South Coast Plaza Theatre

3410 Bristol Street,
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Unfavorite 9 people favorited this theater

Mann's South Coast Plaza exterior

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The South Coast Plaza Theatre was opened by National General Theatres in 1968. In 1973 it was taken over by Mann Theatres who later divided the auditorium, which seated about 1,000, into two.

Edwards Theatres assumed control in 1981, making it their 17th Orange County location. The Plaza Theatre, in a separate building behind it, was marketed as its third screen.

It finally closed in 2000 because of Edwards' bankruptcy. Edwards once had plans to turn it into a single-screen stadium seating about 500 and offering dinner service. Its location, next to the Orange County Performing Arts District, makes it a prime candidate for some type of reuse.

The Orange County Register said after closing that ‘the Arts District needs a “populist” attraction such as a movie theater to broaden its appeal’.

Sadly this was not to be, and the theatre was demolished in March 2008.

Contributed by Ron Pierce

Recent comments (view all 27 comments)

MRY886
MRY886 on October 8, 2007 at 12:47 am

The architect of this theater was Harold W. Levitt and Associates of Beverly Hills.

Flix70
Flix70 on March 12, 2008 at 5:27 pm

Demolition has begun on this theater. I drove by today and saw just the frame left on screens I and II; a large green fence has been erected around the Plaza III and I can only assume its next, as the doors were open and it appeared they were in the proccess of gutting it. No idea what, if anything, will be going up in its place. Demo company is Ampco Construction. Sad day indeed.

William
William on March 12, 2008 at 5:56 pm

Well this makes the second theatre that the firm of Harold W. Levitt and Associates to get razed in the last few months. The other being the National Theatre in Westwood. Both are former NGC/Mann houses.

Manwithnoname
Manwithnoname on March 12, 2008 at 8:19 pm

When the FOX Twin in Palos Verdes closed the manager, Harry Kotsos (Mr. K) moved over as manager of this theater. As a favor, I would occasionally drive out from Torrance to assist if he was short handed. These trips for a friend were the last time I saw him so this place had fond memories for that reason. I believe “Saturday Night Fever” was playing on one of those trips. While I remember the lobby I do not remember the interiors of the twins. For a short time I was also Assistant Manager at the FOX Cinemaland after the horrendous tri-plexing.

CTCrouch
CTCrouch on March 14, 2008 at 5:17 am

I stopped by and checked out the demolition today (3/13). The South Coast Plaza theatre was already down to walls and framework, the interior a pile of rubble; it had already been somewhat stripped, prior to demolition (as mentioned in an earlier post). However, the Plaza III turned out to have been relatively intact prior to the demolition; poppers, coke towers, menu boaards, screen, speakers, seating, etc. had all been there. It was almost as if Edwards had closed one night and never returned. Seeing such an intact theatre being torn apart was extra sad.

GaryParks
GaryParks on March 14, 2008 at 3:08 pm

When I saw the pre-demolition photos of this theater, I realized that this is where I saw “Sleeping Beauty,” in about 1971 or so. This was the only time we attended this theater. We lived in Seal Beach then, and went to South Coast Plaza for shopping, but never for movies, save this one time.

bkazmer
bkazmer on March 13, 2010 at 3:41 pm

My ex was at that Premiere night when Debbie Reynolds appeared. She has a photo or two from that night. Rats, I suppose I better ask her about that now. She was 17 years old when that occurred and we were married 3 months later. Scandalously young.

BruceForrest
BruceForrest on April 23, 2010 at 1:52 am

My parents, Sam and Dorothy, worked maintenace at the original single-screen theatre, from 1969, up until when it became a twin, and, later, when Edwards bought it up. Was sad to see the building get demolished.

CTCrouch
CTCrouch on July 4, 2011 at 3:56 am

Miscellaneous trivia: The South Coast opened as National General Corp’s 263rd theatre.

Today, the site is a well maintained grass lot; popular for office breaks and as a walkway to/from the Orange County Performing Arts Center.

Richie_T
Richie_T on July 14, 2011 at 7:22 pm

Here’s a link to the demolition of the South Coast Plaza Theaters. Try to get past the music by Live. The video is sad enough already.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtTXvwHeyn4

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