The Paramount Opéra
One Of The Last Giants (1/2)
Located in Paris, near the Opéra, at the intersection of Boulevard des Capucines and Rue de la Chaussée d'Antin, the "Théâtre Du Vaudeville" was built between 1866 and 1868. In 1927, the building was remodelled, and the Paramount took the place of the theater; the cinema was inaugurated November 24, 1927. The theater had 1918 seats on three levels. It played the movie "Chang" on its screen.
The first version of the screen. Note the distortion at the top of the screen, a consequence of the very steep angle of the projection.
The new theater had continuous showings in 1928 (this came from the United States; fewer and fewer theaters still do it in Paris today), the first show starting in the morning. Some of the most prestigious premieres took place in the auditorium, with the most famous names at the time.
In 1972, an auditorium was built in the basement, replacing artists' dressing rooms and an electric generator. It was named theater 1. The large auditorium was still unchanged at this time.
At the beginning of the 70s, the seats were covered with beige leatherette.
In 1974, the large auditorium followed the fate of most of movie palaces and was twinned. With the help of a concrete slab, the orchestra and the first balcony became a two-level auditorium with 1,100 seats, and the second balcony became theater 3, with 900 seats, which burned down before its inauguration.
Later in the 70s, auditoriums were becoming smaller and smaller. The Paramount got some room from a nearby bakery and a yougoslavian travel agency (which moved across the street in a part of the building of the Berlitz school formerly owned by the Paramount in exchange!). Two small auditoriums opened in 1975, theaters 5 and 6, which had their own entrance and box-office Rue de la Chaussée D'Antin.
Unlike the other Paramount theaters in Paris (Paramount Elysées, Paramount City Triomphe, Paramount Gobelins, Paramount Montparnasse, Paramount Orléans, Paramount Montmartre, Paramount Odéon...), which were part of the Parafrance circuit, and which usually played the same movies, the Paramount Opéra is owned by Paramount. When Parafrance went bankrupt in 1985, only the Paramount Opéra kept its name, while other Paramount theaters closed down or were sold.
As medium-sized auditoriums became fast money-makers, theater 2 was twinned again in 1978, when a wall was built in the auditorium, and two smaller auditoriums were born, each with a balcony. Left was theater 2 (600 seats), which used two thirds of the volume, whereas theater 4 (400 seats) was on the right. Theater had a rather decent volume, but its 35ft screen was too high, and slightly turned sideways, because the projection booth, common to both auditoriums, had been unchanged. Theater 4 looked like a long corridor, it had a 30 ft screen. Theater 3 became the complexe's largest auditorium.
In 1992, the tea-room made room to a seventh, small auditorium.|
The Programs Have a look at some of the beautiful leaflets offered by the Paramount in the 30s...