Cooper Theatre

960 S. Colorado Boulevard,
Denver, CO 80246

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Cooper Twin, Denver CO 1993

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The Cooper Theatre was the first of three Cinerama theaters built by the Cooper Foundation in the early-1960’s. Known as the Golden Triangle, the three theaters were located in Denver, Omaha, and Minneapolis. Complete with massive screens and the latest sound technology, all three were designed to exhibit films made in the 3-strip Cinerama process.

Renamed as the Cooper/Cameo by the 1970’s, the theater later became part of the Commonwealth Theatres circuit, who franchised the Cooper name. They also built the Cooper 5, Cooper 6, Cooper 7, and Cooper Twin (none of which were Cinerama theaters), which were constructed to mimick the round, elevated roofs of the existing Cooper theaters.

Visitors came from all over to see the Cooper Theatre and its wonderous screen. But after several years of delighting audiences and packing full houses, the Cooper Theatre began to draw fewer crowds.

After Commonwealth Theatres, the Cooper Theatre was run by United Artists, who continued to operate the theater until it was sold. Like Cinerama itself, the Cooper Theatre in Denver did not last forever. After years of changing hands, the massive theater was finally sold to Barnes & Noble, who razed it in 1994 to build a new store.

Recent comments (view all 92 comments)

stebernfox20 on January 6, 2015 at 4:33 pm

this a good cinemarama or we can say theater i hope i can watch here soon.

MichaelGraham on April 5, 2015 at 7:09 pm

The owners (Movie Palaces) of a new Theater (Studio City® Mesa + ARQ® (West)) here in Casper, WY that opened on March 27, 2015 included one auditorium named after this theater. IT was built to emulate the Denver Cooper (it even features a glass showcase with memorabilia from the Denver Cooper). It features a large curved screen that is 65ft wide X 30ft tall. It also has large oversized leather seats. Tickets are reserved, rather than on a first-come-first served basis. This auditorium also features sound from Meyer Sound. The Movie Palaces has trademarked the technology in this auditorium as ARQ (Arc).

Not sure how it compares to the Denver Cooper, as I never watched a movie there.

Brad68 on June 27, 2015 at 9:24 pm

DShevlin- I worked at the Cooper/Cameo from 1986-89?

That was a fun place to work while in high shool. Mickey was the manager and Japhy was the asst.

DenverNative on December 23, 2015 at 8:55 am

The Cooper Theatre in Denver was (is?) my all-time favorite movie theater. One of the earliest movies I saw there was “Paint Your Wagon” (which must have been in 1969). I saw Close Encounters with my family and I remember my dad commenting that the Mother Ship would make a nice chandelier. I saw Alien, Grease, The Wall and even “The World According to Garp.” The last movie I saw there was 2001: A Space Odyssey during a special showing in the 90s.

When I was 13 I saw Star Wars with my younger brother the second weekend after it opened. We sat in the balcony, behind a woman and her son. After the 20th Century Fox fanfare faded out up came the words, “A long time ago…”, the woman whispered to her son, “a long time ago?”

I still remember exactly how excited I was the first time I saw the words “Star Wars” appear on the screen. We sat through the movie twice that day. The next weekend they were clearing the theater between showings.

It is a pitiful shame that we lost the Cooper, and for that matter, Century 21 and the original Continental. (The latter is still with us, albeit grossly modified from its original beauty.) I must make a trip to Casper to see how their tribute to the Cooper turned out. Perhaps someday a new Cooper theater will be built in Denver.

I jokingly tell the young folks working at Barnes and Noble that I watched Star Wars “right here, in this exact spot.”

tkpms85 on August 21, 2016 at 11:59 pm

I was 13 or 14 when 2001 A Space Odyssey was playing at the Cooper. I kept begging my parents to let me see it. They never let me go. One day I told my Mom I wouldn’t be home for about six hours then my friend and I walked to the theater, it took us about two hours and when we arrived they had changed the movie I was so mad. We stayed and watched Mckenna’s Gold which was a great movie to see in cinerama. It was years later that I finally saw 2001 A Space Odyssey. I still wish I could have seen it at the Cooper Cinerama.

Coate on July 6, 2017 at 10:27 am

Does anyone remember if Disney’s “Tron” played here in summer 1982 and/or during its autumn ‘82 re-release?

Chazzmania on July 6, 2017 at 7:48 pm

Tron did not play at the Cooper. I am fairly certain I saw Tron at The Century or The Continental.

Coate on October 8, 2017 at 12:23 pm

Anyone recall which big summer 1978 movie played here at the Cooper? “Grease”? “Jaws 2”? “Heaven Can Wait”? Other?

MSC77 on April 10, 2018 at 9:55 am

Fifty years ago today, Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” premiered here.

To celebrate the occasion, I’m sharing the link to a new retrospective article on “2001.” This and many other cinemas get a mention in the piece.

DanaQualley on April 30, 2018 at 10:34 pm

The Cooper in Minnesota had a Cameo also.

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