Mainstreet KC at the Power & Light District

1400 Main Street,
Kansas City, MO 64105

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Showing 1 - 25 of 121 comments

jalbertsgriffen on April 17, 2022 at 1:32 am

The original auditorium was so completely destroyed by water damage by the time they restored it, that there was no chance of actually restoring it. There were several tons of ruined ornamental plaster hauled out of there by guys with masks on before they could even begin to work in there.

dallasmovietheaters on March 3, 2021 at 9:43 am

The Alamo Drafthouse Mainstreet closed along with the circuit’s other locations on March 16, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Alamo Drafthouse then declared bankruptcy and announced permanent closure of three locations on March 3, 2021. Seven months shy of its 100th Anniversary, the Alamo Drafthouse Mainstreet joined the New Braunfels Alamo Drafthouse Market Place and one Austin location on that list.

DAL on August 1, 2018 at 6:53 pm

JackCoursey, none of the original auditorium is visible to the general public. But when I was with AMC, the manager took us up to the old balcony section behind the new upper level theatres. That area still has the stadium tiers for the old upstairs theatre.

JackCoursey on July 29, 2018 at 9:35 pm

How much, if any, of the original auditorium is still in place?

moviebuff82 on July 7, 2018 at 6:32 pm

This theater was shown during coverage of a royals game today and was featured in AMCs coming soon snipes in the late 2000s.

rivest266 on May 7, 2018 at 2:11 pm

Upstairs Empire theatre renamed Royal on June 26th, 1968

rivest266 on May 6, 2018 at 12:56 pm

Full page ad as Empire on December 21st, 1960

rivest266 on May 5, 2018 at 3:42 pm

Reopened as RKO Missouri on July 26th, 1949. Ad in photo section and at

rivest266 on April 23, 2018 at 2:16 pm

Grand opening ad from October 30th, 1921 can be found in the photo section.

imaxman on August 25, 2015 at 6:48 pm

In the fall of 1968 I saw “2001 Space Odyssey” I suppose in the lower Empire 2. Possibly in that same time period I say “Around The World in 80 Days” in the upstairs theater, a reissue? Last film I saw in the upper small theater was “Flap” Anthony Quinn Release Date: November 1970 (USA). That was the last film I saw there as I returned to California.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 8, 2015 at 12:17 pm

Here is a bit of additional information about the period when the Empire was operated by Stan Durwood’s AMC Theatres. It is from the NRHP Registration Form (PDF here) for the Mainstreet Theatre, and the details differ somewhat from the original conversion plans noted in the 1966 Boxoffice article:

“In 1967, Durwood split the Empire into two theaters, by adding steel girders to the front of the balcony and extending a deck from the balcony to the proscenium. This made a large theater upstairs with 1,005 seats. It was first called the Royal, and later the Empire I. The Empire II (first floor) continued as a Cinerama Theatre. In 1980, the upstairs was further split in two with a wall down the middle. Each theater seated about 400. A small lobby under the balcony had been converted earlier to a narrow theatre with a small screen seating about 100. It was called the Academy then later known simply as the Empire 1, 2, 3, and 4.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 8, 2015 at 12:00 pm

The Durwood circuit’s plans to convert the balcony of the Empire Theatre into a separate auditorium were reported in the October 24, 1966, issue of Boxoffice. Durwood had acquired the house from RKO in 1960 and subsequently remodeled and renamed it the Empire. An upstairs lounge had been converted into the 136-seat Academy Theatre prior to the twinning of the original auditorium.

Durwood’s plan was to continue operating the 900-seat ground floor theater as a Cinerama house called the Empire I, while the new, 1,200-seat theater in the former balcony and upper part of the auditorium, which was to extend to the top of the original proscenium, would be operated as a roadshow house called the Empire II.

The $300,000 conversion was designed by architects Hugh Hamlin and Charles Pike of the firm Northern & Hamlin.

BeltwayBrian on March 11, 2014 at 7:25 am

Nothing but love for this theater. It was my first (three consecutive nights) visit to an Alamo Drafthouse and I was not disappointed (Flash Gordon!). Love to know that this old gal has some very cool history. Viva Cinerama!

Carlj on January 19, 2013 at 8:21 am

Our parents took my sister and I here Christmas Day 1979 to see Superman. was a great theater and was glad to see it reopen

WTKFLHN on December 30, 2012 at 4:29 pm

I can remember going to the Missouri and seeing a movie and sitting in the front row by the Orchestra pit to see a “Blackstone, the magician” show around 1950, I think. He made a canary in a small cage disappear and I got to check his coat sleeves to make sure he didn’t have it there.

CSWalczak on November 15, 2012 at 9:31 pm

This theater has reopened as the Alamo Drafthouse Mainstreet; the seat counts in some of the theaters has been reduced is some of the screening rooms. View article

CSWalczak on October 1, 2012 at 10:16 pm

The Mainstreet is closing temporarily for conversion to the Alamo Drafthouse format; reopening is estimated to be around November 15, 2012. View article

KingBiscuits on August 22, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Actually, I would say the Drafthouse company taking over is the best thing to happen to this theatre. This is a theatre that should be getting exclusives and indie fare (instead of playing the same movies as everyone else) and this company does just that. Also, you never read a bad thing about the Drafthouse chain and they know everything that is right about filmgoing.

Mike Gallagher
Mike Gallagher on July 18, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Tinseltoes – I have enjoyed seeing the different changes of the RKO Missouri (Mainstreet Theater). Do you have a ref of the changes that were made to the Liberty to the Roxy theater that also appeared in Box Office. The Roxy was a beautiful little Durwood Theater (actually their 2nd theater in KC)

Mike Gallagher
Mike Gallagher on June 26, 2012 at 5:53 am

So what – the Marquee Lounge was pretty kool too. I do not remember any lounge called the Chesterfield unless it was the Lounge upstairs in the dome when the theater was called the RKO Missouri. The stairs going up to that lounge are gone. Also the 2nd floor ballroom that was also a dance studio. I worked there in 1965, 66 and early 67 and went thru every inch of that wonderful old theater. The lounge was pretty nice but had a lot of clutter in it just like all the store fronts became a catch all of old theater items like projectors speakers etc. I wish they would have left that 2nd floor ball room – it was beautiful and was one of a few areas of theater not destroyed by years of neglect. I wanted the old Academy and Studio marguee signs but they got thrown into the dumpster when the theater was beeing completely gutted. The old Empire signes with the crown was in there too.

CSWalczak on June 25, 2012 at 9:31 pm

Alamo Drafthouse plans to rename the lounge at the Mainstreet the Chesterfield to recall a piece of Kansas City history: View article

RobbKCity on June 19, 2012 at 3:26 pm

I still feel sad about AMC leaving the Mainstreet because AMC/Durwood Theaters has had a presence in downtown Kansas City for decades. This company was born in Kansas City, Missouri with the purchase of the old Regent Theater downtown. When they move from their headquarters building to Leawood, they won’t have any presence there at all anymore. The Power and Light District was originally Stan Durwood’s (AMC) idea. I wish AMC had ended up with ownership of the Mainstreet after it was restored, and not Cordish. I had hoped at one time that AMC would build a new headquarters building west of the theater.

Mike Gallagher
Mike Gallagher on June 19, 2012 at 5:21 am

OK maybe a different company but it was the same consept – look at both companies' websites. Again, it was a total bust. Why is it that the AMC Mainstreet sold more tickets for its downstairs 3 screening rooms that the upstairs? I had two bad experiences with the upstairs theaters and it is annoying. Also, with the Alamo operation, the prices will probably spike. I think that AMC was stupid for handing over the Mainstreet Theater. As for the Midland, when is Cordish going to start working on The Midland Tower and start repairing the problems in The Auditorium – cracks and paint chips and other plaster problems and burnt out light buibs?