170th Street Cinema

17050 Collins Avenue,
Sunny Isles Beach, FL 33160

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: General Cinema Corp., Loew's Inc.

Architects: Melvin Grossman

Functions: Gymnasium

Previous Names: Loew's 170th Street Theatre, 170th Street Cinema 1 & 2, Sunny Isles Beach Twin

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News About This Theater

170th street cinema aerial view

This rather simple Loew’s house opened August 6, 1958 with Brigitte Bardot in “La Parisienne”. Its single screen had 1,107-seats. It survived a criminal GCC twinning on November 7, 1975 by stumbling onto bookings of “Jaws” and “Star Wars” in a very competitive zone. It later became a four-screen theatre and finally (very briefly) had six-screens. It was closed on March 19, 1989. On March 23, 1989 it reopened under RK Theatres. They closed the theatre on November 11, 1993.

It was reopened by SunnyVista as the SunnyVista Sunny Isles Beach Cinema 6 on October 7, 1994. On October 26, 1994 a fire in an adjacent print shop closed the theatre, this time for good.

Minutes away from Rascal House and the Wreck Room of the Castaways Hotel, this theatre was located on a strip mall in the heart of one of Miami Beach’s gloriously tacky stretches.

Contributed by Al Alvarez

Recent comments (view all 37 comments)

davidcoppock on March 30, 2020 at 5:47 am

The building now a sports store(Simons Sportswear), a cell phone store(Metro PCS), a cuban restaurant(El Tropico), a creperie(Very Crepe), a pizza restaurant(Dominos), a money transfer service(Sunny Envios), a art and craft class, a cafe and grill(La Barra), a pharmacy(Solutions Pharmacy), an insurance company(Alltrust Insurance Group), a real estate office(Century 21), a Peruvian bistro(El Tatya), a beauty salon(Sally Beauty), a escow service(Florida Closing and Escrow), a beauty salon(I Brow), a gym(Fitness time) a spa(Med Spa), a beauty salon and spa(Trini Salon and Spa), a market and deli(European Delights), a restaurant(Bella Risorante), medical marijuana center(Miracle Leaf), a yoga studio(Alexia Wellness Meditation & Yoga Lounge), a real estate office(VIP beach realtor team).

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on March 30, 2020 at 5:48 am

Police suspected that chemicals in a second floor print shop at the shopping center started the fire.

davidcoppock on March 30, 2020 at 7:34 am

Arson or accidental fire in the second floor print shop?

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on March 30, 2020 at 7:47 am

No one seems to have been charged with a crime.

ridethectrain on March 30, 2020 at 6:00 pm

The Theatre open as 6 screens on August 5, 1994 as theSunnyvista Sunny Isles Beach Cinema. The fire happened sometime around October 30, 1994 (The last movies that played were Stargate, Little Giants, Exit To Eden, The River Wild, East Drink Man Woman, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare and The Specialist.

It closed as a Twin on November 11, 1993 with In The Line of Fire, Whats Love Got To Do With It, Sleepless In Seattle and The Firm

General Cinema sold the theatre on March 23, 1989 and it became independent. Please update

ridethectrain on March 30, 2020 at 6:03 pm

Don’t know when Loews sold the theatre to General Cinema. I went to the theatre once in 1985 to see The Sluggers Wife when I was on vacation

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on March 30, 2020 at 6:46 pm

GCC took over Loews in Florida in 1973 with the exception of the Bay Harbor and 167th St. Twins. Those two locations had a partner who refused to go along with the sale. Those two locations remained Loews.

aeterna on November 28, 2020 at 9:07 pm

GCC got rid of it in 1990. I can’t recall who took it over but the next owner after that in 1993 was Sun Vista Holdings out of MI IIRC. They were the final owners when the fire happened. I think in its final incarnation it was a 6 screen going through a 4 screen period if memory serves.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on September 23, 2022 at 5:29 am


dallasmovietheaters on September 23, 2022 at 7:21 am

Just to add some improved, more specific information to the above, Loews created its 170th Street Cinema as part of a strategy to reinvent movie theaters as luxury suburban destinations. Loews 170th could present virtually any format of film other than Cinerama. Its 60' screen could present 35mm and 70mm shows and was compatible with Cinemiracle, Todd-AO, VistaVision, and CinemaScope. It also provided free parking to set itself apart from aging downtown theaters often hampered by parking limitations and costs. Following an invitational opening event screening on August 6, 1958 with Brigitte Bardot in “La Parisienne,“ that same film was used for the opening to the general public the next day.

In a major business development announced on May 30, 1972, Loews sold all of its theatres in Florida to its rival, General Cinema Corp. (GCC), effective June 14, 1972. The Loews 170th Street Theatre became the GCC 170th Street Cinema. The 170th Street Cinema and the former Loews turned GCC Lauderhill Cinema were both closed by GCC after successful runs of “Jaws” on September 28, 1975 to be twinned. The move was made to keep the venue viable but defeated the original architectural intent of the theater. It became the 170th Street Cinema I and II beginning on November 7, 1975 with John Wayne and Katharine Hepburn in “Rooster Cogburn” and Michael Caine in “Peeper".

In October of 1987, the venue was downgraded to a discount, sub-run house offering all seats and showtimes for $1.50. The theater was subtly retitled briefly as the GCC 170th Street Cinema 2 used for the venue’s waning GCC days. General Cinema closed on March 19, 1989 with “Things Change” and “The Land Before Time” coinciding with the 10-screen Miracle Center that had just opened that weekend. GCC’s Westchester 2 discount venue also closed that night.

Unlike the Westchester, a new operator took over the theatre beginning on March 23, 1989 through November 11, 1993 operating as the RK (formerly RD Theatres) 170th Street Cinema. Under Mitchell Knohl, the theater did have an embarrassing moment sponsoring a $10 a ticket, Barney, the Dinosaur, event in February of 1993 that was neither super-dee-duper nor tee-rific. The theater hired a Barney that reportedly had - ostensibly - the wrong costume and not all that ready to delight the youthful patrons. This led to kids likely shouting, “We don’t love you… you don’t love us, and we want refunds for all.” And they got their way. The theatre closed under RK Theatres in November 11, 1993.

The venue had one last chance closing for a major refresh under SunVista next became the SunVista Sunny Isles Beach Cinema 6 opening on October 7, 1994. The company also had the former Loews Inverrary Cinema in its operational portfolio. Unfortunately, just prior to its third weekend of operation, a fire at a neighboring print shop on October 26, 1994 ended the very short-lived SunVista Sunny Isles Beach Cinema 6 permanently.

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