Waikiki 3

2284 Kalakaua Avenue,
Honolulu, HI 96815

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Showing 51 - 69 of 69 comments

Patsy on February 17, 2005 at 4:59 pm

vito: Have to ask…….do you have any ghost stories from being a lonely projectionists?

ErikH on February 17, 2005 at 3:44 pm

The Waikiki complex was a great place to see a movie (#3 in particular had a lot of charm), and it’s a shame that the theaters couldn’t survive. The reason given by Consolidated was that the theaters didn’t attract much tourist traffic and residents preferred the new megaplexes (Dole Cannery and Ward Stadium) that were easier to access and offered better and cheaper parking options.

Note that the IMAX theater located next to the Waikiki closed in the summer of 2003 and remains vacant. I saw “The Matrix Reloaded” at the IMAX, which turned out to be the final attraction there. Consolidated’s reason for the closure: the location was unpopular with residents (traffic and parking hassles) and the IMAX attracted insufficient tourist business.

Vito on February 17, 2005 at 2:38 pm

From the Honolulu Star-Bulletin

A Los Angeles developer said it is ready to begin its $10 million retail remake of the Waikiki 3 Theatre site on Kalakaua Avenue.

Robertson Properties Group will begin razing the popular Waikiki landmark in the next few weeks to make way for a 30,000-square-foot shopping center dubbed the Center of Waikiki.

The two-story complex will include a 6,300-square-foot Whaler’s Market, a 5,500-square Foot Locker athletic-wear outlet and a 7,000-square-foot California Pizza Kitchen.

“This is a premier location in the heart of the Waikiki shopping and entertainment district,” said Greg Swedelson, vice president for Robertson Properties Group. “It has an unparalleled customer base, with foot traffic on Kalakaua exceeding 25,000 people per day.”

Robertson Properties is the land development division of Los Angeles-based Pacific Theatres. Pacific Theatres is the parent of Consolidated Theatres, which owns the Waikiki property.

The Waikiki 3 evolved from the original Waikiki Theatre, built in 1936 during Hollywood’s golden age. The original theater gained fame for its white-palace decor, wide staircases and carp ponds. It also was well known for its cinema organ, which piped in live preshow and intermission music for moviegoers.

Karen Diehl, a spokeswoman for Robertson Properties, said that the center will retain its popular Waikiki Theatres sign. The sign will be taken down and refurbished during the construction and will be returned to the site when the project is completed in spring 2006.

Vito on February 17, 2005 at 7:33 am

Patsy, thanks for the kind words. #3 had a small room attached to the main projection booth where I could sit and listen to the crowd react with laughter when the movie was funny, and screams when it was frightning. It was a lonely job up there all alone, but it sure had it’s rewards as well

Patsy on February 16, 2005 at 10:00 am

It’s always fun to read comments and personal thoughts from projectionists throughout the country because without their dedication none of us would have seen many of the movie classics of years gone by. So sorry to read that #3 is gone now, but the memories will remain forever!

Vito on February 16, 2005 at 7:17 am

I Worked as a projectionist at all three Waikiki theatres, but #3 was the most enjoyable. I loved showing movies there to the huge saturday night crowds, with John at the organ during intermission.
Goodbye #3

GordonEvans on February 16, 2005 at 1:56 am

I have visited Honolulu six or seven times since 1988 but I only went to the movies once in Waikiki 2. The cinema was bland and did not impress me; what did was the size of popcorn serves but Australia has caught up now! I had no idea what I was missing around the corner in Waikiki 3 until I read about it in “MARQUEE” the journal of the Theatre Historical Society of America,of which I am a member. Who needs another Footlocker? I hope that color photos of Waikiki 3 will be published some day, MARQUEE was in black and white.

Gordon Evans

howell on February 16, 2005 at 12:31 am

Wow that is one amazing theatre, pretty interesting how the Brenkert machine displayed all those effects. Too bad theatres of today dont have such a a unique appeal like the Waikiki. Why cant it remain viable to stay in business ??? With all the musicians and actors out there flaunting there fabulous lifestyles, its hard to imagine some of them dont get involved in restoring these landmarks…

Patsy on January 9, 2005 at 10:14 pm

Sadly, “was” in Hawaii!

Patsy on January 9, 2005 at 10:12 pm

I had to add this one to my favorites just because IT’S IN HAWAII!

haoleboy on April 8, 2004 at 7:57 pm

Just returned from Oahu and saw what’s left of this grand old theater. Hadn’t been there since the early 50s when I lived in Waikiki for a year or so. I remember a mile-long path through gorgeous gardens leading from the ticket booth to a mile-high theater with a two-mile high balcony. At least that’s the way it seemed at the time. I recall trying to convince the ticket person once that I was 12 years old, thereby eligible for a cheaper ticket—probably something like 25 cents. The ticket person wasn’t convinced and asked when I was born. I wasn’t prepared for such a trick question and blurted out something like “1950.” I knew it was the wrong answer and figured I’d have to go to jail or something but instead I was allowed to enter after paying full price—probably 50 cents or so. I’m not sure, but I think the movie I saw that day was that first 3D movie, the jungle one, with the spears coming right out of the screen at your special 3D glasses.

MHWarner on March 24, 2004 at 9:52 am

Robertson Properties has IMMEDIATE plans to demolish the landmark
Waikiki Theatre to add yet another tourist trinket market to
the area. Robertson Properties is a subsidiary of Pacific Theatres in California. Strange, there is a Pacific Theatres that is a subsidiary of DISNEY. DISNEY has always prided themselves in preserving landmark theatres. They did a fantastic job with the
New Amsterdam Theatre, Times Square, New York. They did wonders with their properties in Hollywood. Is the Pacific Theatres that owns Robertson Properties the same Pacific Theatres that DISNEY owns?
Is DISNEY ordering demolition of a landmark theatre?????
M. H. Warner

sdoerr on November 14, 2003 at 4:26 pm

Thanks for the link Bob, what a unique and nicely themed auditorium! Such a shame….

Jake on October 11, 2003 at 12:41 am

I have been at the famous Waikiki 3 theater both when it had its lucious palm trees and when they closed and reopened which I remember the movie Superman 3 was the new movie that just came out then. The center of the theater was the choice place to be at and I remember when I went to see Interview With The Vampire that the theater was jammed packed. It’s sad that All 3 theaters had to go. I do hope that someone will take a second try at opening another theater in Waikiki.

BobAlder on October 7, 2003 at 2:24 pm

Please see this webpage View link for correct information about the history of this theatre. The photo you show has no connection with the Waikiki (#3) Theatre.

RonBay on January 16, 2003 at 1:38 pm

The neat thing about this place was it was close to the ‘Key (Waikiki). Saw Hitchcock’s “The Birds” there. Had a little deja vu’ scare as I came out and a mynah bird was standing looking into the doorway on the side!!! Haha. Great memories of my 13 years stationed in Pearl.

BCarpenter on December 26, 2002 at 1:23 pm

I was a Consolidated projectionist in the 70’s and worked in every theater on Oahu at the time. I loved working at the old Waikiki Theater. On Friday and Saturday nights I ran a spotlight on the theater organist (I think his name was John DeMello) and ran the cloud projection equipment. What a beautiful old theater, a unique combination of Hawaiian and art deco themes. The foyer contained a fish pond with the autographs of film stars etched into metal around the four sides.

HawaiiStories on November 22, 2002 at 6:29 pm

Consolidated Theatres, Inc., announced abruptly on No. 20, 2002 that it was shuttering all three Waikiki screens, including the venerable Waikiki 3. Employees were told at 6 p.m. that they’d be working at other company theaters the next day. The owners say the Waikiki Theaters had been losing money for some time now, especially since the opening of the 16-screen megaplex at Ward.

ScottB on November 2, 2001 at 9:27 pm

I was once employed at this theatre. What is now the Waikiki 3 Theatre opened in 1936 as a single screen atmospheric theatre. It was complete with (among other things) an artificial rainbow, tropical vegetation and coconut trees. Artificial clouds were also projected on a midnight-blue curved ceiling. The theatre was originally named the Waikiki Theatre with the change in name (to Waikiki Theatre #3) occurring in 1969 when the Waikiki Theatres #1 & 2 opened. There has never been any physical connection between the buildings. The Waikiki 3 remains a single screen facility. The photo that’s showing in this listing is incorrect…it is of the Waikiki 1 & 2. The Waikiki 3 was never a “Super Cinerama” format house.