Center 3 Cinemas

2120 Camino del Rio North,
San Diego, CA 92108

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Lockwood & Gordon Enterprises, Pacific Theatres

Firms: Arthur Froehlich & Associates

Functions: Retail

Previous Names: Center Theatre

Nearby Theaters

News About This Theater

Center Theatre May 2010

The Center Theatre opened on February 17, 1965 with a showing of “Circus World”. It would continue to specialize in Hollywood blockbusters playing “The Hallelujah Trail”, “The Battle of the Bulge”, “2001: A Space Odyssey”, and “Ryan’s Daughter”, (its last single screen engagement) before being triplexed in 1971.

At the time, it was one of the first multiplexes in San Diego, and the first single theater in San Diego to be split into multiple screens.

Designed by the firm Arthur Froehlich and Associates, and built by San Diego construction baron R.E. Hazard, the Center Theatre contained something unique to any movie theatre: a reflecting pool and fountain in an outdoor patio built into the lobby.

The Center Theatre was located less than one mile from the Mission Valley Shopping Center, and shared that section of San Diego with the Cinema 21, the Valley Circle, Mann Hazard 7, and the AMC Fashion Valley 4.

After being tripled in 1971 to three screens by its parent company, Pacific Theaters, the Center 3 Cinemas continued to operate until 1995. Fortunately, it was not torn down, as other single screens in the area were, but remodeled (losing the pool and fountain) and transformed into a Shoe Pavilion store.

Contributed by Gabriel A. Neeb

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

neeb on February 26, 2008 at 2:53 am

Center Theatre (1965 to 1971)

RE = Re-Issue/ Return Engagement
GSE = Guaranteed-Seat Engagement

Listings include regular engagements only. Test screenings, sneak-preview screenings, midnight screenings, premieres and other private events are not included. Unless noted, presentations are all 35mm â€" mono sound presentation.
All listing from San Diego Union, San Diego Tribune and “70mm in San Diego” ( by Michael Coate and William Kallay.

17 Feb 1965 … CIRCUS WORLD (GSE, 8 weeks, 70mm-Stereo)
13 Apr 1965 … THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD (GSE, 15 weeks, 70mm-Stereo)
27 Jul 1965 … THE HALLELUJAH TRAIL (GSE, 13 weeks, 70mm-Stereo)
27 Oct 1965 … MEDITERRANEAN HOLIDAY (8 weeks, Cinerama)
22 Dec 1965 … BATTLE OF THE BULGE (GSE, 20 weeks, 70mm-Stereo)

11 May 1966 … CINERAMA’S RUSSIAN ADVENTURE (GSE, 6 weeks, Cinerama)
24 Jun 1966 … KHARTOUM (GSE, 8 weeks, 70mm-Stereo)
17 Aug 1966 … OKLAHOMA (RE, 7 weeks)
05 Oct 1966 … GIGI (RE, 6 weeks)
18 Nov 1966 … ALFIE (14 weeks)

21 Feb 1967 … GRAND PRIX (GSE, 35 weeks, 70mm-Stereo)
26 Oct 1967 … GONE WITH THE WIND (GSE, 31 weeks, 70mm-Stereo)

28 May 1968 … 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (GSE, 44 weeks, 70mm-Stereo)

02 Apr 1969 … ICE STATION ZEBRA (GSE, 12 weeks, 70mm-Stereo)
26 Jun 1969 … KRAKATOA, EAST OF JAVA (GSE, 16 weeks, Cinerama)
13 Oct to 18 Nov 1969 … closed
19 Nov 1969 … THE STERILE CUCKOO (5 weeks)
25 Dec 1969 … THE ARRANGEMENT (7 weeks)

11 Feb 1970 … THE MAGIC CHRISTIAN (4 weeks)
12 Mar 1970 … PATTON (GSE, 16 weeks, 70mm-Stereo)
01 Jul 1970 … AIRPORT (25 weeks, 70mm-Stereo)
25 Dec 1970 … I LOVE MY… WIFE (7 weeks)

10 Feb 1971 … RYAN’S DAUGHTER (21 weeks, 70mm-Stereo)
07 Jul 1971 … CARNAL KNOWLEDGE (10 weeks)

CLOSED 13 September 1971

TRIPLED 24 November 1971

William on July 22, 2008 at 5:35 pm

When Pacific Theatres operated the seating capacities were 378, 297, 297.

rivest266 on April 16, 2012 at 6:30 pm

I uploaded the February 2nd, 1965 grand opening ad in this theatre’s photo page.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 16, 2012 at 6:40 pm

The Center Theatre can be seen in its original, single-screen configuration in four photos in Boxoffice, May 17, 1965.

The Center was originally operated by Lockwood and Gordon Enterprises, who also operated the Cinerama Theatre on University Avenue.

moviebuff82 on May 16, 2017 at 2:42 pm

When did dolby stereo get installed?

rleather on December 6, 2018 at 6:53 pm

I remember waiting in line for Man Who Fell To Earth outside and that fountain out front in the (partially covered) alcove over to the left (see vintage picture).

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