60 Avenue de la Motte Piquet,
Paris 75015

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Gaumont France, UGC

Architects: Raymond Nicolas, Eugene Vergnes

Functions: Pharmacy

Styles: Art Nouveau, Streamline Moderne

Previous Names: Splendid Cinema Palace, Gaumont Splendid, Cinerama Rive Gauche, Grand Ecran

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Located in the south of the city centre. The Splendid Cinema Palace was opened on 6th August 1919 with 1,174 seats. It was designed in an Art Nouveau style by architect Eugene Vergnes. At the beginning of the struggle between movie theatres and television around the 1960’s many new process’s with wide screen are launched.

The Russian process equivalent of Cinerama is demonstrated at the Brussels World’s Fair and a French producer decided to open a KinoPanorama theatre in Paris.

The first choice to build the KinoPanorama was the Marigny, a former circus, but fortunately an old silent era movie palace, the Splendid, was chosen to be the shell of the new theatre designed by architect Raymond Nicolas. The facade and the lobby are torn down in order to build an apartment building with a new lobby but the balcony remained and the stalls were excavated because a new projection booth with six projectors needed to be built under the balcony. The auditorium had a gilded plaster ceiling and a yellow curtain and green colours for the seats and the walls. Seating was provided for 593 in the orchestra, 189 in the rear balcony and 86 in the front balcony.

Opening as the KinoPanorama on 25th September 1959 with “I Walk In Moscow”, it ran for two years. With 70mm prints instead of three projectors the policy of Russian movies was very successful until the end of the 1960’s.

In 1968 Cinerama already had two theatres, the Gaumont Palace (6,000 seats), and the Empire (1,000 seats) but needed another screen on the left bank. The Kino became Cinerama Rive Gauche for a while with 70mm prints.

After the 1970’s the theatre had a neighbourhood theatre policy with second run movies. The UGC chain took control but it ended up being a disaster (600 patrons a week).

After a threat of closing to become a church, the former owner took control again and a 70mm print policy brought new kinds of patrons with “That’s Entertainment”, “Hello Dolly”, “Lawrence of Arabia”, “Ben Hur”, “The Sound of Music”, etc.

Around 1978, the producer of “The Rose” asked for a screening at the Kino and was so impressed that the theatre was added for the first run and a first run policy started again after good results. Among the hits were “Le Tambourg” and “ET”. The first week, the Avenue was crowded with twice the capacity of the theatre at each performance and started a traffic jam.

Technically many improvements were added such as special lenses, digital sound and in the auditorium, a new white curtain with screen taps to partially hide the wide curved screen (made in the UK) with standard 35mm prints and very comfortable armchair seats, reducing the capacity slightly, but a must for movie lovers. The view from the rear side of the stalls gave the impression of entering through a huge curtain.

For the first run of “A Passage to India”, a digital theatre organ clone of the Wurlitzer console entertained prior to each performance. One morning people from the English Cinema Theatre Association were visiting the theatre and among them, someone played the theatre organ for a magic moment.

In 1992, Gaumont took control of the KinoPanorama and the first mistake was to rename it Grand Ecran but quickly they returned to KinoPanorama. Later in 1992, a major refurbishing gave the theatre a nice look, but the reduction of the size of the screen, the loss of the curtain and a first run policy not suited to the Kino decreased the number of patrons.

My last visit was a revival of “Ben Hur” with a 35mm print around 2000 but poor sound and a poor picture far from the glory years showed that the theatre had lost its prestige.

On 9th July 2002, the Kino closed and and sat unused for many years. By 2018 it had been converted in a pharmacy. It is a major loss for the movie theatre life of Paris. By 2021 it had been converted into a gymnasium named Health City ancien KinoPanorama.

Contributed by Xavier Delamare

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

filmempire on November 22, 2004 at 6:33 pm

I was at least 3 times visiting the Kinopanorama in the 70s. The Empire and Gaumont Palace were closed and the Kinopanorama was showing “El Cid”, later “Star Trek 2” (a bad blowup 70 mm) and the last film I have seen was “Grand Bleu”. I was impressed by the screen and the sound. Too bad, that this theatre is closed now.

Greg_Faris on February 4, 2018 at 11:08 pm

Worked there as projectionist, then technical director through the 1980s, and oversaw the introduction of many of the technical innovations mentioned in the article. I also took the picture above, at a time when we were replacing the screen.

Lionel on June 25, 2020 at 9:00 am

English translation of an article from 2002, originally written in French on the SILVERSCREENS web site.

This film (16 min) on YOUTUBE was shot during two days (on 20 January 1991 and 27 June 1992) by a former projectionist who worked there from 1989 to 1992. To summarize the text on the picture, it emphasizes the fact that the Kino was the largest screen in France, had premieres where stars from all over the world attended, was the first French cinema with digital sound (the pioneering CDS process developed by Kodak and ORC). It was managed for decades by its owners Pierre and Josette Pinton who sold it to Gaumont in 1992. It closed in 2002 in complete indifference.

Here is an illustrated article on Thomas Hauerslev’s IN70MM.COM web site, and an update to this article on the same site.

In the photos section, the black and white picture shows the original Kinopanorama front speakers (the ones with large wings similar to the older Altec) and, between them, the newer STS (Système Ténor de Sonorisation) installation made of Ténor speakers designed by French engineer Pierre Vincent in the late eighties. Ténor speakers guaranteed a uniformly multidirectional sound more suitable to a volume such as the Kino auditorium, as opposed to speakers used in THX-certified installations where the specifications are for coverage angles of 90° horizontally by 40° vertically.

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