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I believe it is only the lobby that was demolished. If you look at the rear of the building on Google Street View, it’s still the same building in 2008 as it is in 2022, albeit with a different color scheme. It looks like they kept the majority of the existing building, but demolished the lobby portion. The sides of the building still retain architectural details from prior to its conversion into restaurant space. A “Historic Costa Mesa” mural, featuring a rendering of the theater as it appeared in 1963, was also added to the rear of the building’s exterior.
@DavidZornig: Sorry you had to wait for a late response here but it was mocked up as the Regent Theatre for “That Thing You Do!” (1996), where Old Towne Orange stood in for 1964 Erie, Pennsylvania. In the photo you shared, the adjacent building was adorned with a Woolworth sign – also a prop created for the film.
“Buena Park 8 closed in 1999; later replaced by a Krikorian megaplex.”
The UA Theater building itself is still there, currently occupied by a 24 Hour Fitness, while the Krikorian was built just to the southwest. The original theater entrance, as well as the geometric sculpture above it, still survives on the building’s eastern side.
They’re largely obscured by the 2000s-era Walmart that now occupies the land that formerly held the May Company/Fedco store and the theater parking lot, but nonetheless still visible from a narrow pedestrian path that runs between 24 Hour Fitness and Walmart. That rest of the former theater building has been updated to a more contemporary style in line with 24 Hour Fitness' brand standards, but for those that know where to look, some of that sweet, sweet kitschy ‘80s glory lives on.