Cinema East

4177 E. Broad Street,
Columbus, OH 43213

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Mark_L on September 4, 2020 at 8:01 am

70mm Movies at Cinema East (Number in parentheses is number of weeks it ran)

10/13/1965 … THOSE MAGNIFICENT MEN IN THEIR FLYING MACHINES … Cinema East (17) [70mm]

05/10/1967 … SAND PEBBLES … Cinema East (11) [Unsure about this one]

03/19/1969 … THE LION IN WINTER … Cinema East (12)

12/17/1969 … HELLO, DOLLY … Cinema East (27) [70mm]

03/11/1973 … SOUND OF MUSIC … Cinema East (10) [70mm]

05/24/1979 … ALIEN … Cinema East (16) [70mm]

05/21/1980 … EMPIRE STRIKES BACK … Cinema East (7) [70mm] [Followed by 13 weeks in 35mm]

03/19/1982 … QUEST FOR FIRE … Cinema East (7) [70mm]

10/22/1982 … TRON … Cinema East (1) [70mm]

09/02/1983 … OKLAHOMA … Cinema East (2) [70mm – 30fps]

09/23/1983 … ONE FROM THE HEART … Cinema East (1) [70mm]

05/23/1984 … INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM … Cinema East (20) [70mm]

10/12/1984 … AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS … Cinema East (1) [70mm]

07/02/1986 … TOP GUN (70MM) … Cinema East (12) [70mm] [6 previous weeks in 35mm]

11/03/1989 … LAWRENCE OF ARABIA … Cinema East (2) [70mm] [Next to last movie at Cinema East]

MarkDHite on September 3, 2020 at 8:49 pm

Mr Sugarman was friends with my parents and always came out to talk when we went there to a movie. The 60s weren’t always the best years for the movies, but he always liked to say that “there’s nothing wrong with the picture business that can’t be solved with good pictures.” I loved that theatre and saw so many wonderful movies there. One of the best was the reissue in the early 80s of the Todd-AO version of Oklahoma! One of the most thrilling movie experiences I’ve ever had.

Jsittig70mm on February 27, 2016 at 3:16 pm

The 70mm Norelco projectors at Cinema East were brand new when the theatre opened. they were bought and installed by john Kenny from Ringold Theatre Equipment in Detroit. Second film to open at Cinema East was MAGNIFICENT MEN IN THEIR FLYING MACHINES in 70mm Todd-AO. Other memorable opening were Planet of the Apes, Jaws, Magnum Force and Jesus Christ Superstar where we made burlap robes for the employees to wear. I was the manager for 1973 to 1975 when Charlie Sugarman opened Cinema North. Wonderful showman and a great theatre.

Coate on May 15, 2015 at 11:35 am


“Superman” didn’t play at Cinema East (not first-run, anyway). There’s a listing of the first-run theaters where it played in this retrospective article I put together a couple of years ago. Scroll down to the Ohio section. I hope the article brings back wonderful memories of seeing “Superman” when it was new.

buckohio1165 on May 15, 2015 at 6:54 am

Hello everyone. CINEMA EAST was the best theater in town when I was a kid. One HUGE screen. Grew up in Reyoldsburg and Pataskala. I can clearly recall 10 year old me seeing JAWS (1975) and being scared to death, but my 6 and 5 year old brothers loving the film. Saw SUPERMAN (1978) and ALIEN (1979) there. My friends and I saw THE WIZ (1978) and GREASE (1978) at CE multiple times. One thing my friends and I remember well was this Lynyrd Skynyrd short film which played before some of the films.

Mark_L on August 12, 2013 at 11:57 am

Here’s a question for John Sittig if he ever happens this way. Charles Sugarman had Todd-AO projectors installed in the Main theatre in the early ‘60’s. I’m wondering if those projectors were moved to Cinema East when that opened? I don’t believe the Main ran any 70mm after 1962.

bbfarmer on February 4, 2013 at 10:59 pm

A wonderful theater; I saw many films there. Some were giant Hollywood blockbusters, while some were just strange things to be playing on such a majestic screen, like the Columbus premiere of Fred Williamson’s cheesy “The Messenger”, with Williamson in attendance, and “Troma’s War”. Have fond memories of seeing “Monty Python’s Meaning of Life” there, too.

Last time I was at this theater was for “Beverly Hills Cop 2”, which my wife and I were finding unbearable. Luckily for us (not for the theater) lightning struck and the speakers exploded with the loudest sound I’ve ever heard, then silence. Everyone got a comp ticket to come back but as I recall, the place closed before we ever happened to go back.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 22, 2012 at 5:40 pm

The Boxoffice article Tinseltoes linked to confirms Leon Seligson as architect of the Cinema East, as does his entry in the 1970 edition of the AIA’s American Architects Directory. Seligson also designed the Kon-Tiki Theatre in Trotwood, Ohio.

Mark_L on March 4, 2012 at 5:03 pm

Leon Seligson of Columbus, OH was the architect. Land was owned by Leon Schottenstein. Proposed building cost was $500,000.

Nicholas Herum
Nicholas Herum on January 25, 2012 at 2:21 pm

I believe I saw Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in 70MM here. My dad grew up in Columbus and knew the theater well so when we moved to Columbus in 1989 that’s where he took me to see my first movie as a Columbus resident. I remember driving by the theater shortly after it closed and not understanding why it closed because I had a blast.

DennisBee on September 3, 2011 at 8:13 am

Cool, Mark L. I stayed for 10 also—never passed up the chance for a double feature. I forgot—I also had my first screening of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY at Cinema East, in a reissue in the fall of 1971. Not the severely curved Cinerama screen experience I would have had at the film’s first-run at the Grand downtown in 1968, but close. My virgin 2001 voyage was followed a few weeks later by another MGM re-release (part of the same package): DOCTOR ZHIVAGO—also my first time. I saw that again around 1990 at the Ohio Theater Summer Movies and it didn’t look as clear and vivid.

Mark_L on August 29, 2011 at 4:21 am

DennisBee, our paths have crossed, I see. I also was at the STUNT MAN screening. They actually opened the balcony that night, so I got to sit up there for the screening of 10 that followed STUNT MAN. Great view from there. I remember looking up at the booth and seeing operators paying VERY close attention to the screen. Best thing I saw there was the 30fps screening of OKLAHOMA earlier in the 80’s.

DennisBee on August 28, 2011 at 5:02 pm

I interviewed Charlie Sugarman and also Jerry Knight, another great Columbus showman who managed the Drexel before it was sold to Jeff Frank (whom I knew in his two earlier jobs, at the Columbus Museum of Art and at the Ohio Theater) for a feature in COLUMBUS MONTHLY (Mar. 1980). This was in the late ‘70s just before I left town for the next five years and Charlie sold the CINEMA EAST. By this time, he simply could not outbid the Loew’s, General Cinema, and AMC chains for films for this cinema and the twinplex he opened on Morse Road in 1974. It was sad.

The first movie I saw at CINEMA EAST was THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING, THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING in July 1966, when I was 12. I recall seeing THE ODD COUPLE, HELLO DOLLY (in 70mm—Eye-popping!), THE CANDIDATE, and Ross Hunter’s LOST HORIZON (Yes, Charlie played turkeys like everybody else.) In October 1979, Richard Rush previewed THE STUNT MAN, at a time when he and his producer, Melvin Simon, were taking it around the country, trying a populist approach to finding a distributor (Now Toronto would probably do the trick for him). The highlight of the late-‘80s period for me at CINEMA EAST was in 1989 when it presented the reconstruction of LAWRENCE OF ARABIA—one of the most glorious things I’ve ever seen. in a movie theater!

I live out of state now, but I visit my mother in Reynoldsburg and drive by the lot that used to be CINEMA EAST. What a shame, but what wonderful memories!

Mark_L on December 10, 2010 at 6:55 pm

TFK, you should have seen the picture those Norelco’s put out when they ran OKLAHOMA at 30fps in the early ‘80’s.

TFK on December 1, 2010 at 2:14 pm

Charlie Sugarman would be smiling about all the attention his old theatre is getting.

The projectors were incredible to operate and outclassed anything coming out in the mid 80’s/early 90’s. I suspect they might still be running. I can’t remember if Chakeres moved them to another newer theatre, or sold them. This may be around the time Chakeres decided to sell the chain.

While the sound suffered due to the surround speakers, the screen and theatre size overcame any shortcomings, and made any movie watched at Cinema East an experience.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on June 27, 2010 at 11:02 am

Glad all this got straighten out.

Mark_L on June 27, 2010 at 9:38 am

In its April 1, 1990 edition, Boxoffice announced the 1/7/1990 closing of the theatre by Chakeres due to loss of lease. This article incorrectly states that the theatre had 1,600 seats. Former Cinema East manager, John Sittig, states in his post of 9/1/2008 the correct seat count of 998.

Mark_L on September 2, 2008 at 5:33 pm

J. Sittig,

Was SAND PEBBLES shown in 70mm out there? I wasn’t sure, and I haven’t added it to my films I’ve seen in 70mm list.

That was a very nice theatre. As time wore on, it became a bit rundown. I don’t think they ever replaced those small surround speakers, and toward the end, they really sounded bad. But those Norelco’s were things of beauty!

JSittig1 on September 1, 2008 at 6:08 pm

I was manager of Cinema East in the 1970’s. The theatre was owned by Charles Sugarman, a real showman. Charlies father ran theatres in Columbus in the 40’s and 50’s including The Champion on Livingston.
Theatre sat 998 including 184 in the balcony. We played several roadshows besides “Flying Machines” including “Sand Pebbles” and “Hello Dolly” I don’t recall screen measurements but it was large, wall to wall. Played 70mm 6 track on Norelco AAII ptojectors. Theatre had trouble getting prime bookings in late 70’s and 80’s as multiplexes began springing up. Sold to Charkares Threatres from Springfield. Charlie died in 1986.

RichM on June 6, 2008 at 9:01 am

I remember seeing JAWS, STAR WARS, and WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP at Cinema East. Man those were the days. Small snack bar, small afternoon crowds, big screen. Had forgotten about the often roped off balcony. Dont believe I ever made it up there. Moved out to southwest 6 years ago. Columbus area sure had a LOT of different theatres back in the day.
Thanks for the memories.

Coate on March 6, 2008 at 2:35 pm

Jamie in Las Vegas…

Nice reminiscence on “Indiana Jones” and working at CINEMA EAST!

One correction: “Star Wars” (the 1977 original) did not play at CINEMA EAST for over one year. It ran there for 26 weeks, exactly one half year. (It was at RAINTREE where it played for over a year; 53 weeks to be exact.)

jlgreenlee on March 6, 2008 at 11:11 am

You’re right, sorry about that. I was on my third try posting that, and obviously goofed. Here it is:

View link

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on February 16, 2008 at 5:14 am

I don’t see any article at that link.

jlgreenlee on February 15, 2008 at 11:09 pm

I tried to post twice before, so apologies if I appear more than once.

I worked at Cinema East for the entire seven-month run of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. It was quite an experience, and will always hold a special place in my memories.

I know this page is old, but I just found it today, and wrote a long post on my blog about Cinema East (with a link back here). If anyone is interested, here is the link: