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Santa Monica Theatres: an overview

Welcome to the Santa Monica Theatre Tour!

This is very much a work in progress so you'll find that many of the links take you to pages on the separate Movie Palaces Along Wilshire Blvd. site.

If you're looking for Venice or Ocean Park theatres, they'll eventually be here. But for now you'll find them on a separate Venice and Ocean Park page of the [more] Los Angeles Movie Palaces site.

Aero Theatre
1328 Montana Ave.

The 425 seat house opened in 1939, a design of  P.M. Woolpert.  After a $1 million rehab the theatre is now run by American Cinematheque and offers almost daily changes of program including lots of classics. New projection and sound equipment includes 70mm capability. For more information see the page on the Aero Theatre.

AMC Broadway 4 / Elmiro
1441 3rd. St. Promenade

It opened in 1934 as the Elmiro Theatre, a design of Norman W. Alpaugh. Only the facade of the original 900 seat theatre remains. Cineplex Odeon put a 1,200 seat 4 plex in a new mixed use building constructed in the 80s. It's now operated by AMC.  It's also been known as the Loew's Elmiro, Cine Latino, Cinema on the Mall and variations on the Broadway 4 name used by Cineplex Odeon, Loew's, and AMC. For more information see the page on the AMC Broadway 4.

Bay Theatre
15140 W. Sunset Blvd.  Pacific Palisades

This design by S. Charles Lee opened in 1949 with 1,100 seats. It got twinned in 1972 and closed in 1978. The building is now a hardware store. For more information see the page on the Bay Theatre.

Brentwood Twin Theatre
2524 Wilshire Blvd. 

This building had started as a bowling alley and was converted into a 600 seat twin theatre in the 70s. It was an independent operation running second run double features. It was also known as the Brentwood I & II. Cineplex Odeon operated the venue for a while in the 80s as a first run house. They exited after opening their new Broadway 4 on the 3rd St. Promenade and competition increased from other nearby complexes. For more information see the page on the Brentwood Twin.

Bundy Theatre
3414 Pico Blvd. 

This was a 900 seat S. Charles Lee design that opened in 1941. The theatre's name came from the location just west of Bundy Blvd. In the 40s the theatre was open until 5 am to cater to late workers at the nearby aircraft plants. The Bundy was operated by Fox West Coast and its successor, National General Corporation. It closed in 1963 -- the site is now under the I-10. For more information see the listing for the Bundy Theatre.

Criterion Theatre
1313 3rd. St. Promenade

The 1,200 seat theatre opened in 1924 and was run for decades by the Fox West Coast circuit and, later, Mann Theatres. The theatre, except for its distinctive facade, was demolished in 1983 for construction of a new 1,600 seat 6 plex. AMC acquired the venue in 2010. It closed in March 2013 and the space was converted to retail. For more information see the page on the Criterion Theatre.

Hitching Post Theatre
1448 4th St.

It was opened in the mid 40s by ABC Theatres, one of 5 theatres eventually opened under the Hitching Post name. The venues typically offered double features of westerns. "Check your Guns at the Box Office." The ABC circuit later abandoned the westerns and in the early 50s turned the theatre into an art house, the Riviera Theatre. The 600 seat theatre was running as late as 1952.   Closing date is unknown. It's been demolished. For more information see the page on the Hitching Post.

La Petite Theatre
1434 3rd St.

The La Petite Theatres migrated through several locations both in downtown Santa Monica and in Ocean Park from 1907 through 1923. In 1909 it became the Dreamland Theatre. It was later known as the Lyric Theatre. The location was converted to retail by 1919. For more information see the page on the La Petite Theatre.

Mayfair Theatre
214 Santa Monica Blvd.

It opened as the Santa Monica Opera House in 1911, a design of Henry C. Hollwedel. It soon became known as the Majestic Theatre. The 602 seat house (including a balcony) became the Mayfair in 1967. It suffered damage in the 1994 Northridge earthquake and closed. In 2010 the building was demolished with only the 1928 vintage facade remaining. The new building has retail on the ground floor and apartments above. For more information see the page on the Mayfair Theatre.

Monica Film Centre
1332 2nd St.

It opened in 1970 as the Monica Twin. The larger theatre was then split into three small theatres resulting in Laemmle's Monica 4. Renovations in 2014-15 resulted in 6 smaller auditoria and two restaurant spaces. It was built and is still operated by the Laemmle circuit, thriving as Santa Monica's premiere showcase for foreign and specialized releases. Stanley Borbals designed the original building. As a 4-plex it sat 1,076. It only has 372 total after the 6-plex renovations. For more information see the page on the Monica Film Centre.

North Beach Auditorium
North Beach -- just north of the present pier

The venue opened in 1901 as part of the complex that included the bathhouse that had opened in 1894. Closing date is unknown.  For more information see the page on the North Beach Auditorium.

Nu Wilshire Theatre
1314 Wilshire Blvd.

The theatre was opened in 1931 by Fox West Coast as the Wilshire, a design of John Montgomery Cooper with 1,189 seats.  It was twinned in the 1970's (down the middle) by Mann Theatres. The last operator of the 624 seat twin was Landmark Theatres. It closed in November 2007 and was converted to retail space. For more information see the page on the NuWilshire Theatre.

Ocean Park Theatres

The 25 or so theatres that were in the Venice and Ocean Park pier areas will show up here eventually. But for now you'll find them surveyed on a separate Venice and Ocean Park page of the [more] Los Angeles Movie Palaces site.

Orpheum Theatre
1511 3rd St.

The Orpheum Theatre in Santa Monica was open from at least March 1909 through 1912. For more information see the page on the Orpheum.

Pussycat Theatre
1442 2nd St.

The Pussycat Theatre was a former garage converted to a theatre in the early 70s. It ran porno under the management of Vincent Miranda's Walnut Properties. It had a brief spell in 1995 under a short sub-lease as the Asia, an art house. Then the porno returned. It closed in 1998 after the building was purchased by a local developer. The building has been gutted and was used as a restaurant, Buca Di Beppo. In 2016 they were gone and the building got a remodel again.  For more information see the page on the Pussycat.
AMC Santa Monica 7
1310 3rd. St. Promenade

It opened in the 1990s and seats 2,100 on 3 levels. 2 theatres are in the basement, 2 on the main floor and 3 smaller auditoria are upstairs.  It currently runs first-run films on its 7 screens. For more information see the page on the Santa Monica 7.

Santa Monica Civic Auditorium
1855 Main Street

It's a Welton Becket design that opened in 1958. The floor is adjustable from flat to sloped. It seats 3,000 when in concert format. The City of Santa Monica closed it in 2013 and wants to tear it down instead of giving it an expensive upgrade. But they're looking for ideas. For more information see the page on the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium.

Steere's Opera House
N.E. corner 3rd. St. & Broadway

It opened in 1887 and was also known as the Santa Monica Opera House. At the time, Broadway was called Utah St. This hall was on the second floor of a two story brick building. Seating capacity was 500. It was still in use as late as 1909. The closing date is unknown. It's been demolished. For more information see the page on Steere's Opera House.

Venice Theatres

The Fox Venice and many theatres near the beach will eventually be included here. At the moment you'll still find them on a separate Venice and Ocean Park page of the [more] Los Angeles Movie Palaces site.

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