Paramount Theatre

525 George Street,
Sydney, NSW 2000

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Greater Union Theatres

Styles: Italian Renaissance

Nearby Theaters

Paramount Theatre

The only single theatre built in the city since the Ascot Theatre, the Paramount Theatre was a single level theatre built in what was a warehouse and furniture showroom. The narrow frontage led into a long vestibule with the auditorium behind the Rapallo Theatre in Kent Street.

Paramount Studios had long enjoyed releasing their top films at their own Prince Edward Theatre and went into partnership with Greater Union for a replacement. A press release described the decor in an Italian Renaissance style with Corinthian columns lining the walls between panels of gold velvet leading to the wall to wall stage with curtains of gold velvet. There was no proscenium, giving the theatre the widest screen possible. White marble effect statues topped the columns for a classical look.

The Paramount Theatre opened on 3rd May 1966 with Richard Burton in “The Spy Who Came in From the Cold”. The theatre ran successfully even racking up a record run for “Can’t Stop The Music” which had its World Premiere preview at the Paramount Theatre, presented in 70mm on 1st June 1980, but the film did not do well anywhere else. 70mm presentations had begun in 1974 with a re-release of “The Ten Commandments”. Others were “Star Trek”, “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and the final 70mm show, “The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas”.

In 1984 Greater Union demolished the Paramount Theatre and adjacent Rapallo Theatre to extend the neighbouring Hoyts multiplex which they had taken over.

Contributed by john gleeson

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

podyperson on February 3, 2014 at 3:34 am

dear john thank you for the wonderful picture and information,another crime against humanity it was destroyed,one question if it is alright ,I thought that greater union was a separate company to Hoyt’s when they built the new multiplex that opened in 1986,thank you again.

gregpunch on September 16, 2014 at 6:00 pm

Dear John and podyperson. The Greater Union centre built on the site after the Paramount’s demolition was indeed separate to the neighbouring Hoyts complex. The Greater Union Centre opened with four screens, later expanding to six by slicing a cinema in half and fitting out a basement space where one had to navigate pillars for an unobstructed view of the screen! It was several years later that the Hoyts, Greater Union and Village Complex were joined through a labyrinth of passage ways and remodeled cinema spaces.

Hute on October 31, 2016 at 5:49 am

A really unique Cinema. 1st time i went there was for Star Trek The Motion Picture. I remember walking down a narrow Foyer to the cinema doors and thinking “this place will be tiny”. Once through the doors however my thoughts were “WOW This place is Huge”. The Screen area was wide and watching Raiders of the Lost Ark there was an experience. Even though its brick perimeter were 3 old buildings gutted , The Designers did a Great job with the interior. I Was not that impressed with its replacement the “Greater Union on George”, It had 2 decent sized cinemas but not the nostalgia of The Paramount and Rapallo next door. Another sad loss to Sydney.

Trev on March 14, 2017 at 4:16 am

The Paramount Theatre on George Street Sydney was one of my favourite cinemas to visit during my childhood and teenage years in the 70’s and early 80’s. The Sting, Logan’s Run, Grease, the aforementioned Star Trek and Raiders of the Lost Ark, Can’t Stop the Music, Poltergeist, An Officer and a Gentleman and Flashdance to name a few. Those beautiful statues on top of the speakers were amazing. I also remember The Godfather was screening there when it first came out but I was too young to see it!

davidcoppock on August 28, 2019 at 3:13 am

The Paramount Theatre had the World Premiere preview of the movie Can’t stop the music" on 1/6/1980. The after party was held at Maxy’s Roller disco(in the old Plaza Theatee building).

50sSNIPES on August 20, 2023 at 10:22 am

The actual opening date is May 5, 1966.

The Paramount closed for the final time in June 1983 with “An Officer And A Gentlemen” (which screened there for more than two months at the Paramount).

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