University Cinema 4

262 W. State Street,
Baton Rouge, LA 70802

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MSC77 on September 6, 2019 at 9:32 am

What company operated this before Gulf States?

CJ1949 on September 4, 2019 at 8:28 pm

An article in the 8-23-95 Baton Rouge Advocate newspaper said the theatre “had closed” and plans were at the time, to demolish it for a hotel. UA was the last operator. UA officials and neighboring storekeepers were interviewed and didn’t have much good to say about the theatre or the ‘safety’ of the area. A restaurant manager said “when the theatre had to hire a cop…” he knew the end was near. The original operators were also quoted, and said the Lewis franchise fee was 8% of revenue. That figure squares with Lewis' written testimony to the US Senate in early 1970.

rivest266 on January 12, 2012 at 3:07 pm

This opened as Jerry Lewis on November 4th, 1970. It was renamed University in mid 1973 with two more screens opened on August 23rd, 1973. Gulf States took it over in 1980 and UA in 1986. Grand opening ads posted here.

FredSliman on November 28, 2009 at 6:49 pm

This theatre was opened as a Jerry Lewis Twin Cinema in 1970, which it remained until early ‘73 upon the addition of two more smaller cinemas. Upon this revamp, it was renamed the University Cinema. The theatre was one of the prime players in 1970s Baton Rouge cinema, often showing the biggest of the blockbusters, while catering to the arthouse crowd as well on occasion. United Artists took it over in 1980 and ran it with some success, converting to a bargain policy in the late 80s, which held until its closing in 1995. I currently work with the gentleman who ran it during its prime mid to late 70s years.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 26, 2009 at 11:53 pm

The article ken mc linked to says the University Cinema had existed since 1960, but Boxoffice of February 16, 1970, says that a University Twin Theatre was to be built in the University Shopping Center at Highland Road and State Street in Baton Rouge. Presumably it opened later that year. I’ve been unable to find any references to any other theaters being in the neighborhood, so I think the University Cinema 4 must have been that 1970 project.

The house was built for Theo Cangelosi, who also had an interest in the Broadmoor Theatre in Baton Rouge, though he was not a theater operator (the Broadmoor was leased to Gordon-Perry Theatres.) The University Twin was designed by local architectural firm Wilson & Coleman, and had 704 seats, divided 412 and 292. Completion of the project was expected by July, 1970.