Where to go to see the late night double feature picture show.
April 28, 2010 1:29 PM   Subscribe

When and where was the last new single-screen cinema built?

Fifty years ago cinemas were essentially all one screen in one building in the downtown core. Now new cinema construction (at least in my North American part of the world) is invariably out in the suburbs with an eighteen- or twenty-two- or twenty-six-screen megaplex surrounding by a vast plain of parking. When and where was the last new, purpose-built single-screen cinema opened? Ideally I am looking for an example in an urban core, but anything will do.
posted by ricochet biscuit to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The building was originally a Shriners' hall, but the Moolah here in St. Louis is pretty fuckin' rad. The floor is a bunch of large leather couches. There's some inclined seats and a balcony.
posted by notsnot at 1:38 PM on April 28, 2010

There are plenty of single-screen cinemas still being built in places like India and in African countries. You'll need to define the geographical bounds better to get a good answer.
posted by peacheater at 1:39 PM on April 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

The original Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas was a single-screen theater built in what used to be a parking garage in 1997.
posted by burnmp3s at 1:45 PM on April 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Do those 'Dinner and a Movie' places count, it seems like those are relativley new.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 2:00 PM on April 28, 2010

Response by poster: I was thinking North America (and Europe). I am explicitly not asking about converted Shriners' Halls and parking garages -- these are interesting, but what I am looking for is the last time that somebody built a movie theatre the way every movie theatre was built 60 years ago.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:03 PM on April 28, 2010

So you're talking more like a "movie palace"? Where the building is built specifically for cinema, yes?

Does it still have to be standing today?

Does it still have to be in operation?
posted by FlamingBore at 3:09 PM on April 28, 2010

I think what ricochet biscuit is asking is to find out when the last single screen movie theater was built, versus a movie theater with multiple screens.

A quick glance shows that this single screen theater was built in 1947.
posted by Atreides at 3:30 PM on April 28, 2010

We just got one here in downtown Gloucester, MA last year or two years ago. It's call the Cape Ann Community Cinema. But it was built into an existing space, so I don't think it's what you want.
posted by kpht at 3:32 PM on April 28, 2010

Response by poster: I would prefer it still to be standing and in operation (I can't imagine that a place built more recently than the majority of single screen places would have been shuttered and/or torn down already).

And yes, if I have somehow not been clear enough, I am not looking for multi-screen places or for theatres converted from garages, aircraft hangars, basketball arenas, stables, indoor golf ranges, aerodromes, bowling alleys, indoor frolf courses, etc.

1947 is not especially new; I worked in my misspent youth in a single-screen place built in 1968, and I am sure that was not the last one built in North America.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:48 PM on April 28, 2010

The Library of Congress's newly-built (2007) Packard Campus in Culpeper, VA features a beautiful theater. It's one of the few cinemas in the country that's equipped to screen nitrate prints.
posted by Awkward Philip at 4:55 PM on April 28, 2010

I don't know anything about the theater, including whether it's a single screen or not (my guess is yes) but it may not qualify for you as it's part of the Universal Studios entertainment complex - BUT the Wikipedia page on Movie Palaces lists the Universal Palace Theater as having been constructed in 2009.

If all else fails maybe consider contacting the folks at cinematreasures.org
posted by FlamingBore at 9:37 AM on April 29, 2010

Best answer: the downtown independent in downtown los angeles is an almost entirely new single-screen theater that opened as the imaginasian theater in late 2007. it took the place of the linda lea theater, which was an existing single-screen theater. from what i remember of the construction, they did actually preserve one or two of the linda lea's exterior brick walls (and probably re-used the foundation), but it is otherwise all new construction.
posted by jimw at 11:47 AM on April 29, 2010

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