South Coast Plaza III Theatres

3410 Bristol Street,
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Edwards Cinemas, Mann Theatres, National General Theatres

Firms: Harold W. Levitt & Associates

Previous Names: Fox South Coast Plaza Theatre, Mann South Coast Plaza Twin

Nearby Theaters

Mann's South Coast Plaza exterior

The South Coast Plaza Theatre was opened by National General Theatres on March 13, 1968 with Warren Beatty in “Bonnie and Clyde”. In 1973 it was taken over by Mann Theatres who later divided the auditorium, which seated about 1,000, into two. On June 23, 1976 a new building built behind the original one became its third screen.

Edwards Theatres assumed control in 1981, making it their 17th Orange County location.

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, made 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 theatre 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 32 comments)

CTCrouch on July 4, 2011 at 12:56 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 on July 14, 2011 at 4:22 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.

Logan5 on October 9, 2014 at 10:48 pm

“The Rocketeer” was presented at Edwards South Coast Plaza in 35mm Dolby Stereo beginning on Friday June 21, 1991.

Joe Pinney
Joe Pinney on February 5, 2017 at 7:16 am

Seeing the video of the demolition of the South Coast Plaza theaters is painful for me, especially since I spent so many memorable hours at this theater, seeing I don’t know how many incredible films from the late 70s, 80s, and 90s. Everything from Disney films like THE CAT FROM OUTER SPACE and FREAKY FRIDAY to SUPERMAN to RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK to POLTERGEIST (opening night, Friday, June 4, 1982!) to re-releases of the first two STAR WARS films to DIE HARD to BRAVEHEART. This was, at one time, one of the premiere theaters in Orange County. Many 70mm presentations. To see it just unceremoniously trashed like this, so completely erased from existence with no trace that it was ever there……that hurts. It was there, dammit. I loved going there. Why’d they have to go and tear it down?

MSC77 on December 14, 2017 at 11:42 am

Steven Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” opened here forty years ago today. This venue was among only about three dozen nationwide to play the movie in a 70mm presentation, and the engagement here played 42 weeks, the longest on record for this film in the United States. For more, please see my retrospective article celebrating the movie’s 40th anniversary.

MSC77 on January 2, 2018 at 2:34 pm

My December 14th comment regarding the new “Close Encounters” article actually belongs on this page instead. I didn’t realize there’s a separate database entry for the #3 screen. Which begs the question as to why the two entries aren’t combined into one.

rivest266 on November 1, 2019 at 3:27 pm

The Deluxe New Fox South Coast theatre opened on March 13th, 1968 with “Bonnie and Clyde”. Grand opening ad posted.

rivest266 on November 17, 2019 at 12:21 pm

June 23rd, 1976 grand opening ad posted.

Flix70 on December 11, 2020 at 11:04 am

Robert Altman’s “Popeye” starring Robin Williams and Shelley Duvall opened at the SCP III 40 years ago this weekend back in 1980. I can remember waiting in line for at least an hour that first Saturday for a mid-afternoon showing.

Flix70 on March 28, 2021 at 9:12 am

A 70mm double-bill of Disney’s “The Black Hole” & “Sleeping Beauty” began a 4-week stint at the Mann South Coast Plaza 40 years ago this weekend (March 27, 1981).

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