Aero Theatre

1328 Montana Avenue,
Santa Monica, CA 90403

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Related Websites

American Cinematheque at the Aero Theatre (Official)

Additional Info

Architects: P.M. Woolpert

Functions: Movies (Classic), Movies (Foreign), Movies (Independent), Movies (Revival)

Styles: Streamline Moderne

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 323466FILM
Manager: 323466FILM

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News About This Theater

Aero Theatre

Built by the Donald Douglas Company in 1939, the 678-seat Aero Theatre was originally opened January 10, 1940 as a continuous 24-hour movie theatre for aircraft workers who worked in shifts around the clock. It later became a beloved neighborhood theatre and has anchored the now posh Montana Avenue section of Santa Monica.

In 2001, Robert Redford’s ill-fated Sundance Cinemas project was slated to take over the Aero Theatre, but pulled out after the bankruptcy of General Cinemas and its subsequent sale to AMC and it closed in April 2003. The Aero Theatre was the boyhood cinema of the famous actor/director.

In January 2005 with funding from Max Palevsky, the Max Palevsky Aero Theatre was reopened by the American Cinematheque after a $1 million dollar restoration including a new screen, sound and projection equipment, a new concession stand and reduced seating, from 678 to 425-seats. The screen is 44 feet wide and 17 feet high. The American Cinematheque also operates the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. Further renovations have been carried out in 2019 and again in 2021. It is equipped to screen 35mm & 70mm films and DCP.

Contributed by Cinema Treasures, Jason Axe, Ray Martinez

Recent comments (view all 63 comments)

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on December 16, 2011 at 8:59 am

It was mentioned early on in the comments here that the exterior of the Aero is seen in the movie “Get Shorty.” In that film, the characters portrayed by John Travolta and Rene Russo are seen watching the end of Orson Welles' “Touch of Evil” in this theater. I don’t know if those interior shots were also filmed at the Aero, but a good deal of the auditorium decor can be seen.

Danny Baldwin
Danny Baldwin on June 21, 2012 at 5:54 pm

Has been equipped with a 4K NEC projector with 3-D capability. Will run DCPs of the traditional classic fare all July…

Complete lowdown here

Ardith on September 1, 2013 at 3:40 am

Ahhh…The good old Aero where we kids used to sit scrunched down with our knees up against the seat in front, with an all day sucker watching the Saturday morning movies for 25 cents in 1952. And we have the dental fillings to prove it. Glad to see the joint is still there.

silver on March 11, 2016 at 11:30 pm

This American Cinematheque tweet has a photo from 1942, just 2 years after the Aero was built. Remarkably little has changed to the theatre’s exterior. Talk about a #tbt! Aero Theatre founder Donald Douglas & State Guard members in 1942 📷: Santa Monica History Museum

Marlon Martinez
Marlon Martinez on May 4, 2016 at 11:57 am

Robert Downey Jr. mentioned this theater on Howard Stern today. He said this is where he and Jon Favreau like to host screenings.

Flix70 on January 4, 2017 at 1:21 pm

Indiana Jones double bill at the Aero Saturday, Jan 21: “Raiders” & “Last Crusade.” Show starts at 7:30 p.m.

RogerA on March 27, 2017 at 5:05 pm

A friend of mine went to see 2001 in 70mm on Friday. He told me that the print didn’t look new. It looked like an older print. Anyone know anything about this?

CStefanic on April 13, 2017 at 3:23 pm

RogerA – In answer to your question, that WAS the same print that was screened last fall at “Beyond Fest”. The print itself is still stunning. What you probably heard about, was that the film grain isn’t as fine as it used to be – but that’s not the print – it’s the negative, or whatever source which the print was derived. That print was struck for AC specifically and all of us who are involved with AC stand by it.

dallasmovietheaters on June 13, 2021 at 7:25 pm

The Aero closed following the March 12, 2020 showings due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On June 10, 2021, it officially reopened with a special advance screening of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical “In The Heights” on June 10, 2021.

DavidZornig on February 3, 2023 at 2:22 pm

5 night February run of “Boogie Nights” in 70MM. First night World Premiere of first-ever 70MM print Sold Out.

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