Index Map Paramount Opéra

The Paramount Opéra

One Of The Last Giants (1/2)

1. Yesterday
2. Today

Paramount Opéra

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.

Paramount Opéra - the 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.

Paramount Opéra - the large single auditorium

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.

Paramount Opéra - the large single auditorium

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.

Paramount Opéra - the large single auditorium
At the beginning of the 70s, the seats were covered with beige leatherette.

Paramount Opéra - theater 3
Left, theater 3 during the 80s

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.

Paramount Opéra - the front in early 1980
Left, the front in early 1980

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.

Paramount Opéra - the front in the summer of 1987
Left, the front during the summer of 1987

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.

Paramount Opéra - salle 2 Paramount Opéra - salle 4
Theaters 2 (left) and 4 (right) were located side by side;
each had its own balcony, and they used the old projection booth of the old theater 2.

In 1992, the tea-room made room to a seventh, small auditorium.

Paramount Opéra - the lobby
The lobby didn't change a lot during the cinema's history, but today decorations hide the marble staircase; behind the box-office are the escalators and a souvenirs store.

Paramount Opéra - Fête du Cinéma
June, Friday 14th 1985, first "Fête Du Cinéma" in Paris (Buy one ticket, see all the movie you want everywhere during the day).
Like other large movie theaters, the Paramount is packed.


The Programs Have a look at some of the beautiful leaflets offered by the Paramount in the 30s...

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