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San Jose Century Theaters closing March 30th

Old 03-15-14, 02:38 PM
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San Jose Century Theaters closing March 30th

http://blog.sfgate.com/stew/2014/03/...d-for-closure/

This REALLY hurts, as these were the theaters all of my early movie-going was at- I saw the original release of Star Wars here along with stuff like Pinocchio, Fantasia, Close Enounters and Superman. My "avatar" picture is the inside of one of them. The first of these in the complex opened in 1964 and was built with 3 projection booths for Cinerama although that was never used by the time it opened. I always loved the humongous screens and high dome ceilings, with surround speakers hidden.

The really ironic part is that in Sacramento (where I am now) two of these domes still exist and have had smaller screens added on to them over the years, but in the 70s both of the big domes were cut in half with a wall straight down the middle, just ruining them. Watching a movie that way is an agonizing experience and I haven't set foot in them in more than 20 years because of that. These should close before the two un-ruined ones in San Jose. Most new theaters have pathetically small screens, and even the "premium large" ones aren't that big, and the trend has also been to letterbox scope movies making them smaller and ruining the whole point of even shooting movies that way- the digital projection standard was pretty short-sighted as well. I think I'm ready to just swear off theaters now.

At least I happen to have the last week off so that I can go to one more movie here before they're gone- I think they're still running film, I don't even know if digital would look good at all on such large screens.
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Old 03-15-14, 06:40 PM
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Re: San Jose Century Theaters closing March 30th

My wife grew up in San Jose, so she was bummed to hear this. She spent a lot of time there.
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Old 03-15-14, 06:49 PM
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Re: San Jose Century Theaters closing March 30th



Had a feeling (eventually) the influence of Santana Row would get to that side of the street.

Probably didn't help that they were competing with the theater that is in Santana Row itself.
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Old 03-15-14, 07:10 PM
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Re: San Jose Century Theaters closing March 30th

I saw The Empire Strikes Back there back in the day. My friends and I had just finished a 12-hour shift at the weather center in Monterey, and drove up to San Jose to wait six hours in line to see the movie. I remember it was the first time I had ever been to an event where people actually dressed up like characters from a movie.
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Old 03-15-14, 07:45 PM
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Re: San Jose Century Theaters closing March 30th

Through the years, I've seen too many movies to count at the Century Theaters in San Jose.
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Old 03-16-14, 03:25 AM
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Re: San Jose Century Theaters closing March 30th

Probably didn't help that they were competing with the theater that is in Santana Row itself.
Never seen that theater, but I don't know how any typical cracker-box theater could compete with the domes. The company that ran them was getting obsessed with tearing down their older theaters and building new ones in their place though- in outer Sacramento we had the Cinedomes, which were 8 smaller domes built in the 80s, no comparison to these, but they knocked those down and built a new 16-screen theater that's pathetically small and all screens are common-width (top-down masking for scope movies.) There was an old one in Orange County that had the same fate.
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Old 03-16-14, 11:44 AM
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Re: San Jose Century Theaters closing March 30th

Originally Posted by Alan Smithee View Post
Never seen that theater, but I don't know how any typical cracker-box theater could compete with the domes. The company that ran them was getting obsessed with tearing down their older theaters and building new ones in their place though- in outer Sacramento we had the Cinedomes, which were 8 smaller domes built in the 80s, no comparison to these, but they knocked those down and built a new 16-screen theater that's pathetically small and all screens are common-width (top-down masking for scope movies.) There was an old one in Orange County that had the same fate.
It's a Cinearts theater. It's located at the end of Santana Row.

http://www.cinemark.com/theatre-deta...showtime_date=

It's been a while since I was in that area, but aren't the Cinedomes in Newark/Fremont still there even though the theater is closed?
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Old 03-16-14, 12:17 PM
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Re: San Jose Century Theaters closing March 30th

Not surprised as they were definitely old-school theaters, but yeah...



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Old 03-16-14, 01:01 PM
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Re: San Jose Century Theaters closing March 30th

Those pictures show the after-effect of the re-roofing. They originally had arrows and "starburst" designs on the roof, which I always thought were really cool, and they also had lights along the sides that lit up at night. The Sacramento domes still have the patterns on them at least, even though the insides of them are ruined.

The San Jose 23 dome was also cut in half, don't care if that one goes but they need to save the others.
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Old 03-16-14, 01:15 PM
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Re: San Jose Century Theaters closing March 30th

Damn, I would love to have checked this place out.
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Old 03-16-14, 04:09 PM
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Re: San Jose Century Theaters closing March 30th

So many memories...I live in Monterey County but we would often travel north to the Century domes to see the big "event" movies up there, especially in the 80's. I realize that times have changed but still...
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Old 03-16-14, 07:32 PM
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Re: San Jose Century Theaters closing March 30th

We had a Cinedome down here in Orange, and it was a great place to watch movies. It had two of the huge domes, a 3rd smaller dome, and then they added on 5 more standard screens (and later added 3 more for a final total of 11).

But there was something really special about seeing movies in the big domes, many of them in 70mm. My first movie there was The Naked Gun, though that wasn't in the dome. I think my first Dome movie was Major League. But the summer of '89 brought huge blockbuster after huge blockbuster week after week. What an amazing summer for films, and I saw most of them in those domes. I even got to see the Back To The Future trilogy back to back to back there (I think I still have the pin they handed out somewhere)

I think my last films I saw there were the special editions of Star Wars and Return Of The Jedi (I saw Empire at the FOX Westwood Village, another awesome theater). By the time I saw those, the writing was on the wall. Century built a 25 screen theater on the site of an old drive-in (where I saw Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and No Holds Barred) just a mile away, while AMC built a 30 screen theater just down the street. The Cinedome became a dollar theater for a brief time, before it was closed for good in 1998 (if it even lasted that long).

I remember driving past the closed theater several times and being saddened by the slow decay that came to the domes as they sat unused. Then one day they were just gone. Apartments now sit where the domes stood. I've seen quite a few movies at the AMC and Century, but it was never the same as the Cinedome.
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Old 03-16-14, 09:04 PM
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Re: San Jose Century Theaters closing March 30th

Originally Posted by Alan Smithee View Post
http://blog.sfgate.com/stew/2014/03/...d-for-closure/

This REALLY hurts, as these were the theaters all of my early movie-going was at- I saw the original release of Star Wars here along with stuff like Pinocchio, Fantasia, Close Enounters and Superman. My "avatar" picture is the inside of one of them. The first of these in the complex opened in 1964 and was built with 3 projection booths for Cinerama although that was never used by the time it opened. I always loved the humongous screens and high dome ceilings, with surround speakers hidden.

Same here...also saw Excalibur, Escape From New York and tons of other big summer movies there. The last time I actually saw a movie there was the SW SE release in '97.
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Old 03-17-14, 03:32 AM
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Re: San Jose Century Theaters closing March 30th

That is too bad. Definitely saw a fair share of movies there.
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Old 03-17-14, 07:27 AM
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Re: San Jose Century Theaters closing March 30th

Originally Posted by davidh777 View Post
Not surprised as they were definitely old-school theaters, but yeah...

I took that picture!
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Old 03-17-14, 12:45 PM
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Re: San Jose Century Theaters closing March 30th

While I used to work for a competing movie theater (AMC Oakridge Six, now defunct) back when I was a kid, there was never any doubt as to Century being the place for first-run blockbusters like THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, SUPERMAN II (the first movie premiered at Town and Country Theatres), and other epics. We would go to Bob's Big Boys across the parking lot before seeing the first matinee of any given movie back in the day. So long, Century!
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Old 03-17-14, 12:57 PM
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Re: San Jose Century Theaters closing March 30th

This talk of Bay Area theaters reminds me of The Oaks, where we used to go frequently, though it didn't have the blockbusters. But then my parents weren't into the blockbusters. That's why I saw stuff like Gorky Park and My Life as a Dog when I was a kid and still have to catch up on things like LadyHawke and The Goonies.

I forget how long The Gods Must Be Crazy ran at The Oaks but I'm sure it was like a year or two.

Originally Posted by Neeb View Post
I took that picture!
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Old 03-17-14, 01:16 PM
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Re: San Jose Century Theaters closing March 30th

Originally Posted by Neeb View Post
I took that picture!
When did you take that picture?
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Old 03-17-14, 02:18 PM
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Re: San Jose Century Theaters closing March 30th

There was a Century Theater dome theater in South San Francisco also but that closed just a few years ago. There's a newer Century multiplex across the street now.
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Old 03-17-14, 04:46 PM
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Re: San Jose Century Theaters closing March 30th

The only other theatre I liked going to besides Century was Cinema 150 on El Camino in Sunnyvale. That one was just as huge and I remember seeing Close Encounters and RoTJ there. I believe they closed that one, too.





http://cinerama.topcities.com/150ua.htm

Last edited by mrhan; 03-17-14 at 04:59 PM.
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Old 03-17-14, 11:25 PM
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Re: San Jose Century Theaters closing March 30th

Hey, that was printed exactly 6 years before I was born! There was a Cinema 150 in Sacramento, later re-named the Crestview Cinema. I heard it played porno movies for a while, that must have been something to see. It was later a live theater but then had a fire and was torn down. These are the sort of theaters that should be built now though, as screens that big are still not practical for the home. Most new theaters aren't much bigger than what I have at home and not worth going out for.

Although the Century's closing is pretty much a done deal, there's a petition to at least keep them from being torn down and continue on as theaters in one way or another, if anyone wants to sign:

http://www.change.org/petitions/save...nchester-domes
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Old 03-18-14, 12:44 AM
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Re: San Jose Century Theaters closing March 30th

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Old 03-18-14, 01:06 AM
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Re: San Jose Century Theaters closing March 30th

Originally Posted by mrhan View Post
The only other theatre I liked going to besides Century was Cinema 150 on El Camino in Sunnyvale. That one was just as huge and I remember seeing Close Encounters and RoTJ there. I believe they closed that one, too.





http://cinerama.topcities.com/150ua.htm
Nice work mrhan.

Oh yeah. I remember Cinema 150 very well. A first class theater experience. I saw Close Encounters here on opening day in 1977, several midnight screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and many, many other movies
at this establishment. This was, for my money, the best theater in the South Bay during it's heyday.
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Old 03-18-14, 02:56 AM
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Re: San Jose Century Theaters closing March 30th

Originally Posted by Krayzie View Post
When did you take that picture?
Early April 2011.
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Old 03-18-14, 11:28 AM
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Re: San Jose Century Theaters closing March 30th

Originally Posted by JumpCutz View Post
Nice work mrhan.

Oh yeah. I remember Cinema 150 very well. A first class theater experience. I saw Close Encounters here on opening day in 1977, several midnight screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and many, many other movies
at this establishment. This was, for my money, the best theater in the South Bay during it's heyday.
Damn! I was there that day, too! I was also there at the first showing of RoTJ.

On a side note I remember El Camino Real also had a bunch of really good comic stores from San Tomas all the way to S. San Francisco. I used to hit them all. Sadly, they're all gone now except for one or two. Plus, remember when everyone use to cruise El Camino? I guess it's illegal now. Almost everything from my youth has disappeared.
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