Har-Mar 11 Cinemas
2100 N. Snelling Avenue,
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Previously operated by: AMC Theatres, General Cinema Corp., Mann Theatres, MN
Previous Names: Har-Mar Twin, Har-Mar 3
News About This Theater
- May 21, 2010 — Happy 30th, "Empire"
The Har-Mar Twin was built in 1970 for the Mann Theatres chain (costing over $750,000) at the Har-Mar Shopping Center. The theater was unusually lavish for its day, with Venetian crystal chandeliers, English tapestries and plush red carpeting. Also, it was equipped with what was then cutting-edge projection and sound technology.
The Har-Mar opened with “Two Mules for Sister Sara” and “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever” to packed houses. In the early 70s, the Har-Mar was one of the most popular Saint Paul theaters, due to its proximity to Highway 36, its large parking lot and being modern and comfortable.
In 1974, the Har-Mar was the first suburban movie house to out-gross a downtown theater, the Skyway 2, playing the same film (“Earthquake”). It was by only very little, but it signified the death knell for Saint Paul’s downtown movie houses and the rise of the suburban theater.
In 1977, the larger of the theater’s two auditoriums was itself twinned, creating a triplex, as the theater was renamed the Har-Mar 3.
Slightly damaged in 1981 by a tornado, the Har-Mar was only closed for a few days for repairs before it was once more open for business. Later that same year, a former grocery store behind the theater was transformed into another eight small screens (the Har-Mar 4-11).
The Har-Mar was at the time the largest movie theater in the state of Minnesota. It was last operated by AMC. The Har-Mar closed in December 2006.
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Recent comments (view all 30 comments)
Finally posted some pics I took on the night the place closed. Unfortunately they shut everything down early and had already turned off the famous lights before I got there, but oh well…
The seating cap at the Har Mar 4-11 was 139-175. The smaller theatres were on the left hall. There was a trap door in cinema 8 that came out in the office but the carpet covered the door in the office and the door was behind the screen.
Although I never got around to seeing a movie there (which I sincerely regret) it’s sad to see a landmark torn down. I live a few blocks away, and when I saw it a few days ago it was completely gutted except for the big chandeliers. A few months ago I remember seeing (what I assume were) the big velvet curtains being thrown in the dumpster. Pretty sad.
There is no sign of the Har-Mar Theaters remaining. The front 3 theaters are now a Staples store, the back are just a big empty shell. History disappeared in a hurry here.
You can see some photos of the theatre exterior, interior and projection booth I took while I worked there at FilmTech
Opening was 9/16/70 with “On A Clear Day … ” and “Two Mules for Sister Sara”. The third screen debuted 10/19/77.
The original twin screen Har Mar was a luxury first run theater. The had a fabulous modern chandelier in the lobby, a supercool pod-like box office and a pair of enormous auditoriums. Number 1 was somewhat larger than Number 2. The twinning of one of the auditoriums was awkward and disappointing, creating a “shotgun” style boxy theater. It’s too bad that the Har Mar deteriorated over the years – it was a fine show palace in it’s day.
Screen 1 was THX certified with 5.1 surround sound and it was simply one of the best rooms to experience a movie in the Twin Cities back in its day.
This opened on September 16th, 1970 and the largest auditorium split, opening on October 21st, 1977. The 8-screen extension opened on December 18th, 1981 and closed down in December 2006. The 1970 and 1981 grand opening ads can be found in the photo section for this cinema. The Har-Mar name came from the builders, HARold and MARy.
Found on Newspapers.com
Interesting that these theatres were GCC/Mann. A joint venture I assume. Was this the Mann Theatres of California or Mann Theatres of Minnesota?
If you zoom in the upper right corner of the grand opening ad, it says GCC Mann.