Wonderland 4 Cinema

2251 Lincoln Highway East,
Lancaster, PA 17602

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rocky316
rocky316 on March 24, 2013 at 9:11 pm

I was the last General Manager of my all-time favorite theatre on 2 occasions. First, from 1987-1991 and then from 1993-2001. I started as an employee there in 1981. The Wonderland was the area’s premier theatre for many years – especially when there was a huge 500 plus seat theatre which showed E.T. for 6 and ½ months. The theatre was split into 2 280 seat theatres. Theatres 1 and 2 were 280 seats, theatre 3 was 390 seats and theatre 4 was 410 seats. The inside of the theatre is currently used to store equipment for the amusement park and the lobby area is where you can purchase tickets to its sad looking mini-golf course or Nathan’s hot dogs. The last films to play were Pearl Harbor, Princess Diaries, Rush Hour 2, Summer Catch & 2 other films. It was a very sad day when this theatre closed. Prior to 1997, this theatre averaged between 220,000 and 280,000 patron. In 1998, the theatre had over 350,000 patrons as the Regal Cinema 7 had been demolished for a replacement 16 screen complex, which opened in May 1999. From 1999-2001, the theatre still had between 150,000 and 200,000 patrons. The lease was not renewed due to a combination of a change in philosophy by AMC Theatres and Earl Realty selling to Hershey. The theatre would still be profitable today if it had been renovated because of its location and being an old “community favorite”.

Marcel
Marcel on July 31, 2011 at 8:38 pm

Thank you for all the information muviebuf and Dennis. This was one of my favorite theatres!

dennisczimmerman
dennisczimmerman on July 31, 2011 at 7:06 pm

The Wonderland Theatre opened as a single screen in 1969, operated by Budco Theatres – as previously written. IN 1971 A SECOND THEATRE WAS ADDED. THE FIRST THEATRE WAS PERPENDICULAR TO THE HIGHWAY AND THE 2ND THEATRE WAS ADDED PARALLEL TO THE HIGHWAY, FORMING A BACKWARD L. The Original theatre was twinned in 1977. It operated as a three screen until 1986 when the 2nd screen, which was added in 1971, was twinned. The theatre closed on Oct. 13, 1986 and reopened as a two theatres on Oct. 31, 1986, making it a total of four screens. The original theatre and the 2nd one added were the best theatres in Lancaster to see a movie. The walls were red fabric and the large screens were “covered” with yellow traverse curtains. The seats were rocking chair with plush seat backs. The theatres are still standing and even the sign on the highway as pictured above is still there. The theatres operated for 33 years and closed on Sept. 6, 2001 as Earl Realty did not renew the lease with then

operator AMC, which had purchased Budco Theatres. Driving past I have often “wondered” what the wonderland theatres look like inside now. They were certainly not the movie palaces, but a lot “classier” than the shoe box megaplexes we have now.

muviebuf
muviebuf on July 30, 2011 at 8:54 pm

The Wonderland was opened by Budco as a single screen in July of 1969 with Alan Arkin as “Popi”. The single screen was later twinned and then two other screens were eventually added. The property was on leased ground from the Dutch Wonderland Amusement Park.

AMC acquired this when took over Budco around 1987. I believe it closed about 2005 when the Dutch Wonderland Park was sold to HERCO which operated HersheyPark. It was used for a time as an indoor miniture golf course.

Last year HERCO sold Dutch Wonderland to Palace Entertaiment – a subsidiary of the Spanish congomerate Parques Reunido. Palace owns several amusment parks in the US including Kennywood in Pittsburgh as well as 17 parks in California alone. [ Just when are we going to stop selling our assets and our country out to the foreigners?] Anyway as a result of the sale to Palace the Wonderland Cinema now sits unused and abandoned.