Edwards Town Center 4

3209 Park Center Drive,
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Edwards Cinemas

Architects: L. Perry Pearson, Paul Wuesthoff

Firms: Pearson & Wuesthoff

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Edwards Town Center 4

Construction of Edwards Town Center 4 was announced in the Los Angeles Times on July 12, 1981, complete with an architectural rendering of the façade. The front of the theatre had a unique sloped glass roof, which enabled the lights from the lobby to be seen from the San Diego freeway. The 25,000 square foot building was to cost $7.29 million with Edwards signing a $4.44 million, 30-year lease. The land was and still is owned by the Segerstrom Company, owners and developers of South Coast Plaza and all of the property in the area.

This was Edwards 19th Orange County location with their LA Times ad also showing four LA County locations in Alhambra, Monterey Park and Temple City under the Edwards banner.

Two of the screens were opened on December 25, 1981, and two more were open by the New Year.

For many years, along with two other Edwards South Coast Plaza theatres, it was a popular first-run destination. In 1998, when Edwards opened the Metro Point 12 stadium in the area, it began to play only art films along with their acquired South Coast Village 3 theatre.

It closed on June 14, 2001, 10 years before their lease was up, mainly because of Edwards bankruptcy. In fact, one of the reasons mentioned for the bankruptcy was that Edwards had too many outstanding leases on non-productive theatres. If the terms of the original 1981 lease had not changed, this would mean that Edwards was paying $12,333 a month for its lease. It was demolished in 2007 and the location is now a parking lot, with no indication that a theatre ever existed there.

Contributed by Ron Pierce

Recent comments (view all 16 comments)

samwisefan on August 24, 2021 at 12:00 am

My two best memories of this theatre are actually both audience test screenings. One of them was for the movie THE BEAR. That test screening happened an entire year before the movie was released in the US. And the second one was for DICK TRACY. That test screening was super memorable because Warren Beatty was actually there and walked right by us on the upstairs hallway after the film ended.

Flix70 on December 26, 2021 at 11:12 am

The Town Center opened 40 years this weekend (Dec. 25, 1981) with “Modern Problems” starring Chevy Chase & “Neighbors” starring John Belushi & Dan Aykroyd.

Flix70 on June 12, 2022 at 10:45 am

Steven Spielberg’s beloved 1982 classic “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” opened at the Town Center in 70mm 40 years ago this weekend (June 11, 1982).

Starring Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore & Dee Wallace, the film opened at number one on 1,100 screens with $12 million and slowly increased its theater count each week for the next nine weeks, averaging over $10 million a week. It remained the number one or two film through mid-October and stayed in the top 10 through January of ‘83.

At the end of its astonishing 52-week run it had become the highest-grossing film of all time with a domestic take of over $435 million, a record it would hold for 11 years until Spielberg’s “Jurassic Park.”

The Town Center was one of three theaters in OC showing “E.T.”. in 70mm (it would play there for 28 weeks) and I dragged my mom there that first Saturday where we were greeted with a line wrapped completely around the building (first and only time I ever saw that). I remember it played in the large far corner theater on the right and was just a great cinematic experience from start to finish.

Richie_T on June 12, 2022 at 12:45 pm

Hey Flix70… I’ll bet we sat in that same right corner theater for the opening Saturday ET screening… I have the exact same memory… line around the building… glad to know others remember this theater and those times as fondly as I do!

Flix70 on August 7, 2022 at 10:41 am

John Badham’s action-comedy “Stakeout” opened at the Town Center in 70mm 35 years ago this weekend (August 5, 1987).

Starring Richard Dreyfuss, Emilio Estevez & Madeline Stowe, the film opened at number two (behind “The Living Daylights”) on 951 screens and slowly saw its theater count grow the remainder of the summer as it took over the top spot the next weekend & held it for five straight weeks, ending its run just shy of $66 million, enough to finish as the 8th highest-grossing film of 1987.

I saw it here opening weekend with a full crowd as a teenager & enjoyed it.

MSC77 on October 11, 2022 at 6:10 pm

Flix70: Your E.T. comment of June 12th has some errors: (1) The domestic gross at the conclusion of its 52-week first-run was $359 million (the $435 million figure you cited includes re-issues). (2) Its domestic all-time gross record held for 14 years (not 11) until eclipsed by the STAR WARS: SPECIAL EDITION re-issue. (JURASSIC PARK eclipsed the E.T. gross worldwide but not domestically.) (3) The Town Center’s run was 49 weeks in total with the latter half of its run in 35mm in a smaller house.

I share your celebratory sentiment and have fond memories of seeing E.T. numerous times in 1982. (I did not see it at Town Center though I’ve seen many other films there.)

Flix70 on December 17, 2022 at 10:56 am

Sydney Pollack’s beloved, Oscar-winning 1982 comedy “Tootsie” opened at the Town Center 40 years ago today (Dec. 17, 1982).

Starring Dustin Hoffman, Teri Garr & Jessica Lange, the film opened at number one on 943 screens and held the top spot for the next 12 weeks, remaining in the top ten until mid-June of ‘83. It would gross over $177 million in North America (becoming Columbia Pictures’ biggest domestic hit ever at that time) & finish its run as the second highest-grossing film of 1982.

“Tootsie” was nominated for 10 Oscars, including Best Picture, but ultimately would just win one for Best Supporting Actress (Lange).

40 years later I still marvel at its great ensemble cast, script & direction and with no disrespect to Sir Ben Kingsley who won Best Actor for “Gandhi” that year, have always felt Hoffman deserved an Oscar for his performance.

Flix70 on January 15, 2023 at 11:04 am

Barry Levinson’s 1987 comedy “Good Morning, Vietnam” opened at the Town Center in 70mm 35 years ago today (Jan. 15, 1988).

Starring Robin Williams (in his first Oscar-nominated role), the film took over the top spot from “Three Men and a Baby” after expanding from three to 785 screens and remained number one for the next eight weeks, netting just shy of $124 million in North America and finishing its run as the fourth highest-grossing film of 1987.

I saw “Good Morning, Vietnam” at the Town Center opening weekend with a full crowd and marveled at Williams' performance, one that would pave the way to three more Oscar-nominated roles in the next 10 years.

MSC77 on February 26, 2023 at 4:56 pm

A chronology of Orange County’s 70mm presentation history has recently been published. Town Center is mentioned numerous times.

Flix70 on May 25, 2023 at 10:57 am

1983’s “Return of the Jedi” opened at the Town Center in 70mm 40 years ago today (May 25, 1983).

Starring Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher & Harrison Ford, George Lucas' finale to his Star Wars Trilogy debuted at number one on over 1,000 screens, netting a then-record $45 million its opening week, and remained in the top ten through late September, grossing just north of $250 million in North America and finishing its run as the highest-grossing film of 1983.

I saw Jedi opening day at the Town Center as a 12-year-old. My mom let me skip school that day so she could take a buddy and me to the 9:30 AM show. Hardly anyone in the theater that morning, it was like our own private screening. I got a program and settled in for the last great event film of my childhood.

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