South Coast Plaza III Theatres

3410 Bristol Street,
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Edwards Cinemas, Mann Theatres, National General Theatres

Firms: Harold W. Levitt & Associates

Previous Names: Fox South Coast Plaza Theatre, Mann South Coast Plaza Twin

Nearby Theaters

Mann's South Coast Plaza exterior

The Fox South Coast Plaza Theatre was opened by National General Theatres on March 13, 1968 with Warren Beatty in “Bonnie and Clyde”. In 1973 it was taken over by Mann Theatres who later divided the auditorium, which seated about 1,000, into two. On June 23, 1976 a new building built behind the original one became its third screen.

Edwards Theatres assumed control in 1981, making it their 17th Orange County location.

It finally closed in 2000 because of Edwards' bankruptcy. Edwards once had plans to turn it into a single-screen stadium seating about 500 and offering dinner service. Its location, next to the Orange County Performing Arts District, made it a prime candidate for some type of reuse.

The Orange County Register said after closing that ‘the Arts District needs a “populist” attraction such as a movie theatre to broaden its appeal’.

Sadly this was not to be, and the theatre was demolished in March 2008 and in 2022 the site is a vacant piece of grassland.

Contributed by Ron Pierce

Recent comments (view all 36 comments)

MSC77 on December 14, 2017 at 1:42 pm

Steven Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” opened here forty years ago today. This venue was among only about three dozen nationwide to play the movie in a 70mm presentation, and the engagement here played 42 weeks, the longest on record for this film in the United States. For more, please see my retrospective article celebrating the movie’s 40th anniversary.

MSC77 on January 2, 2018 at 4:34 pm

My December 14th comment regarding the new “Close Encounters” article actually belongs on this page instead. I didn’t realize there’s a separate database entry for the #3 screen. Which begs the question as to why the two entries aren’t combined into one.

rivest266 on November 1, 2019 at 5:27 pm

The Deluxe New Fox South Coast theatre opened on March 13th, 1968 with “Bonnie and Clyde”. Grand opening ad posted.

rivest266 on November 17, 2019 at 2:21 pm

June 23rd, 1976 grand opening ad posted.

Flix70 on December 11, 2020 at 1:04 pm

Robert Altman’s “Popeye” starring Robin Williams and Shelley Duvall opened at the SCP III 40 years ago this weekend back in 1980. I can remember waiting in line for at least an hour that first Saturday for a mid-afternoon showing.

Flix70 on March 28, 2021 at 11:12 am

A 70mm double-bill of Disney’s “The Black Hole” & “Sleeping Beauty” began a 4-week stint at the Mann South Coast Plaza 40 years ago this weekend (March 27, 1981).

Flix70 on December 14, 2022 at 10:48 am

Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-winning 1977 classic “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” began a 42-week stint in 70mm at the Mann South Coast Plaza 45 years ago today (Dec. 14, 1977).

Starring Richard Dreyfuss, Melinda Dillion & Francois Truffaut, the film opened at number one, expanding to 270 screens nationwide after a month-long exclusive booking in LA & NY, and along with the debut of “Saturday Night Fever” dethroned “Star Wars” after months at the top spot.

I saw it at the SCP III (in the big theater) during those first few weeks of release as a 7-year-old and have been a fan of it & John Williams' unforgettable score ever since.

davidcoppock on December 17, 2022 at 9:11 am

Is there anything on this site now?

Flix70 on December 17, 2022 at 11:16 am

davidcoppock: Just a big patch of green grass now.

Flix70 on June 18, 2023 at 11:11 am

1983’s “Superman III” opened at the SCP III in 70mm 40 years ago this weekend (June 17, 1983).

Starring Christopher Reeve, Annette O'Toole & Richard Pryor, the highly anticipated sequel debuted at number one on over 1,700 screens but ultimately didn’t find the success of the previous two films, grossing just shy of $60 million in North America & finishing its run as the 12th highest-grossing film of 1983.

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