Kapiolani Theatre

1646 Kapiolani Boulevard,
Honolulu, HI 96814

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Kapiolani Theatre

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Built on the site of the Drive-In which was the first in Hawaii and opened in 1950. The Toho Theatre opened on July 1, 1964. Showed exclusively Japanese movies made by the Toho Studio who built and operated the theatre. Opening night they showed “Samurai Pirate” and a host of Japanese film stars attended the opening.

On April 14, 1976, Consolidated Theatres took over, and renamed it Kapiolani Theatre, showing first run Hollywood studio movies. The first movie shown under the new management was “WC Fields and Me”. “Star Wars” premiered here and at the Cinerama on the same day in 1977 to accommodate the huge demand. I was still a kid when all this was going on.

I remember the snack bar and bathrooms being under the red carpeted stairs leading to the theatre, and these giant silver disks decorating the walls. Some of the first run movies I remember seeing: “The Omen”, “Damien Omen 2”, Sharky’s Machine, Poltergeist, Tootsie, Octopussy, The Big Chill, Christine, “Purple Rain”, “Nightmare on Elm Street”, “Into the Night”, “Fletch”, “Back To the Future”, “Spies Like Us”, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”.

The Kapiolani Theatre was closed September 2, 1996 with Mario Van Peebles in “Solo” & Tom Arnold in “Carpool”.

Contributed by Cody Zamboni

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

thisisjohnbook
thisisjohnbook on January 28, 2013 at 10:18 am

The last movie I saw at the Kapi'olani was “Breakin'” in 1984. They still had placards outside in front of the box office, and throughout the lobby.

Brent70s
Brent70s on November 11, 2015 at 7:01 am

I remember waiting in line for the premier of “Star Wars” here at the Kapiolani Theatre and across the street was another old memory of “Holiday Mart”.

rivest266
rivest266 on March 12, 2017 at 3:41 pm

April 14th, 1976 grand opening ad as Kapiolani can be found in the photo section

RickT
RickT on May 15, 2018 at 1:33 pm

I remember seeing Stop Making Sense as well as Nightmare on Elm Street here when I lived on Oahu circa 1984-1987. And eating at Chicken Alice, after or before. Great memories!

RickB
RickB on May 15, 2018 at 3:26 pm

Last day of operation was September 2, 1996, with a double bill of “Solo” and “Carpool.” An article in the previous day’s Honolulu Advertiser said that this house was built on the site of Hawaii’s first drive-in theatre, imaginatively named The Drive-In Theatre and opened in 1950.

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