3911 West 50th Street,
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The Edina Theatre opened in 1934, seating 1,300, and was designed by the firm of Liebenberg & Kaplan in flamboyant Art Deco style. It cost between $80,000 and $100,000 to erect. At the time, it was the largest theater in suburban Minneapolis.
Though inital reaction by the citizens of Edina Theatre to a glitzy movie house was mixed at best, especially to a glittering marquee in downtown Edina (which was remedied by switching the design of the marquee from a standard canopy marquee to a tower marquee), it was an almost immediate success.
The Edina Theatre boasted all of the most modern technology of the day, including hearing devices for the hard of hearing. However, it also featured enough glamour and luxury to remind patrons of the downtown movie palaces of earlier years, such as a large stage, a 300 seat balcony and seating for 1,000 on the orchestra level, air-conditioning, a large fireplace in the lobby for the cold Minnesota winters, murals in the lobby depicting old Edina, stylish Art Deco furniture, and even a nursery for children.
In 1951, during a severe wind storm, the towering marquee was bent in half but soon repaired. However, three decades later, when a twister hit Edina, the theater’s marquee was totally destroyed, but was recreated in 1981 and is now a listed historic landmark.
The Edina Theatre was twinned and remodeled in 1976, and it was planned that the Edina 2 would now screen art and foreign fare; however, this wouldn’t actually come to fruition until much later. In the late-1970’s, the Edina Theatre was triplexed.
In 1988, the theater’s then-operater, Cineplex Odeon closed the Edina 3 and all but its Art Deco landmark facade and marquee were torn down. A modern, two level fourplex was built behind the facade, opening in 1989.
Loews Cineplex shuttered the Edina Cinema in January of 2003, but in March 2003, the theater was acquired by the Landmark Theatres chain, and finally became the art house that it was originally intended to become in the late-1970’s.
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