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Opened: April 5, 1972 as the ABC City Theatres. It was initially a twin cinema with the two being advertised as ABC City Theatre One and ABC City Theatre Two. "Cabaret" was the initial attraction in the big house. in 1973 it was being advertised as the Century City 1 & 2.
The theatres, also known as the Century Plaza Twin and the ABC Century Plaza, were part of the ABC Entertainment Center with the City Theatres on the south side of a central plaza and the Shubert Theatre on the north.
When ABC sold their theatre circuit (what was left of Paramount Publix) to Henry Plitt the twin became known as the Plitt Century Plaza Theatres. The 1978 photo above is from the collection of Robert Juzefsky and appeared on Vintage Los Angeles. At the Plitt Theatres: "House Calls" and "Star Wars." The photo also appears on Cinema Treasures.
The theatres were a favorite for trade screenings. Filmex used the theatres for their festivals in the late 70s and early 80s. Both houses were equipped for 70mm. The big one got an installation of the HPS-4000 sound system in 1984, when the theatre was still run by Plitt.
In the late 80s Cineplex Odeon took over and triplexed the big house. The larger of the three chunks kept 70mm capability and the HPS-4000 sound system. The two smaller portions ended up with 35mm HPS-4000 systems.
The 800 seater (that had been the little house in the twin days) was refitted for THX. The complex finished its days with a total of 2,000 seats and was advertised as the Cineplex Odeon Century Plaza 4.
Architect: Henry George Greene
Seating: Initially as a twin it had 1,424 in the big house and 800 in the little one.
A look to the rear of the big house -- when it was still big. Thanks to Bill Gabel for the photo, a contribution of his on Cinema Treasures.
Status: Closed in 2003 and demolished in 2004. The Shubert has also been demolished. There's a new twin tower complex on the site.
The Century Plaza Theatres in the Movies:
We see the theatres in the Gilbert Cates film "Oh, God! Book II" (Warner Bros., 1980). See the Theatres In Movies post for two more shots from the film. Thanks to Jonathan Raines for the screenshot. The film stars George Burns, Suzanne Pleshette and David Birney.
A 2003 view of the just-closed theatre's entrance taken by Mark Campbell. That's part of a dead mall area underneath. The photo appears on the Cinema Tour page about the theatres. The page has twelve more 2003 photos (including some interior views) by Mark Campbell and Scott Neff.
More information: See the Cinema Treasures page for lots of discussion and a few more photos.
The website From Script To DVD has a page on the Century Plaza as part of their section on 70mm equipped theatres in Los Angeles.
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