US cinema database
August 23, 2010 2:50 PM   Subscribe

Where can I find a database of cinemas in the US, for use in a film website my brother is building?

My brother is building a film website where you can say what movies you've seen and where you saw them. He's trying to build a database of UK and USA cinemas to help with this. He's received permission to use a UK database from, but is struggling to find anything similar for the US and is reticent to start scraping each individual cinema chain website. Does anyone know of an existing source or have any smart ideas of where to start?"
posted by Gonnas to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: If he isn't, he ought to be searching for a US "movie theater" database, not "cinema" database.
posted by griphus at 2:52 PM on August 23, 2010

Note that if he wants to have any sort of scope to it (i.e. he wants people to be able to talk about movies from before Inception), he will need to consider places that have closed. has listings of, currently, 22,721 theatres in the US. Probably 90% of them are now closed -- some of them weeks ago, and some for decades.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:11 PM on August 23, 2010

Maybe he could work something out with the National Association of Theater Owners.
posted by carmicha at 3:34 PM on August 23, 2010

I work in independent repertory and art cinemas, and back when I was doing press for one of these under-the-radar places I was surprised how quickly websites like Fandango picked up on even our most obscure screenings (even when I wasn't sending them our calendar). I'm sure they're quite proprietary about their data, but it might be worth talking to them anyway (if you can figure out how).

Cinema Treasures is also a good resource, though as ricochet biscuit says its emphasis is on places that are long gone.
posted by bubukaba at 4:38 PM on August 23, 2010

As an outside the box solution, he could put together a script to fire zipcodes at and add the resulting theater lists to a database.
posted by jjb at 5:06 PM on August 23, 2010

Your two options are CinemaSource and Tribune Media Services. According to Seeking Alpha, Cinema Source is likely what powers Google Movies, and it is definitely what powers IMDb's showtimes.

Doing what jib describes would likely get you banned pretty quick.
posted by mkb at 6:54 PM on August 23, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone, for the excellent responses. The problem was resolved almost as soon as griphus pointed out that we should search for "movie theater" and not "cinema", but the links that followed were useful too.
posted by Gonnas at 12:21 PM on September 23, 2010

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