The Terminator/Nightmare on Elm Street/Night of the Living Dead (midnight showing)/The Goonies/The Entity/Saturday Night Fever

Both American Graffiti and Saturday Night Fever were long running films that played here for months and months.

Twin Bays 4 closed on September 28, 1997 and the final features were:

Face-Off/Steel/Batman & Robin/The Lost World/Con Air/Nothing To Lose

A feature article on the closing was published in the Tampa Tribune 3 days prior titled:

“Last Picture Show: Curtain Closes For Good At Twin Bays 4."
Several regulars were interviewed saying they were not happy. Twin Bays was the best theatre bargain in town and they were so sorry to see it close. The theatre was always clean and the crowds well behaved. The manager was quoted as saying the theatre was no longer profitable. AMC was looking to replace small units with megaplexes of 20 to 30 screens with stadium seating.

Following the closing the building sat vacant for a time and was later demolished along with the entire shopping center. A Loew’s Home Improvement store now sits on the site.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on April 29, 2010 at 5:28 pm

Nick, I don’t believe you would ever sneak into another theatre.

Nunzienick on May 4, 2010 at 12:40 am

You got that right…my sneaking-in days are history!

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 20, 2010 at 5:56 pm

Sean and Kyle when they were 10 and 12 could sneak in the 20 plex all the time,just gotta look like you belong. Saved me some money.

Jorge on June 3, 2011 at 1:49 pm

I recall seeing quite a few movies here for $1 back when I was still new to the area (1995-1997). My fondest memory was a second date with my (now) wife, we went to see Tales From The Crypt: Demon Knight, we wanted to go see a movie, but nothing of interest was playing in the first run theaters, so we hit the Twin Bays. I think we had our first kiss this same night, sealing our fates forever (yikes). We been married 14 years now!

carlton_banks on May 16, 2012 at 12:27 pm

As a youngster growing up in the Tampa Bay area, I have seen much of the growth and tragedy among Tampa’s cinema scene. I always thought it was a treat to go to the Twin Bays after my grandmother would take me shopping on MacDill Air Base. She would treat me out once a week as if I was good all day, and what a treat it was. I loved it because it was so small and cozy. You walked and you saw the entire building lol. And it was a great retreat for military families looking for affordable entertainment without breaking the bank. It was a sad day when AMC shuttered both locations. Its funny now when I drive by the old location..I can imagine all of the great memories I have attached to the old Twin.

SMckenzie on October 28, 2012 at 4:07 pm

I remember Twin Bays being the theater of choice for my mother. For some odd reason she did a lot of shopping at nearby Britton Plaza, we lived in West Tampa that’s quite a ride. A lot of my childhood movie memories happened at this theater. My mom would always say wait for the movie to come out on VHS or see it at the dollar theater, of course I waited to see it in the theater. Even when I had a choice of the first run theaters I usually chose this one, admission being $1.00 my mom didn’t mind splurging on candy, popcorn, and a soda. I always thought it was strange how far back this theater was positioned.

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