Eastlake Square 3

5701 E. Hillsborough Avenue,
Tampa, FL 33610

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Eastlake Square 3

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Located in the old Eastlake Square Mall on E. Hillsborough Avenue at 56th Street. The Eastlake Square 3 was operated by General Cinema. The mall closed in 1998 and the entire complex was converted into office space.

Contributed by Andy

Recent comments (view all 16 comments)

Nunzienick on June 23, 2010 at 2:17 am

Continuing my post above, here’s the opening day ad dated August 6, 1976:
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General Cinema opened both Eastlake Square Mall and Tampa Bay Mall Cinemas on August 6, 1976. The opening features for Eastlake were: “Gator” “The Winds of Autum” and “Survive.” I remember seeing “Survive” on opening day mainly to get a look at the new cinemas. Eastlake was a very nice triple-screener. Each time I saw a film here the theatre was clean and very well-maintained and always looked new. Around 1978 cinema III received a Dolby installation. I remember seeing “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” in Dolby Stereo and being impressed by the enhanced sound.

The cinemas were located at the rear of the mall on the south side. The free-standing box-office sat a few feet in front of the entrance, and beyond were several steps leading up into the spacious lobby. Concessions was on the right and entrance to the cinemas was straight ahead. The two larger cinemas were on the right and left sides with the smaller cinema in the center. Capacity was probably about 350 for each large cinema and 250 for the smaller cinema.

Despite its location in east Tampa not far from a somewhat seedy section of town, Eastlake Cinemas managed to survive for several years following the demise of Tampa Bay Mall Cinemas. Over the years this section of town gradually declined even more and the mall began loosing major tenants. This of course signaled the inevitable end for both the mall and the cinemas.

The final day of operation was March 5, 1998 and “The Blues Brothers” “Replacement Killers” and “Senseless” were the closing features. The entire mall was remade into a huge office complex. I haven’t been in that section of town for several years so I have no idea what now occupies the former theatre space.

Thisaccountisclosed on October 1, 2010 at 1:29 pm

I had the chance to walk around the old Eastlake theater space around 2000-2003 (I can’t exactly remember when). Anyway, all three of the theater rooms were still there at the time. The first one (the one closest to the top of the stairs) had been cleaned up and totally re-done (like the lobby and stairs) into a contemporary presentation space for corporate activities/events, though now a ‘presentation room’, it kept true with the old theater layout, with rows of descending seats facing a large screen in front. The other two theaters were still the same as they were when the mall closed (pretty dark and empty). They looked destroyed though, like most wasted structures. The ceiling looked like it been knocked in, wires and lighting fixtures dangled from above and all kinds of junk and machinery laid around the isles -which made the red seats seem very distinguished. I’m sure by now, that they have both been worked into something else, maybe as office spaces or even as two other large presentation rooms.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on December 27, 2010 at 10:12 pm

Nick,It sounds a lot like Regency Mall Cinemas {GCC}.Except our small theatre was Cinema3,not Cinema 2,but they were all pretty much the same size.Thanks for the comment.

imissGCC on October 4, 2011 at 1:31 am

There’s a photo of the opening day ad here: http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/33024

Apparently The Tampa Bay Mall I & II and The Eastlake Square Cinemas I II & III opened the same day, August 6, 1976.

imissGCC on October 4, 2011 at 1:35 am

I worked at this triplex when I was in college in the late 1980’s. The manager was Mr. Guthrie (John Guthrie?) who was originally from Tuscan, AZ. The assistant manager was Karen.

It was fun and scary to change the one foot high marquee letters (climbling up a ladder and all) on Thursday nights around 11 PM. This was needed to update films and also the showtimes.

The mall had a solid business in the late 1980’s. There was a really kool Italian family (via Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn) that owned a pizza shop nearby in the mall.

All memories now! I may find a few old pictures I could scan in the future. I hope I still have them.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio on October 5, 2011 at 9:32 am

Thanks imissGCC! Sure is nice to hear from a former employee. Sadly enough no other employees from any theatre in Tampa have ever posted comments on CT (aside from myself who worked at the Dale Mabry Drive-In.) When you have time please scan any photos of the theatre you might have…would love to see them.

MelodyP on April 12, 2012 at 9:55 pm

I worked at the Eastlake Cinema back in the late 80’s. I worked with a girl from high school named Trish. I had so much fun during busy tickets sales and the line would wrap around the corner. I think ticket prices were $3.75 and we had no cash register. Tickets were on a big spool that came out from a punch button. Popcorn was sold in buckets and our lemonade was named Lotta Lemon. My favorite part was the cute pinstriped shirts and maroon vest and bowtie we had to wear. Movies playing around that time…Purple Rain, An American Tale…I also remember bartering our free tickets with the other mall employees…ORANGE JULIUS!! I don’t rememeber the manager’s name at the time. Bigger guy and really nice!! Maybe John?? I also remember we had a projectionist that never came out of the booth. Wow the stuff I can remember sometimes amazes me!!

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio on April 14, 2012 at 1:49 pm

MelodyP, Thanks for the memories! So nice to hear from another former Eastlake employee. It’s extremely rare to see comments from employees of various theatres in the Tampa area. So when an employee does post a comment it’s always a treat to read. Sounds like you had some fun times at Eastlake!

sandman70 on November 29, 2013 at 9:07 pm

This was the movie complex that i went to see Star Wars at in 1977 for my birthday. It hold’s a golden treasure for my childhood memory. I have seen a ton of films at Eastlake Square, like The Changeling with George C. Scott, and Jaws 2. The late 1970’s were just a simple way of going to the movies, you were paying only 2.50, and giving a plain admission ticket stub. Right across the cinema was the Quarterdeck lounge and bar. I just do not like today’s movies, they are just full of computer graphic imaging and do not have that electricity of breaking new grounds like the 1970’s and 1980’s films did.

stephenkim on December 18, 2013 at 12:41 am

I remember going to this theater from the time I moved to Tampa in the early 80s, until the early 90s. My best memory was getting my brother out of class at King High to catch the opening of Return of the Jedi. We thought we’d gotten away with it until our dad opened the next day’s Tribune and there we were, captured in a picture!

Some films I remember seeing at Eastlake:

Halloween 3 (1982) Return of the Jedi (1983 – opening day) The Living Daylights (1987) Malcolm X (1991) Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994)

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