AMC Uptown 1

3426 Connecticut Avenue NW,
Washington, DC 20008

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: AMC Theatres, Cineplex Odeon, Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corp.

Architects: John J. Zink

Styles: Art Deco

Previous Names: Circle Uptown Theater, Uptown Theater, AMC Loews Uptown 1

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News About This Theater

12-28-13 From balcony's top row

Opened by Warner Brothers on October 29, 1936, the Uptown Theater is the last movie palace in Washington, DC. The Uptown Theater is located near the Cleveland Park subway stop on the Red Line of the Metro. Many restaurants are on both sides of the street.

The theater opened with a seating capacity of 1,364 (914 seats in the orchestra and 450 in the stadium seated balcony). The proscenium was 44ft wide x 26ft high. The Uptown Theater was designed by theater architect John Zink, a top designer of Art Deco and Art Moderne style movie houses. In 1939, Zink designed Baltimore’s historic Senator Theatre.

In the early-1940’s, the auditorium’s side walls were covered with fabric and the ceiling was altered. In the fall of 1956, the auditorium was remodeled to allow films in wide screen Todd-AO. “South Pacific” ran for seven months in 1958 and “West Side Story” ran for nine months in 1961. In 1962, the auditorium was basically gutted with the proscenium removed as it was remodeled to show 3-strip Cinerama films. The original projection booth remains at the top of the balcony, but new booths were added at the front of the balcony. Since Cinerama ended, the center front booth continues to be used.

The World Premiere of “2001-A Space Odyssey” was at the Uptown Theater on April 2, 1968, in its original two-hour and 40 minute version. Kubrick trimmed 20 minutes, and the movie was then shown for 51 weeks. Local theater operators Circle took over, and that company’s founders continue to own the building, though succeeding movie operators lease it. In 1987, Cineplex Odeon took over, and that company later merged into Loews, which in time merged with into AMC.

Many films were shown in their original 70mm runs, and later, in reissues, to sold out crowds. The restored “Lawrence of Arabia” was shown in 1989, with director David Lean attending the premiere. The restored “Spartacus” was shown in 1991 and the restored “My Fair Lady” in 1994. Cineplex Odeon refurbished this palatial movie house in 1996, reducing the seating capacity to 840 and reopened it with the restored “Vertigo”. In 1997, the Uptown Theater was host to the re-release of the Star Wars saga (aka “Star Wars: The Special Edition”). On opening day, the ticket lines wrapped around the block, turned the corner, and continued several blocks away from Connecticut Street. New prints of 36 classic films, starting with “The Jazz Singer” were shown in 1998 to celebrate 75 years of Warner Brothers movies. The other restored classics included “Rear Window” in 2000, and in 2001, a 20th anniversary run of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey”. In 2003, the Director’s Cut of “Alien” was shown, and in 2007, “Blade Runner, the Final Cut”.

Hollywood studios frequently have glittering red carpet film premieres at the Uptown Theater.

First run, blockbuster mainstream movies are the mainstay. Known for having the largest screen in DC (its curved screen measures 32 feet tall by 70 feet wide for ‘scope films), the Uptown Theater has been the best place to see event movies for several decades.

With the Disney film “Onward” AMC ceased operating the Uptown Theatre on March 12, 2020. It remains to be seen if another movie theatre operator will take over this much storied, much beloved movie theater.

Contributed by Karim Alim, Justin Zagri, Howard B. Haas

Recent comments (view all 590 comments)

MSC77 on December 25, 2021 at 3:22 pm

Here’s a new 4-page 50th anniversary FIDDLER ON THE ROOF retrospective featuring a roadshow playdate chronology and historian Q&A. The Uptown’s 57-week run is mentioned in the piece.

spectrum on May 10, 2022 at 8:17 pm

Another 2021 article about possible renovation:

JackCoursey on March 18, 2023 at 6:10 pm

It appears that Landmark is no longer considering adding the Uptown to it’s portfolio but that a group within the Cleveland Park community is hoping to revive the theatre.

JodarMovieFan on March 21, 2023 at 1:30 pm

I scanned through the article and blanked out when I read the part of a 375 seat main theater. LOL! I assume the large screen is untouched. If they make it smaller, forget it. It seems the event films like your Avatars and Top Gun 2s get the people out to the big screens as it should. I’d never pay $20+ to stream a movie at home, unless I’m rich and have a dedicated THX-certified or better cinema auditorium.

The other sources of revenue from food and other entertainment makes economic sense. However, its not going to get me to drive there and pay $$ for pretty looking spoonfuls of food served on bone China and crystal glassware.

DavidZornig on May 28, 2023 at 10:02 am

5/26/23 Washington Post opinion piece on the Uptown Theater. It has a paywall but maybe locals are already subscribed.

Mikeoaklandpark on May 28, 2023 at 12:08 pm

So what did the article say?

DavidZornig on May 28, 2023 at 12:25 pm

I couldn’t open it. Maybe someone with a subscription can copy tell us or copy and paste it.

MSC77 on May 28, 2023 at 3:21 pm

Regarding the Washington Post article about the Uptown published a couple days ago, that people are having difficulty accessing, try this link Instead.

MSC77 on October 3, 2023 at 11:54 am

A new article has been published cataloging the 70mm presentations of “2001: A Space Odyssey.” The Uptown gets several mentions in the piece.

Rick on October 3, 2023 at 2:20 pm

There are booth pictures on in the warehouse – pictures.

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