AMC Uptown 1

3426 Connecticut Avenue NW,
Washington, DC 20008

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12-28-13 From balcony's top row

Opened by Warner Brothers on October 29, 1936, the Uptown Theater is the last movie palace in Washington, DC still showing first-run films. The Uptown Theater is located near the Cleveland Park subway stop on the Red Line of the Metro. Many restaurants are on both sides of the street.

The theater opened with a seating capacity of 1,364 (914 seats in the orchestra and 450 in the stadium seated balcony). The Uptown Theater was designed by theater architect John Zink, a top designer of Art Deco and Art Moderne style movie houses. In 1939, Zink designed Baltimore’s historic Senator Theatre.

In the early-1940’s, the auditorium’s side walls were covered with fabric. In 1956, the auditorium was remodeled to allow films in wide screen Todd-AO. “South Pacific” ran for seven months in 1958 and “West Side Story” ran for nine months in 1961. In 1962, the auditorium was remodeled to show 3-strip Cinerama films. The original projection booth remains at the top of the balcony, but new booths were added at the front of the balcony. Since Cinerama ended, the center front booth continues to be used.

The World Premiere of “2001-A Space Odyssey” was at the Uptown Theater on April 2, 1968, in its original two-hour and 40 minute version. Kubrick trimmed 20 minutes, and the movie was then shown for 51 weeks. Local theater operators Circle tookover, and that company’s founders continue to own the building, though succeeding movie operators lease it. In 1987, Cineplex Odeon tookover, and that company later merged into Loews, which in time merged with into AMC.

Many films were shown in their original 70mm runs, and later, in reissues, to sold out crowds. The restored “Lawrence of Arabia” was shown in 1989, with director David Lean attending the premiere. The restored “Spartacus” was shown in 1991 and the restored “My Fair Lady” in 1994. Cineplex Odeon refurbished this palatial movie house in 1996, reducing the seating capacity to 840 and reopened it with the restored “Vertigo”. In 1997, the Uptown Theater was host to the re-release of the Star Wars saga (aka “Star Wars: The Special Edition”). On opening day, the ticket lines wrapped around the block, turned the corner, and continued several blocks away from Connecticut Street. New prints of 36 classic films, starting with “The Jazz Singer” were shown in 1998 to celebrate 75 years of Warner Brothers movies. The other restored classics included “Rear Window” in 2000, and in 2001, a 20th anniversary run of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey”. In 2003, the Director’s Cut of “Alien” was shown, and in 2007, “Blade Runner, the Final Cut”.

Hollywood studios frequently have glittering red carpet film premieres at the Uptown Theater.

First run, blockbuster mainstream movies are the mainstay. Known for having the largest screen in DC (its curved screen measures 32 feet tall by 70 feet wide for ‘scope films), the Uptown Theater has been the best place to see event movies for several decades.

Contributed by Karim Alim, Justin Zagri, Howard B. Haas

Recent comments (view all 554 comments)

bigjoe59 on July 5, 2019 at 3:43 pm

Hello from NYC-

during the prime roadshow period(1952-1972) which theaters in D.C. aside from this one and the Warner did the studios use on a regular basis for their roadshow engagements? Manhattan had 7.

MSC77 on July 9, 2019 at 1:33 pm

bigjoe59: Didn’t you ask this a while back? And, if I remember correctly, it was answered with a venue by venue breakdown of the roadshow bookings. Anyway, the answer you’re seeking can be found in the article Showcase Presentations in Washington, DC.

bigjoe59 on July 9, 2019 at 2:41 pm


I did in fact ask the question a while back and I mean
a while back but it was kind of you to answer the question again. the one bit of info on the list that still has me scratching my head is the roadshow run of Circus World “in Cinerama” at this theater which lasted only 3 weeks. I admit it wasn’t exactly Oscar material but I watched an HD transfer on YouTube and thoroughly enjoyed its colorful hokey-ness. the film’s roadshow run “in Cinerama” in Manhattan lasted I think 14? weeks.

Mark_L on July 9, 2019 at 5:22 pm

While I don’t have 100% of the data, the average run of CIRCUS WORLD was about 11 weeks. The Uptowns may have been the shortest.

There is a gap in Cinerama showings at the Uptown from 11/16/1964 – 3/8/1965. I have no idea what ran at the Uptown during that period.

Local619 on July 11, 2019 at 7:26 pm

Per the Washington Post.. Circus World was running 11-17-64.. Lili ran 11-20-64 to 12-24-64.. Father Goose then ran 12-25-64 until 3-7-65.. The theatre was closed 3-8 & 3-9 then The Greatest Story Ever Told opened 3-1-65 with advance mail order ticket sales.

bigjoe59 on July 12, 2019 at 11:55 am


I thank everyone for replying to my post about Circus World’s roadshow run at this theater “in Cinerama”. its run of only 3 weeks still baffles me. did it not have any advance sale?

HowardBHaas on January 17, 2020 at 5:29 am

In December, I enjoyed seeing Knives Out at the Uptown. Seating is now reserved! When did reserve seating start- they didn’t have it last December. And, the “flat” (not scope) movie was not matted/masked. I had not seen a flat movie at the Uptown in years. When did the theater stop matting flat movies?

markp on January 17, 2020 at 11:27 am

Its AMC. They don’t use masking in any of their theatres.

Giles on January 17, 2020 at 9:28 pm

Off the top of my head, I know that Mazza does side horizontal masking for ‘flat’ movies on screen 1,2 and 4. The Uptown to my knowledge has also done this for 1.85 AR movies. They really screwed up last year’s presentation of ‘Missing Link’ which was a scope movie, but side masked off the left and right sides of the image. For ‘Missing Link’, in April, there was no assigned seating but by the time I saw ‘The Lion King’ in July they had added seat numbers/assigning

HowardBHaas on January 18, 2020 at 8:42 am

Giles, perhaps the Uptown was still using side masking in April when you witnessed the mistake, and as you stated, did not have reserved seats, but changed both factors by July? As I stated, Knives Out is flat, meaning 1.85, but was not masked in December. Being in Philly, last I was at Mazza Gallerie was December 2017, when some screens did use masking. If I lived in DC, I’d visit both the Uptown & the Mazza Gallerie more.

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