Cinerama Theatre

811 Hope Street,
Providence, RI 02906

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Cinerama Providence

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The Cinerama Theatre began its life as a neighborhood theatre called the Hope Theatre. In August 1961, it was converted for use in exhibiting 3-projector Cinerama features, which it did successfully until the process became obsolete.

A period of revivals and some first runs ensued until the theatre was twinned in the 1970’s and became a very successful art house showing some of the best product of the period, as well as occasional series of Hollywood classics in revival.

This policy continued through 1983, when the theatre property was purchased and the site was demolished for the purpose of erecting a CVS drugstore.

Contributed by Gerald A. DeLuca

Recent comments (view all 54 comments)

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 14, 2010 at 4:16 am

Notice in Boxoffice Magazine from August 14, 1961 issue on the reopening of the Hope Theatre as the Cinerama, featuring the three-projector wide screen system:

“The new Cinerama Theatre, formerly the Hope on Hope Street, was opened August 9 after extensive renovations to convert it for exhibition of Cinerama productions, the first theatre in Rhode Island to be so equipped. The boxoffice had been selling reserved seats for the opening well in advance. Matinee prices are $1.25 and $1.49 and admission charges for evening performances are $1.75 and $2.00.”

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 21, 2010 at 4:37 am

From Boxoffice magazine, February 4, 1956:

“In the most extensive cooperation promotion ever seen in this area, 14 Providence and nearby houses used record-breaking newspaper advertising space in heralding the joint premiere of "The Day the World Ended” and “Phantom from 10,000 Leagues.” Virtually taking over the amusement pages of the local press for several days, the following houses united in the ad: Elmwood, Hope, Uptown, Liberty, Castle, all in this city; Community, Centredale; Strand, Pawtucket; Union, Attleboro; Hollywood, East Providence; Palace, Cranston; Community, Wakefield; Park, Auburn; Palace, Arctic and Stadium, Woonsocket. A brief checkup of local houses indicated that opening days were solid."

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 25, 2010 at 9:32 am

From Boxoffice magazine, August 21, 1961:

Sellout Audience at Opening of Cinerama in Providence
PROVIDENCE, RI – A sellout audience, together with a number of dignitaries, attended the gala opening of the new Cinerama Theatre, formerly the Hope Theatre, on the night of August 9, when the Lowell Thomas-Merian C. Cooper release “This is Cinerama,” was presented.

Among the first-nighters were Gov. and Mrs. John A. Notte, Jr., Catholic Bishop McVinney and Joan Zeller, “Miss Rhode Island,” who was official hostess for the occasion.

Two bands provided music for the program, searchlights probed the sky and radio and television personalities were on hand to give added importance to the event.

The new Cinerama Theatre here is the second of its kind in New England, the other one being located in Boston. A third is scheduled to be opened in Hartford, Conn., according to reports here.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 3, 2011 at 6:21 pm

nritota: Cinema Treasures' default view now displays only the ten most recent comments in a thread. If additional comments exist for a given theater, they are now displayed on additional pages. To see earlier comments, click on the (view all comments) link just above the first comment displayed on the default page.

RoyRossi on December 26, 2011 at 5:33 pm

To Gerald – The last day was indeed March 19, 1983. We did the Rocky Horror Picture show there, ending a 4+ year run. It was at midnight, so technically I guess it was March 20.

I kept track of all the casting so I had the date.

dickneeds111 on February 18, 2012 at 11:53 am

Having been to the Cinerama in Providence only once(Ice Station Zebra) and also having been to 3strip/70mm Cinerama theatres such as Boston, Wash. D.C.(Warner and Uptown, Baltimore(Mayfair), San Diego(also a lockwood /Gordon, Seattle(Before remodel), San Francisco,and Rotterdam, Holland.I rate the Providence as my 3rd favorite. San diego #1, Boston#2, Seattle #4, Uptown #5 Rotterdam #6, Seattle #7 and the god awful Mayfair in Baltimore#99 with the Golden Gate in San Francisco as # 98. I rate these as picture & sound quality, Comfortable Seating, and Cleanliness. The only ones left as Cinemas are Seattle, Rotterdam And San Francisco(Legitimate stage). I,m sorry the Uptown in D.C. is still a cinema and the Warner in D.C. is a stage theatre. Boston is an empty parking lot.

nritota on February 18, 2012 at 12:06 pm

This page has the theatre as previously operated by Cinerama. This theatre was never operated by the Cinerama company. When it was renamed and reopened in 1961, it was owned by Lockwood and Gordon Enterprises. L& G was sold to SBC Management (a division of Sonderling Broadcasting) in the mid-sixties.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on February 18, 2012 at 4:05 pm

to dickneeds111- “Boston (Cinerama) is an empty parking lot”. No. The parking lot is next to the theater. The Boston Cinerama (ex- RKO Keith Boston Theatre) still exists in the rear of the large building at Washington & Essex streets. It’s been closed up for many years.

nritota on August 9, 2012 at 10:10 am

Quite the pics of the old interior! As someone who worked every position in the then Cinerama, I remember going up over the old back stage fake box seats (just out of view of the proscenium) and viewing the original ceiling. The screen was pulled way forward for Cinerama to get the width, which explains the seat reduction from 1100-756.

Also, the inner foyer doors were removed for the remodel, although the box-office was still in the small space on the right of the lobby. At the end of the inner foyer (l&r) were the rest rooms. Ladies on the left, men to the right.

Although far from a palace, it’s a shame that the old girl is gone.

nritota on November 20, 2012 at 4:44 pm

Even though this article was well past the glory days, here is a box office story of a promo we ran at this theatre:

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