Camera 12 Cinemas

201 S. 2nd Street,
San Jose, CA 95113

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Camera 12 Cinemas

The Pavilion Theatre 8 was intended to boost revenue in downtown San Jose. It was built using funds from the redevelopment agency and opened February 1, 1996 by United Artists. Seating was provided for 3,700, The theatre was not as successful as anticipated. After six months of operation, the United Artists chain announced they wanted to vacate the property. Three years later, with no warning, UA packed up all the equipment (in the middle of the night) and closed the theatre.

A May 2002 article in the San Jose Mercury news indicated that San Jose based Cinelux Theatres was interested in re-opening the theatre.

It was reopened as Camera 12 Cinemas on June 18, 2004 with a reduced seating capacity of 2,100. It was closed September 9, 2016.

Contributed by Mike Croaro

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

scottfavareille on March 17, 2004 at 2:40 pm

I find that last comment interesting, considering that Camera’s original intensions was to move into the Pavilion, but that deal had fallen through at that time(2002). Camera was then focusing on expanding the Camera 3 space into the Kinko’s next door to it(and adding two additional screens). The Camera One was to shut down in either event.

Camera has done a very good job with turning a long shuttered UA theater (the Pruneyard 3 in Campbell) into the Camera 7. I would love to see this suceed.

DKelley on May 30, 2004 at 2:14 am

This is a truly stupid idea! Camera Cinemas is adding 12 screens to an already completely super-saturated marketplace. This theatre will face over 150 screens in direct competition within a 10 miles radius. Additionally, Camera lacks the finances to make this a truly state of the art theatre. Case in point is their Dolby Digital sound system plan—most “state of the art” cinemas these days spend the extra money for THX certification to tout that comment. I’m sure this Cinema will be very modern in comparison to its dumpy dirty Camera 3 just across the street, but a brand new Daewoo Hatchback still isn’t a Mercedes. This Daewoo will charge Mercedes prices, but not provide the amenties of AMC or Century, or the friendly feel of CineLux. Boo!

scottfavareille on June 18, 2004 at 8:37 am

This re-opens today as the Camera 12. Most of the grand opening features are first-run Hollywood product, one of the screens is showing arthouse product.

The Camera One is now closed. The Camera 3 is still open for the time being.

CSWalczak on March 2, 2011 at 9:42 pm

This theater is again in severe financial straits, but the City of San Jose is trying to extend it a lifeline: View link

Nobody on April 9, 2011 at 10:58 pm

This theater is again in severe financial straits, but the City of San Jose is trying to extend it a lifeline: View link

I’m posting a little over a month after the above post. Does anyone happen to know whether the city was able to extend the lifeline mentioned?

Speaking as a taxpayer, I’m conflicted; I like the Camera Cinemas guys. OTOH, the City of San Jose’s Redevelopment Agency (RDA) contributed $4.6 million to the $11 million theater project when the UA tried to make a go of it. Then, when the Camera Cinemas took over, the RDA loaned -them- another $3.2 million, making a total of $7.8 million in taxpayer funds poured into a theater that, according to DKelley’s post above, “face[s] over 150 screens in direct competition within a 10 miles radius.”

I have to ask: am I missing something here? Or is the idea of pouring more taxpayer funds into a theater that’s been a money-losing proposition for more than a decade under two different owners as bad as it appears?

I also couldn’t help but notice that the Mercury News article made no mention of any RDA plans to perform a cost/benefit analysis so that the city has at least a vague idea of how much cash Camera 12 brings into the surrounding businesses. In other words: the RDA is simply -guessing- that Camera 12 serves as an “anchor” for the businesses in the area, but are either unable or unwilling to express the impact that Camera 12 has in terms of a dollar amount.

I know this is going to sound unkind, but: if the RDA is unable to quantify the financial impact that a business has, then how do they have any way of knowing what they are talking about? Ask yourself: wouldn’t a bank want to know this kind of information before extending -another- loan to someone who can’t pay back their original loan or make their rent?

This from a city that is running “a second consecutive budget deficit of more than $100 million.” Maybe it’s just me, but that sure doesn’t sound like a city that can afford to keep making poor financial decisions. ¬_¬

newbie on November 6, 2015 at 3:24 pm

I just looked at Internet Archives Wayback Machines camera cinemas website for May 2004 and it said that this opened on June 18th, 2004.

newbie on November 6, 2015 at 3:25 pm

I meant that that version of the website that I looked at said it would open on that date, and versions after June 18th, said that it was opened.

terrywade on September 13, 2016 at 2:30 pm

The public never did support this former UA cinema. Most of the auditoriums are very small. Now downtown SJ only has 1 cinema left a dome Imax type. Time again for a new theatre player to get involved. Maya Theatres maybe? Turn It into a larger 8 plex with large curved screens and better seating and showmanship curtains. Have food and live entertainment also. Being that the greedy property owners were about to raise the rent now they will suffer with a closed cinema for many years without rent money coming in.

newbie on March 5, 2020 at 6:44 pm

Looks like the property is being gutted for use as retail. There go the remodeling plans. While it does sadden me, it’s most likely the next logical step to do.

newbie on March 5, 2020 at 6:45 pm

Also, like I said in my comments from years ago, this theater opened on June 18th 2004, as shown on archives of the Camera Cinemas website on the Wayback Machine at the Internet Archive.

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