MGM Amphitheater

3719 University Avenue,
San Diego, CA 92105

Unfavorite 2 people favorited this theater

Additional Info

Functions: Church

Previous Names: Academy Theater, Academy Fine Arts Theatre, Rio Theater

Nearby Theaters

Former Academy Theater, July 2011

Opened as the Academy Theater and mentioned on the San Diego Historical Society website, built in 1925. It was renamed Rio Theater on September 26, 1948 reopening with Red Skelton in “The Show-Off” & Dennis Morgan in “Two Guys from Milwaukee”. Last internet record of operation is a brief mention from 1995 of vandalism shortly before the theater’s reopening as an MGM Amphitheater. It now serves as a ‘church’ operated by the Brazilian based Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG).

Contributed by Arnold Marquez

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

kencmcintyre on April 22, 2009 at 10:28 pm

The loopnet listing is gone. The Google view shows the theater in bad shape. Here is a photo from better days in 1983:

TLSLOEWS on February 19, 2010 at 1:06 pm

Not really an Amphitheater was it?

rleather on April 11, 2010 at 11:56 pm

Indeed the Academy built in 1925. Apparently taken over by MGM theatres. Marquee suggests it is now a church. In the late 70s they had porn during the days and then a vibrant midnight series on weekends that showed cult films, shorts and animation (Fantastic Planet, etc), art films, Devo, etc. pulled from the college crowd, lots of midnight series in San Diego around this time before video and rep houses went away.

MagicLantern on July 1, 2010 at 7:49 pm

Now the Addis Evangelical Church of San Diego.

exprojector23 on November 24, 2012 at 3:26 am

The “MGM Amphitheater” name was used briefly by some party unaffiliated with MGM (who clearly had no idea what an amphitheater is, either), in an apparent attempt to give the old Academy one last shot at being a performance venue before it became a church. About a year ago I passed by on my bike and took a look inside; the auditorium was cleaned up and repainted, with new seats (I hope), and was a Hispanic church at the time. Now it is a church with the name “Ebenezer” painted on the front of the building.

exprojector23 on November 24, 2012 at 3:35 am

The Academy was operated for years by the Art Theater Guild, from some point in the ‘60s up until it shut down in the early 1990s. I’m fairly certain it was never affiliated with MGM (in the sense of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, anyway).

danwhitehead1 on January 30, 2013 at 9:13 am

WED30JAM13, 8:05ACST The last movie I watched in this house was Tom Tryon’s “The Other” some time in 1972. I wish I could remember more about the place.

6_steevee_9 on March 9, 2016 at 8:36 pm

Academy Theatre. They had a premiere of the JANUS VERSION of “KING KONG”(in the late 1960’s, I believe, containing the original censored scenes, which had not been viewed since it’s original release in 1933,(plus, not forgetting the many edits made during each re-issue release); hence the version that’s out there today, containing the “outtakes”. The place was packed, as I recall…it was showing during the great revival of the classic film era, bolstered by the new FILM STUDIES courses DEBUTING IN COLLEGES at that time, thus allowing the public to actually VIEW the titles at local cinemas such as the ACADEMY. showings

rokcomx on February 25, 2023 at 11:36 am

On February 19 and 20, 1962, the Beach Boys performed a live set at the Academy Fine Arts Theatre during intermission of two showings of the film Surf Crazy, at 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.

rivest266 on May 2, 2024 at 4:53 pm

The Rio theatre opened on September 16th, 1948. Grand opening ad posted.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater.