Westgate Cinemas

5101 Washington Avenue,
Racine, WI 53406

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WESTGATE Cinemas, Racine, Wisconsin, 2006 photo

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The Westgate Cinema is a five screen multiplex operated by Marcus Theatres. It is an all stadium seat, digital sound operation. A large building with the entrance in the middle. A large bright lobby and concession area with the auditoriums spread around the lobby in a U shape. There is a large cream color portico over the entrance with glass extending up to the top of the building at the entrance. This gives the lobby a bright and airy atmosphere.

It was closed in September 2006.

Contributed by Chuck Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 14 comments)

Hal
Hal on May 12, 2006 at 5:18 am

Actually, I believe the drive-in was down Washington Ave. to the East, it was behind the shopping center and around the corner. Both that drive-in and the original “Cinema 1&2 ” operated at the same time. The shopping center housed a “Turnstyle” store as it’s anchor many moons ago. This theatre played all the major films after the demise of the downtown theatres, it was your basic GCC. blue everything, shadow box screens, no masking (very annoying for “flat” features) and ran 6000 ft reels on twin machines with automation and carbon arcs! For years there was a motel and restaurant right next door, it was called the Clayton House. I saw my first “R” rated film in this theatre, Catch 22!!! There was nothing special about this theatre at all, but when it opened it was a big deal because there hadnn’t been a new theatre built in Racine since the 20’s or 30’s. I’m sure it’s date with the wrecking ball is not far off, in this day and age, if there arn’t at least 18 or 20 screens, you can bet the theatre is not long for this world. In this case I doubt if anyone will shed any tears.

Hal
Hal on May 13, 2006 at 5:08 am

By the way, this theatre was simply known as Cinema 1 & 2, the Westgate moniker didn’t show up until many years after the opening. We had two of these in Madison as well, but because there were 2 of them GCC added West Towne and East Towne to the 1 & 2 to distinguish the two cinemas as to their locations. When the Racine 1 & 2 opened, there was no “Westgate Shopping Center” or anything else called Westgate except the drive-in mentioned above. The Turnstyle Store I mentioned above was all that existed in the nearby shopping center at the time, there may have been a couple of smaller stores there I don’t remember, but the center was not known as Westgate at the time.

DonRosen
DonRosen on September 25, 2006 at 7:14 am

The Westgate Cinemas are CLOSED. The last movie was “Hollywoodland” ending at 11:59pm, Sunday, September 25, 2006. Excellent theatres. In November, the new Marcus 16-plex opens up just down the road. The Regency Mall Cinemas (Yuk!) become budget theatres.

DonRosen
DonRosen on September 25, 2006 at 7:14 am

Correct that, Sunday, Speptember 24, 2006.

LouisRugani
LouisRugani on October 31, 2006 at 5:59 pm

For a recent exterior photograph of the Westgate Cinema (and other Racine theatres), see the Racine Granada Theatre site at www.groups.yahoo.com/group/RacineGranada .

DonRosen
DonRosen on November 1, 2006 at 1:38 am

The new Marcus Renaissance Theatres, 13 screens one of which is an Ultra Screen (!!) open November 17, 2006. I’ll be attending the preview party the night before, then do a remote broadcast on opening night. I’ll take pictures. Now, if I can figure out how to post ‘em, you’ll see 'em.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on February 14, 2007 at 4:52 pm

Status should be closed.

“The Journal Times

Goodbye, Westgate — Cinema closes to make way for multiplex in Sturtevant
By Janine Anderson

RACINE – It was Racine’s last urban theater. The last one not built on the sprawling parcels that modern theaters command. The last one solidly within the city’s borders. The last show, “Hollywoodland,” would release its patrons out into the night at 11:39 p.m. Sunday.

It was the last day for popcorn, for Sour Patch Kids and gigantic cups of soda, and the last day to catch a show at the Westgate Cinema.

When the movie theater opened in the 1960s, the two screens it had were a luxury. Other theaters had single screens, and having a choice of movies was something new. The modern building was different from the Capitol, Rialto and the Venetian, the old theaters with their elegant and opulent decorations.

Now Westgate is going the way of its predecessors. Marcus Theatres, the current owner of Westgate, decided to close the five-screen cinema in preparation for the November opening of its 16-screen multiplex in Sturtevant; Regency Mall Cinema will then become a budget theater, and the city’s days of having a first-run movie house will be over.

Lorrie and Terry Toutant have been coming to Westgate since it opened. Lorrie remembers walking to Westgate with her middle school English class to watch “Romeo and Juliet” on the big screen. They came to see “Hollywoodland” on Sunday afternoon, using free passes they received after seeing “Pirates of the Caribbean,” during a show when the sound was spotty for the first few minutes.

“I knew (the closing) was coming,” Lorrie said. “I just didn’t think it would be so soon.”

Now the drive to the theater will be longer, she said, but she has high hopes for the kind of movies they will be able to see.

“Maybe this way we’ll get the movies that only play in Milwaukee,” she said.

Lori Ammann has lived in Racine for 10 years, and has been coming to Westgate throughout that time. She thought the theater would remain in business until November, but read about its closing and came to catch one last show.

“I usually come with a couple girlfriends,” she said.

While she is sad that this theater is closing, she is also looking forward for the new one, and for Regency Mall Cinema’s pending change to a budget theater.

Steven Kennamer and his son Brian made the drive in from Kansasville to see “The Covenant.” They live closer to Burlington’s Plaza Theater, but come to Racine for the stadium seating. The new theater will cut their drive down by about 10 minutes.

“We come just to see a movie with stadium seating,” Steven said".

William
William on October 22, 2009 at 11:37 am

As a GCC house the theatre was once equipped with Sensurround (control unit #85) which was installed in their GCC Meadowdale Theatres in Carpentersville, Illinois at onetime.

quartrun
quartrun on January 27, 2010 at 9:36 am

The original was an outdoor theater facing to the southeast on Ohio Street, south of Washington Avenue. There were several small store fronts facing Ohio to the east, one of which was a laundromat where my Dad and I would go on Saturdays to do the laundry. I remember they had a machine known as “The Extractor”. It was a large, spinning tub dryer that extracted water from heavy items such as rugs. Directly to the north of those shops, facing Washington was Turn-Style. My Dad’s band, The Ward Allen Trio, was the house band for The Clayton House during the ‘60’s and 70’s. Great memories…

mfdrozewski49
mfdrozewski49 on September 15, 2011 at 4:49 pm

Please be so kind as to remove the two(2) photos showing the newspaper ads. If one looks, one can see that they are for the theaters in Madison. Having been a manager for GCC(1973-75, 83-86) at ALL 3 of these venues at various times I state this authoritatively. Thanks.

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