South Coast Plaza III Theatres

3410 Bristol Street,
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

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Flix70 on June 18, 2023 at 9:11 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.

Flix70 on December 17, 2022 at 9:16 am

davidcoppock: Just a big patch of green grass now.

davidcoppock on December 17, 2022 at 7:11 am

Is there anything on this site now?

Flix70 on December 14, 2022 at 8:48 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.

Flix70 on March 28, 2021 at 9:12 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 11, 2020 at 11:04 am

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.

rivest266 on November 17, 2019 at 12:21 pm

June 23rd, 1976 grand opening ad posted.

rivest266 on November 1, 2019 at 3:27 pm

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

MSC77 on January 2, 2018 at 2:34 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.

MSC77 on December 14, 2017 at 11:42 am

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.

Joe Pinney
Joe Pinney on February 5, 2017 at 7:16 am

Seeing the video of the demolition of the South Coast Plaza theaters is painful for me, especially since I spent so many memorable hours at this theater, seeing I don’t know how many incredible films from the late 70s, 80s, and 90s. Everything from Disney films like THE CAT FROM OUTER SPACE and FREAKY FRIDAY to SUPERMAN to RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK to POLTERGEIST (opening night, Friday, June 4, 1982!) to re-releases of the first two STAR WARS films to DIE HARD to BRAVEHEART. This was, at one time, one of the premiere theaters in Orange County. Many 70mm presentations. To see it just unceremoniously trashed like this, so completely erased from existence with no trace that it was ever there……that hurts. It was there, dammit. I loved going there. Why’d they have to go and tear it down?

Logan5 on October 9, 2014 at 10:48 pm

“The Rocketeer” was presented at Edwards South Coast Plaza in 35mm Dolby Stereo beginning on Friday June 21, 1991.

Richie_T on July 14, 2011 at 4:22 pm

Here’s a link to the demolition of the South Coast Plaza Theaters. Try to get past the music by Live. The video is sad enough already.

CTCrouch on July 4, 2011 at 12:56 am

Miscellaneous trivia: The South Coast opened as National General Corp’s 263rd theatre.

Today, the site is a well maintained grass lot; popular for office breaks and as a walkway to/from the Orange County Performing Arts Center.

BruceForrest on April 22, 2010 at 10:52 pm

My parents, Sam and Dorothy, worked maintenace at the original single-screen theatre, from 1969, up until when it became a twin, and, later, when Edwards bought it up. Was sad to see the building get demolished.

bkazmer on March 13, 2010 at 12:41 pm

My ex was at that Premiere night when Debbie Reynolds appeared. She has a photo or two from that night. Rats, I suppose I better ask her about that now. She was 17 years old when that occurred and we were married 3 months later. Scandalously young.

GaryParks on March 14, 2008 at 12:08 pm

When I saw the pre-demolition photos of this theater, I realized that this is where I saw “Sleeping Beauty,” in about 1971 or so. This was the only time we attended this theater. We lived in Seal Beach then, and went to South Coast Plaza for shopping, but never for movies, save this one time.

CTCrouch on March 14, 2008 at 2:17 am

I stopped by and checked out the demolition today (3/13). The South Coast Plaza theatre was already down to walls and framework, the interior a pile of rubble; it had already been somewhat stripped, prior to demolition (as mentioned in an earlier post). However, the Plaza III turned out to have been relatively intact prior to the demolition; poppers, coke towers, menu boaards, screen, speakers, seating, etc. had all been there. It was almost as if Edwards had closed one night and never returned. Seeing such an intact theatre being torn apart was extra sad.

William on March 12, 2008 at 2:56 pm

Well this makes the second theatre that the firm of Harold W. Levitt and Associates to get razed in the last few months. The other being the National Theatre in Westwood. Both are former NGC/Mann houses.

Flix70 on March 12, 2008 at 2:27 pm

Demolition has begun on this theater. I drove by today and saw just the frame left on screens I and II; a large green fence has been erected around the Plaza III and I can only assume its next, as the doors were open and it appeared they were in the proccess of gutting it. No idea what, if anything, will be going up in its place. Demo company is Ampco Construction. Sad day indeed.

MRY886 on October 7, 2007 at 9:47 pm

The architect of this theater was Harold W. Levitt and Associates of Beverly Hills.

CTCrouch on September 26, 2007 at 4:14 am

Sadly, much of this theatre’s interior is stripped down to the studs these days. While the windows have long been blacked out, I managed to sneak a peak at the lobby recently. Much of the ceiling is missing, the concession area is a skeleton, walls are stripped bare, and electrical conduit hangs loose everywhere. I’m guessing this stripped down state is left over from Edwards' pre bankrupcy remodel plans, as a heavy layer of dust suggests it’s been quite some time since anyone frequented the lobby.

mistertopps on June 12, 2007 at 1:36 pm

I remember going here once in college to see the movie Cube. I remember quite clearly how insane it was with how deep the theatre went. Especially when there are only 6 people in the audience, it’s just so bizarre. It was an overall odd experience, because I don’t think that particular film played anywhere else. Weird movie in a weird theatre.

moviebluedog on June 12, 2007 at 12:57 pm

I can’t understand why Edwards/Regal, now Regency, hasn’t chosen this theatre to keep it open as an art house. Theatre III is much bigger than the South Coast Village and has a superior screen and sound system (at least when it was open.) It has stadium seating in the upper level of the auditorium and very good sightlines. If someone did re-open this theatre, they could do very well with art house product and revivals.

The original South Coast Plaza theatre (the twinned version) was supposedly very nice when it was a single screen. Very similar to many of the NGC theatres built in the 1960s. I’ve only been to it as a twin. I loved the lobby, but seeing movies in the twin was like seeing a movie in a bowling alley.

View link

There is a brief history of the theatres, as well as a photo gallery, on the link above.

academy6 on May 25, 2007 at 6:09 pm

sorry, i was thinking of this one
South Coast Village – Santa Ana/Costa Mesa, CA
1561 W Sunflower Ave
Sunflower & South Coast Plaza Drive
Santa Ana, CA. 92704
(714) 557-5701