Index Silver Screens Plan

Greater Los Angeles (2)


1. Los Angeles
2. The Suburbs

Irvine

Edwards 21
Edwards 21 Edwards 21
The Edwards 21 was one of the first large multiplexes in the area. My first visit there impressed me a lot, and probably gave me the idea of this web site, to share my passion for beautiful theaters. The complex offers twenty-one auditoriums (including one Imax). The lobby is vast and bright, with a very high ceiling. Each of the four largest auditoriums has 600 seats, a 70ft screen, a screen curtain. Instead of numbers, a prestigious name (Chinese, Palace, Hollywood or Egyptian), and a nicely decorated entrance. Others auditoriums are much smaller. When Jurassic Park was released, it was played in five different theaters (the four largest and a smaller one), with a show starting every half hour.

The theater is part of an shopping center, with a large food-court (in front of the theater), a large Sega arcade, a huge Barnes-And-Nobles bookstore, a Tower Records store, and other stores.

Ontario

East of L.A. A huge mall near the freeway. This is getting wild!

Ultrascreen Theatre and AMC 30
Outside the mall, there is a "Ultramax Theatre" (a kind of Imax theater), and an AMC 30 (thiry theaters, more than 4,000 seats); the auditoriums of the AMC are very correct, with stadium seating and large curved screens; all seem to have SDDS sound (but no other digital sound systems, which might be a problem for a few movies with SRD or DTS, but no SDDS).

Ultrascreen Theatre AMC 30
The Ultrascreen Theatre (left) and the AMC 30 (right)

Edwards 22
But this is not over yet. At the end of the parking lot of the AMC 30, there is a road going around the mall; across this road starts the parking lot, of the Edwards 22, a twenty-two-screen movie theater (including one Imax). Therefore, moviegoers have a choice of 52 screens!!!

Edwards 22 Edwards 22

The Edwards 22 seems to be based on Irvine's Edwards 21, but a few years later (it opened in early 1997). The auditoriums are larger, they all have stadium seating, curved screens and digital sound. Like the Edwards 21, the largest auditoriums wear names from the golden age of movie theaters palaces, and are decorated accordingly. The largest auditorium is the "Grand Palace"; it can seat up to 750 people, and it has the largest screen on the West Coast (85ft!). The two other largest auditoriums, the "Chinese" and the "Hollywood", are a bit smaller.

Edwards 22 - Grand Palace
Edwards 22 - Grand Palace Edwards 22 - Grand Palace
The very beautiful "Grand Palace"

Edwards 22 - Chinese Edwards 22 - Hollywood
The entrance to the Chinese (left) and Hollywood (right)

Edwards 22 Edwards 22

Why are these two multiplexes located so close to one another? It looks like Edwards started to plan a theater in the mall, before giving up on that idea (AMC later built a theater there), and decided to build the Edwards 22. Few movies are played in both theaters, but many are played in three or four auditoriums.

Banning

Fox
Banning - Fox Banning - Fox
Further east again, not far from Palm Springs, Banning is a small town, with an old three-screen dowtown movie theater.

Murrieta

The Movie Experience 17
The Movie Experience 17 On the I-15 (one of the freeways leading to San Diego), The Movie Experience built this seventeen-screen theater, which became the company's showcase. There is SDDS sound, but seemingly not in every auditorium.

Anaheim

Cinemapolis
Cinemapolis Cinemapolis
This theater is also part of the local company "The Movie Experience" (formerly named SoCal, for Southern California, Cinemas), founded in 1918; it represents the last generation of movie complexes, before the arrival of mega-multiplexes.
Cinemapolis Cinemapolis
In its thirteen auditoriums (not a common number in the USA!), it can seat 4,000 people (a rather good ratio of 300 seats per auditorium), with a largest auditorium of 600 seats. It opened in 1989, with "Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade". The theater was remodelled to keep up the pace with new multiplexes. The auditoriums have a shallow rake, the largest screens are about 50ft wide, and there is digital (DTS and SDDS) sound. Entrances to the largest auditoriums have beautiful marquees, with names of old movie theaters formerly owned by the company (below).
Cinemapolis Cinemapolis
Cinemapolis Cinemapolis

Orange

Century 25
Century 25 - Orange The usual question: "What makes this multiplex different from the others?" - Well, among our concession stands, we have a real cafe; and we are the largest all-THX movie theater in the United States...
Twenty-five auditoriums, all with the THX label! This theater owns 25 times more THX auditoriums than all Paris (in theaters open to the public)! The proof than THX still is a major player in movie theaters.
All auditoriums (for a total of 5,500 seats), located on the same level, have stadium seating and digital sound. The two largest (theaters 1 and 13) are identical; they have 525 seats, and the screens are about 80ft wide. The screens in all other auditoriums are 30 to 65 feet wide, and have ratios of 1.85; 65ft-screens are about as high as the screens in the largest auditoriums; a widescreen movie will be very nice, whereas the picture of a 1.85 movie will be really big.
Century 25 - Orange The Cafe
Above: a medium size auditorium.


The main concession stand; a part of it is self-service.

Near the theater is a complex of restaurants and a large video arcade.

AMC 30 at the Block
AMC 30 - Orange November 20, 1998, in a big brand new mall, AMC opened another AMC 30 (thirty screens, of course), the third in the area.

Santa Monica

Another dream name. Santa Monica is near the Ocean; it is crossed by a pleasant pedestrian shopping street, 3rd Street Promenade, bordered with many stores, restaurants, bars, and also most of the city's movie theaters. The AMC has seven auditoriums with SDDS sound, the Mann Criterion six, all with digital sound and THX, the Cineplex Odeon Broadway four with DTS sound. The Laemmle Monica 4 (four screens), closer to the Ocean on 2nd Street, and the Landmark NuWilshire (two screens), play art movies.

AMC Santa Monica 4
Broadway Criterion
From left to rigth and from top to bottom: AMC, Laemmle Monica 4, Broadway, Criterion.

The fate of traditional movieplexes

American movie theaters from the eighties were usually more than correct: rather large auditoriums with screens up to 40 to 50 feet, while the smaller auditoriums were decent, usually with Dolby Stereo sound, sometimes even digital sound. But these complexes hardly put up with the arrival of large modern multiplexes, offering larger screens, larger choices of movies and schedules, brighter and more friendly lobbies. And when it comes to older and smaller theaters, the choice is even easier...

Edwards Fontana 8 Edwards Towngate Moreno Valley (8 salles)
Two eight-screen theaters from the Edwards company: the Edwards Fontana 8 (left) and the Edwards Towngate Moreno Valley (right)

Most of these theaters are still open, but many close down when multiplexes are built nearby.

AMC Plaza 10 Puente Hills/AMC Puente Hills 20
In April of 1997, the AMC Puente Hills 20 (twenty screens) opened, and two older AMC theaters closed down, the Puente Mall 4 and the Plaza 10, each equipped with SDDS sound. Some pictures of the Plaza 10, which seemed to have a brighter future...

AMC Plaza 10 - Puente Hills AMC Plaza 10 - Puente Hills
AMC Plaza 10 - Puente Hills AMC Plaza 10 - Puente Hills
AMC Plaza 10 - Puente Hills AMC Plaza 10 - Puente Hills

AMC Puente Hills 20
The relief team: theAMC Puente Hills 20

Conclusion

Los Angeles was a birthplace for many movie palaces. Nowadays, after many changes, few palaces still exist, but they seem to be there to stay. More and more, multiscreen theaters are replaced by brand new multiplexes; love them or not, but viewing conditions have never been better, thanks to quality equipments, large screens, digital sound, room for the legs, stadium seating...

 

 

Acknowledgements :  Many thanks to : Chris Hood (Cinemapolis Anaheim Hills), Ray Mealey (Edwards 22 Ontario), and David Stowers (Century Stadium 25 Orange), who helped me a lot.

All pictures : Silver Screens © 1999.

AMC 6 Santa Ana Palm Springs Courtyard 10
AMC 6 Santa Ana
Metropolitan's Courtyard 10 Palm Springs

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