Rheem Theatre

350 Park Street,
Moraga, CA 94556

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Built in 1957, the Rheem Theatre was originally a one screen, but during its remodeling in the 1990’s was split into four. The renovation did not ruin its original look.

The Rheem Theatre was closed on April 15, 2010, but it was taken over by the California Independent Film Festival Association and re-opened in September 2010 as the New Rheem Theatre. By 2017 it was renamed Rheem Theatre and was operated by the owners of the Orinda Theatre. It was closed January 7, 2018.

Contributed by Mr. Lopez

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 5, 2009 at 9:52 pm

Architects Cantin & Cantin designed the Rheem Theatre, and it opened in June, 1957. Photos of it were published in the October 19, 1957, issue of Boxoffice Magazine. It was a 1000-seat house with a large stadium section. The auditorium walls featured extensive murals, and the house had what was then the largest installation of rocking chairs in the United States, being the only theater west of the Rockies that was entirely seated with them.

The Rheem was also unusually spacious for its time, with row spacing of 42 to 44 inches, and the seats had extra-wide arm rests. As Gary Parks commented above, despite its late construction date the Rheem had the style of the luxurious Art Moderne theaters of the 1940s; but it also had the spaciousness which has only become standard in recent years, so it was both a throwback and well ahead of its time. The owner of the theater, Donald Rheem, could clearly afford the best of everything, and Cantin & Cantin certainly provided it.

scottfavareille on April 15, 2010 at 9:46 am

According to KTVU-2 News, the theater will be closing after tonight’s performances. This theater was going to close this past December because of declining business, but the news helped bring a temporary uptick in customers.

This leaves the Orinda Theater (now operated by the operators of the Rheem after taking that theater over in 2009 from Rennaisance Rialto) as the only theater left, unless one goes to the Cinemark in downtown Walnut Creek.

idjones942 on September 22, 2010 at 8:26 pm

The Rheem’s back in business, with the California Independent Film Festival people running the show. (Pun intended.) My folks, some friends and I went there over the summer to see the (Swedish version of) The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. The lobby is pretty nice, and we know the manager a little, so he told us a little about the place, such as the carpet in the lobby is the original. All it needed was a cleaning. Hm. Not quite sure what else to say. Pretty nice place, and real attentive staff though!

idjones942 on September 22, 2010 at 8:27 pm

Oh – addendum. So, the listing for this theater should say “Open”. Check out http://www.thenewrheemtheatre.com/ for the website.

idjones942 on November 24, 2010 at 8:21 pm

….Uh, hello? <poke poke> Rheem’s back in business, guys…

UnknownCinemaDude on December 14, 2010 at 12:49 pm

Here are is a link to picture that shows the lobby’s and concession stands,Autoriums a really nice cinema! GLAD to see this cinema back open!. http://www.cinematour.com/tour/us/7180.html

celaniasdawn on February 21, 2011 at 9:44 am

This theater was built by the Rheem family, of the famous Rheem Water Heater Company. I think that every home back then had one They made a fortune and they are still in business. When we went there for the first time, we noticed attached onto the back of the Orinda Theater was a big neon sign in green. It said “Rheem Theater – 5 miles” and had a green arrow showing you the way, you couldn’t miss it you could see it from the freeway. It was a nice drive, scenic like you’re in the country, 2 lane road to Rheem Valley. What I liked about the Rheem was the seating. It was very comfortable and gave you plenty of room. Haven’t been there in decades, glad to see it is still open

Mikeyisirish on June 27, 2012 at 10:14 am

A 2010 photo can be seen here.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 5, 2018 at 7:19 pm

The Rheem Theatre will be closing again, with its final showings scheduled for Sunday, January 7, according to this article from today’s East Bay Times. The theater will not be dismantled, for now, in hopes that it can be reopened in the future.

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