UA 8 Movies

362 W. El Norte Parkway,
Escondido, CA 92026

Unfavorite 1 person favorited this theater

Former Escondido UA 8 (now LA Fitness)

The UA Del Norte Plaza 8 was opened in 1985. It was later taken over by an independent operator who closed it in April 2001. The theater building still exists in the Del Norte Plaza, but has been heavily modified to be a L.A. Fitness.

Contributed by Chris Flora

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

LebowskiT1000 on April 10, 2012 at 10:32 am

It was more than 1 screen, probably 8 or 10 or something like that.

Zubi on April 11, 2012 at 11:35 pm

This theatre’s original marquee name was “UA 8 Movies” – not “United Artists Theater”. It was an extra-beautiful eightplex: bright white exterior with blood-red tile and ginormous columns inside and out, double-striped neon above the lobby on high brass ceilings, and a super-wide two-story front entirely of glass. This was the first THX house in San Diego County. Built in 1985, “Explorers” was one of its opening movies. For those of you who are fans of Dan Barron from UA Del Amo-Torrance, this was Dan’s first UA. He was an assistant here (under Mr. Moreno) and later became manager. Dan was very well thought of by all of his friends and colleagues in SD (Thomas, if you read this and remember the Long Island Iced Teas, send a hello!). UA 8 Movies-Escondido [informally called just UA Escondido or Escondido 8; sometimes UA Del Norte (its 411 listing) or Del Norte Plaza Movies (post-UA)] had a total capacity of 2048; the main auditorium seated only 394 but it had 70mm capability. If anyone has a photo of this place, please post—particularly if it was taken when the theatre was bran spanking new and the most striking (they later painted the front columns pink, which was a huge mistake). Today’s LA Fitness remodel also does not even do this place justice. In addition to having once been a great looking multiplex, when Dan was there, UA Escondido also had an unbelievably sharp-looking and well-trained staff.

LebowskiT1000 on June 26, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Here’s an article with a mention of the Del Norte Plaza Movies 8 (UA 8 Movies).

“Edwards, a Newport Beach, Calif., company that merged into Regal Entertainment Group following bankruptcy, closed the Vineyard Twin Cinemas and six-screen Nordahl Road Cinema in Escondido, Calif., in 1998 after opening an 18-screener in nearby San Marcos. The San Marcos opening also prompted closure of the 15-year-old, independently run Del Norte Plaza Movies 8 cinema; when Del Norte management failed to find a new operator for the theater, it rented the gutted space to LA Fitness Clubs.”

Zubi on March 25, 2018 at 4:42 am

Ron Pierce – This theatre did have a short post-UA afterlife but not as an Edwards. You may be thinking of San Marcos 6 (which also had a red and white color scheme, was built just a year after this one, was located very nearby, but which was always an Edwards). This theatre, UA Escondido, had THX Dolby Stereo and 70mm capability in its main house plus a second Dolby house (while Edwards San Marcos 6 had no 70 capability and only generic stereo [but in all six houses]).

MightyBedbug on May 2, 2018 at 6:16 pm

Hi there, I worked at the UA8 in 1985 and was a high school friend of projectionist Dan Barron (he always promised to teach me how to run the projector, but never did!). I worked primarily as an usher and at concessions. I spent many hours learning “how to stand” and playing “Popcorn hockey” trying to see how far many tiles we could “shoot” a piece of popcorn on the floor. It took me years before I could tolerate the smell of popcorn again. I remember the following movies played at the UA8: Commando, Day of the Dead, Better Off Dead, Flesh + Blood, St. Elmo’s Fire, Teen Wolf, Fright Night, Weird Science and Re-Animator. I remember one midnight screening of Return of the Living Dead where about half the customers left in horror at the film. I must have watched each of those movies dozens of times (all in five-minute increments!) I remember playing the heck out of the arcade games in the lobby, especially Yie-Ar Karate, Kung Fu Master and Karate Champ. (Karate must have been big in 1985!) I haven’t been back to Escondido in years, and I’m sad to hear it’s long gone.

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