Edina Cinema

3911 West 50th Street,
Edina, MN 55424

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Edina Cinema

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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.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

bbeza
bbeza on August 18, 2004 at 2:13 pm

Architect is listed as “unknown” but first sentence credits (and correctly) Liebenberg & Kaplan. The correct entry in the architect field will get a truer search result when querying by “architect."
Thanks!

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on January 6, 2005 at 11:59 am

The architect of the Edina Theater was Jack Liebenberg (Seeman Kaplan his partner was the busnessman and engineer in the practice).

retrojosh
retrojosh on January 17, 2007 at 2:23 pm

This is my favorite Twin Cities cineplex. The interior has an art deco look and feel to it that in a way makes it seem like a glitsy classic theater. I’m glad that the original exterior front facade and marquee was save and incorporated into the new cineplex. I look at this theater and wonder why this kind of development doesn’t happen more often instead of complete demolition.

rivest266
rivest266 on June 9, 2007 at 8:22 pm

This was one of the typical Cineplex Odeon “Jewelbox” theatre built in the late 1980’s.

Typical Cineplex Odeon carpet, the same carpet is used in the Montréal area’s Langelier 6 (now Guzzo) and Cote des Neiges 7 (now Foutune)

MinnesotaJones
MinnesotaJones on March 24, 2009 at 2:31 pm

I saw a re-release of Star Wars here back in 1979 or so, as well as Robocop (while it was still a triplex). After the 1989 remodel, it became one of my favorite theaters to see new movies (if not my favorite). I saw Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Jurassic Park, Batman, The Lost World (JP2) all in their initial runs here and many other movies here in the 1990s.

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