Cinedome Theatres

3001 W. Chapman Avenue,
Orange, CA 92868

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Cinedome-Orange (1993)

Viewing: Photo | Street View

One of Orange County’s premiere theatres, particularly for 70mm presentations, during the 1970’s, 1980’s, and 1990’s. It was originally owned and operated by Syufy Enterprises, which later changed its name to Century Theaters, Inc.

I recall seeing <em>Close Encounters of the Third Kind</em>, <em>Hot Stuff</em>, <em>The Black Hole</em>, <em>TRON</em>, <em>Back to the Future</em>, <em>Total Recall</em>, and other films there.

A terrific theatre that never should have been closed or demolished, but it was, in favor of a modern multiplex built not far on the site of the former Stadium Drive-In. The link has a ton of info on the Cinedome.

Contributed by papibear

Recent comments (view all 42 comments)

DepotBill
DepotBill on March 31, 2013 at 11:23 pm

Anyone remember the name of the restaurant that was right by the hotel near the Cinedome?

Flix70
Flix70 on April 18, 2013 at 1:36 pm

Can’t say I remember a hotel by the Cinedome. There’s been a Motel 6 across the street since as long as I can remember, along with a Dennys.

moviebluedog
moviebluedog on April 18, 2013 at 3:36 pm

There was indeed a motel next to the Cinedome. If you were driving into the theater’s parking lot, the motel would have been on the left side. A fence divided the motel and Cinedome properties. There was also a gas station on the right side of the Cinedome parking lot.

When the Cinedome closed down, the motel was vacated. Both the motel and Cinedome were demolished around the same time. Two new huge apartment complexes now fill the old properties. Hard to believe that one of the coolest movie theaters ever built was replaced by apartments.

I don’t recall the name of the restaurant. It had gone through a number of names over the years.

TustinMan53
TustinMan53 on April 26, 2013 at 10:36 pm

You all missed the best movie to see ever at the Cinedome in 1969 which was 2001:a space oddysee. I was very dissapointed to see the Cinedome gone. I remember my dad taking me to see 2001 and the theater was packed. Then about a month later, I saw 2001 in the afternoon and there was only 3 people besides myself. Whats even more cool was the last movie I saw at the Cinedome. It was 2010. I love the little girl story. Just looking around in one of the Cinedome theaters while watching a movie was awesome at best.

imissoldanaheim
imissoldanaheim on May 18, 2013 at 2:33 am

I actually tear up when I think of my beloved Cinedome. I went to Loara High and I have nothing but the fondest memories of my friends and I watching THE GREATEST movies there. There was a time when going to the movies was an EXPERIENCE. Every movie seemed packed which made going to the theater this really incredible shared experience. People cried, laughed, shrieked and clapped together. We seemed strangers going in and acquaintances coming out.

Does anyone remember seeing E.T. there? People were sitting in the isles so you couldn’t go to the bathroom!!!!!!! That’s not allowed anymore. Neither is “theater-skipping”. It was so easy to pay for one movie and see 6 if you wanted to. Nobody cared.

Some of the best times I had happened while I was waiting in the super long lines for a movie. When my friends and I were waiting to see Aliens, some guy next to us said he was hungry and was going to Burger King. He said he’d bring us back hamburgers and fries if we saved his place for him. Free Burger King and Aliens. It didn’t get anymore kick-ass than that! It also seemed like only cinephiles went to the Cinedome because everyone we talked always knew a lot about film and were just as passionate about going to the movies as I was.

After high school I went to Chapman College (now University) and would always catch a movie in between classes. I was in complete shock and overwhelmed with anger when I drove past the Cinedome and saw it boarded up. God, did that suck!

In an ironic twist, perhaps not so surprising, I later got an MFA in Film Production from Chapman. I was the first graduating class of the MFA program. I owe my love of film and career choice to the Cinedome. The theater-going experience for me now pales in comparison to what I had known in my youth but I feel lucky to have experienced it at all.

Scott Neff
Scott Neff on May 20, 2013 at 1:16 pm

I find that theatre hopping is a lot easier now. With 20-30 screens, just go in one side and lay low, nobody will bother you. With the smaller theatres, people would notice when you were there all day because there were only 10 employees vs. the 20-30 that a multiplex has now.

Flix70
Flix70 on May 24, 2013 at 4:54 pm

Good stories, Imissoldanaheim. I hear you, going to the movies just isn’t the same as when we were kids. The Cinedome, Big Newport, South Coast Plaza, they were palaces that made the great flicks even better. At least we have our memories.

Bruce D
Bruce D on June 3, 2013 at 6:22 am

Miss this place….the two main theaters cannot be described…you really needed to experience it to understand how awesome those theaters were.

As a little kid I remember the first movie I saw there with my parents was Sounder and few year later Young Frankenstein. When I was old enough to drive I would drive from Long Beach to see movies there that I knew needed to be seen in a theater like this…Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, Aliens, Jurassic Park…

dn6
dn6 on June 13, 2013 at 12:35 am

I got to experience near the end-run of this awesome theatre during my college days. I remember on my days off or driving home from class, I would enter through the business complex in the back and park in the rear lot next to the dome where employees would park and leave/enter for their meal breaks. Occasionally, I could sneak into the theatre through the rear exit doors which were either left jarred open or the lock was still broken.

Some of my most favorite movies were seen during these times…Thelma & Louise, Terminator 2, People Under the Stairs, Star Trek VI…all of which were in 1991. Most of the movies I saw were during the same visit when one could still hop from screen to screen. The theatre more than made up for it from my constant visits to the concession stands and arcade games while waiting for the next feature to start. I truly miss this theatre. There will probably never be another one like it in OC thanks to the mega-scum small screen complexes that they keep building to please the masses and pack them in like sardines.

I, too, remember hearing the playful little blonde girl laughing and running around in the back of the theatre. She still haunts me to this day…

vmoyneur
vmoyneur on April 16, 2014 at 11:58 pm

I was there before demolition started. I was able to get inside to get the remaining equipment. Later on the Superintendent showed up gave him a hundred bucks and he helped me get the rest. Love this theatre when it was just 2 screens. My first movie experience there was Oliver. I also have lots of pictures of it during demolition.

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