RKO National Twin

1500 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

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Showing 76 - 100 of 104 comments

DonRosen on February 1, 2005 at 1:19 pm


I have a number of exterior shots of the National Twin. Titles on the marquee: Buffy: the Vampire Slayer; Unlawful Entry; Twins; Home Alone. What is your e-mail address?

jays on January 17, 2005 at 8:31 am

DOn can you e-mail me some photos of the national primarily if you got an interior photo of theattre 2

DonRosen on December 27, 2004 at 6:33 pm

I have quite a few photos of the National. If I can figure how to post ‘em, I will.

Michael Furlinger
Michael Furlinger on September 22, 2004 at 4:47 am

The exterior of the NATIONAL is in many movies ,will post the names as i find them..

Michael Furlinger
Michael Furlinger on September 22, 2004 at 4:46 am

I dont have any pics of this theater (never took pics stupid now that i think about it)

umbaba on August 26, 2004 at 2:11 pm

longislandmovies….might you have any pictures from the National that show the theaters interior or exterior?? would love to see them?

Michael Furlinger
Michael Furlinger on August 25, 2004 at 6:45 am

i have so many fond memories of this theater as i managed and was district manager for this house.Standing out on the marquee at new years eve watching the ball drop and the thanksgiving day parade perfect hight for the balloons.

RobertR on August 9, 2004 at 10:28 pm

I remember AMC publicly announcing the new theatre years before it opened, but I am not sure about Loews. It all seemed so strange the way the state opened and was doomed from the start.

theatrefan on August 9, 2004 at 7:19 pm

Thanks dave-bronx,

I remember rignt after it closed being shocked, I wonder if theatre chains also knew about the forthcoming Ewalk-Empire duo of 38 movie screens a few blocks away. The Criterion closed rignt after the Empire opened, pretty soon so will the State.

dave-bronx™ on August 9, 2004 at 5:47 pm

No, I think this was in the works before the merger, because ABC started construction in there fairly quickly after the National closed. For the amount of work that was done there, it would have been a long planning process with the architects and engineers, and another long process with the Dept. of Buildings for permits and approvals.

theatrefan on August 9, 2004 at 2:55 pm

Thanks dave-bronx,

Still have the old pacer-cats type ticket stub with the RKO Century Warner Logo on it. To finish this story, Cineplex Odeon wound up buying them in 1986 along with the Walter Reade Chain for their entry into the NYC market, they merged with Loews Theatres in 1998 and had to sell off a bunch of the theatres to Cablevision’s Cleaview Cinemas in NYC, almost all of the theatres they sold off were the old former RKO & Walter Reade locations. Could the National also have been closed prior to the merger to comply with the DOJ anti-trust guidelines?

dave-bronx™ on August 9, 2004 at 2:37 am

It was the other way around – Almi/Century bought RKO-SW from Pacific in 1981, and called it RKO Century Warner. The National had been transferred to RKO from Cinema 5 under Pacific’s ownership of both. Later, in about 1985 RKO-CW bought Cinema 5 from Pacific, except for Cinema I & II (they had a management agreement on that one) and it eventually became the nucleus of City Cinemas.

theatrefan on August 9, 2004 at 12:12 am


Do you by any chance know what year RKO Stanley Warner took over the Century Theatres Chain? I know it was sometime in the early 70’s but I’m trying to get an exact year, thanks!

dennisczimmerman on August 8, 2004 at 10:40 pm

The National Theatre was opened in Dec. 1972 by Mann Theatres. In 1978 Cinema 5 Theatres took over. In 1981, Cinema 5 theatres were taken over by RKO/Century/Almi Theatres. Cineplex Odeon took over RKO theatres in 1986. The theatre originally had 1,445 seats. It was closed for twinning on Jan. 4, 1982. Reopened as the RKO National Twin on 3/19/82. National closed again on 4/19/87 for remodeling. This is the time they triplexed it without landlords permission. Reopened as the Cineplex Odeon National Twin on June 12, 1987. Closed as a theatre the end of 1997 or Jan. 1998, if my theatre notes are correct.

Mikeoaklandpark on August 8, 2004 at 8:25 pm

The theater was origianlly twined in the late 70’s not 1989 as it says above. I think the twin happened when RKO took over the theater.

dave-bronx™ on August 8, 2004 at 8:47 am

I think the National closed shortly before the merger, though I could be wrong, I don’t recall us being involved with the National.

jays on August 8, 2004 at 8:12 am

Rhett. they used the exterior theatre and the interior was filmed in a studio. In the response to Dave’s comment thanks for the info. I didn’t know when they were renovating that they were going to triplex it thank god they didn’t it would have been terrible although who knows it might have stayed open a little longer. When It reopenend in 1987 it opeon with “Predator” in both cinemas as well as across the street at the former Rialto theatre renamed the warner theatre in tribute to the Warner twin up the street which was demolished ealier or later that year. to me having them play in so many theatres in the same area was overkill but the National and the Warner at the time were both operated by Cineplex Odeon. One week later the horror thriller “the Believers” with Martin Sheen went upstairs to thetre 2 and “predator remained downstairs and across the street at the Warner. When Loew’s merged with Cineplex Odeon they did it again by showing the 1997 sci-fi film "Event Horizon” there and at the Astor Plaza at either the same time or as a move over. to each. I saw it at the National it was good the sound and every thing but I really wished I saw it at the Astor plz.

dave-bronx™ on August 6, 2004 at 10:26 am

When Mann’s left New York in the late-70s, their theatres including the National were taken over by Cinema 5 Ltd. who twinned it. Shortly after, it was transferred over to RKO (Cinema 5 and RKO were both owned by Pacific Theatres at that time) since Cinema 5 was primarily an art-house operation, and in those days a Times Square crowd was definately not in keeping with Cinema 5’s operation.

With the National’s last renovation, by Cineplex in about 1987, they divided the lower theatre in half making it a triplex. The finishing touches were being put in place, pink neon lit, ersatz marble floors polished, bookings finalized, and two days before opening day the landlord showed up. Cineplex had neglected to get his permission to divide the lower theatre, and the landlord got a court order to make them rip the place apart and put it back to 2 theatres, delaying the reopening by a few weeks.

umbaba on June 22, 2004 at 2:57 pm

I remember (from the advertisements) Poseidon Adventure premiered there and in 74, so dod Towering Inferno, advertised in 70MM 6-track. Some discrepancies on the twinning dates though. The only film I ever saw there was Al Pacino’s flop “Revolution” in 1985. I believe (not 100% sure) that it was in the bottom theater, it was shown in 70MM 6 track, and I guess because of all that as well as the hype about how awful it was, my expectations being low…I really enjoyed it..Believe it or not…must’ve been the 70MM.

I would have loved to frequent the theater more but I’m in NJ. I always remember coming upon Times Square and I always loved the marquee. It was a shame that it went to hell, with lousy flicks and bad upkeep.

Is it true that the finale of “Last Action Hero” was filmed in the national?

br91975 on June 22, 2004 at 1:02 am

The final two films to be screened at the National Twin – ‘Home Alone 3’ and the Tim Allen-Kirstie Alley-starrer, ‘For Better or Worse’ – reflected in a nutshell the mostly 20th Century Fox and Universal product the National showed during its run as a Cineplex Odeon house.

jays on March 25, 2004 at 5:54 am

it was a huge cinema even as a twin.

peterdamian on March 24, 2004 at 11:01 pm

I remember seeing “Suspiria” there in 1977. It was Mann’s National at the time, and as I recall, it was the only, or one of very few Mann Theaters in New York. The marquee was distinctive, fashioned from black metal with black, candle-like light fixtures extended up off the top in a wavy pattern like a roller-coaster silhouette. I think I saw “The Black Hole” there, too, and “Alien.” I believe “Snuff” opened there as well, a fake snuff film. The distributor paid women actors to picket the movie under the marquee when it opened, to try and build some contraversy. It was a good, big, dark theater. “The Poseidon Adventure” had its world premiere there in 1972.

jays on February 20, 2004 at 5:43 pm

Yeah William, just like the National that’s how the closings begin with films and presentaions that are just of fair then all of a sudden the immediate closing no warning. I loved the National just as I do the Astor which the countdown to it’s demise has already begun.

William on February 20, 2004 at 2:44 am

I was in the National a few times to see films and the presentations were just of fair. Like what the Astor Theatre is doing now.