Starlight Lakewood Center

5200 Faculty Avenue,
Lakewood, CA 90712

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Starlight Cinemas (Official)

Additional Info

Operated by: Starlight Cinemas

Previously operated by: Pacific Theatres

Architects: Mel C. Glatz, George T. Nowak, Dan Tanizaki

Firms: George T. Nowak & Associates, GFBA Architects, Mel C. Glatz & Associates

Previous Names: Pacific's Lakewood Center Theater, Lakewood Center 16

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News About This Theater

Starlight Lakewood Center

At a cost of $1 million dollars and eight months of construction Pacific’s Lakewood Center Theatre, designed by George T. Nowak and Mel C. Glatz, opened on January 17, 1968 with Sidney Poitier in “Top Sir, With Love”. The Long Beach Press-Telegram said that the 1,200 seat venue was Pacific Theatres 71st location, most of them drive-ins. Pacific Theatres chose Merrill DeVine to be its managing director. DeVine previously managed the Picwood, Hollywood Pantages and the Cinerama Dome in Los Angeles.

The opening attraction was Sydney Poitier in “To Sir With Love”. On hand at the opening festivities, which the paper said 10,000 attended, were actors Jim Brown, Troy Donahue and Rudy Vallee. The architecture was very 1960’s modern with a large curved glass front, a gigantic lobby and a 60-foot concession stand. Pacific Theatres said that the four Austrian-made chandeliers in the lobby were valued at $6,000 each.

May 22, 1974 saw the opening of two more screens and then on October 24 it became the Lakewood 4. In June of 1981, the Lakewood Center South 1,2,3 opened in a new building at another location in the mall’s parking lot.

On March 19, 1999 after months of construction, during which it was closed and gutted and 56,000 square feet was added to the building, the brand new Lakewood Center Stadium 16 opened. It was designed by architect Dan Tanizaki with GFBA Architects.

The Press-Telegram said that the $12 million renovation brought its total number of seats to 4,800. And by the way, the original Austrian chandeliers are still hanging in the lobby.

It was closed on March 17, 2020 sue to the Covid-19 pandemic. It was announced on April 13, 2021 that the closure would be permanent in all Pacific/ArcLight theatres. It was taken over by Starlight Theatres to be opened in Summer of 2023.

Contributed by Ron Pierce

Recent comments (view all 25 comments)

rivest266 on December 20, 2014 at 5:00 pm

1968, 1974 and 1999 grand opening ad as well as a fake DJI Phantom aerial (Google Earth used) in the photo section.

stalker101 on September 22, 2015 at 4:15 am

Grew up going to this theater..moved away from Long beach and came back and saw a movie there in late 1990’s early 2000 and was sad to see the main huge theater changed.It was so deep and large originally you could throw a football around in it..saw many of great films there..Star Trek Wrath of Khan,Back To Future 2 and 3,Star Trek 5,Indiana Jones Last Crusade,Creepshow 2,Batman,Honey I shrunk the Kids,Who Framed Roger Rabbit and many others.

Coate on June 19, 2017 at 10:33 pm

Lakewood Center was among just eleven theaters in the United States that installed the then-new Dolby Digital sound system for their engagement of “Batman Returns” which opened twenty-five years ago today. And here’s the link to a retrospective article that commemorates the occasion.

rivest266 on July 10, 2021 at 1:02 am

An exact copy of this theatre opened in Tacoma, Washington on May 16th, 1968.

samwisefan on August 25, 2021 at 5:33 am

The original 1200-seat screen remains one of the best movie screens in Southern California. And 4 of the “newly” added stadium-style screens are very nice as well. It’s the smaller screens they added that are completely abysmal. Who at the dawn of the 21st century builds a movie screen with an aisle down the center of the theatre?!?! Ridiculous. That said, if you can ever see a film on the original huge screen, it’s soooo worth it. Hopefully someone will rescue this location from its permanent closure.

MSC77 on February 26, 2023 at 11:19 pm

A chronology of the Gateway Cities’ 70mm presentation history has recently been published. Lakewood Center is mentioned numerous times.

BigScreen_com on June 26, 2023 at 9:15 pm

This theater will be reopening in Summer 2023 as the Starlight Lakewood Center (Starlight Cinemas).

Lakewood, CA: Starlight Lakewood Center Opening Soon, Now Hiring [Jun 27, 2023]

Edward Havens
Edward Havens on July 17, 2023 at 6:38 pm

Signage for the new operator is already up.

Fanofcomedy on July 30, 2023 at 9:09 am

1st movie i saw at Pacific Lakewood was Oliver & Company 1st PG movie i saw there was Star Trek V The Final Frontier 1st PG-13 movie I saw there was Batman 1st R Rated movie i saw there was Dead Presidents When it re-opened as Stadium 16 in 1999 the 1st i saw was Ravenous Last movie i saw there in Jan 2020 was Bad Boys For Life 2 MONTHS BEFORE THE PANDEMIC

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