Cooper Theatre

960 S. Colorado Boulevard,
Denver, CO 80246

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Original Cooper Theater Denver, Co

Opened on March 9, 1961, the 814-seat Cooper Theatre was the first of three Cinerama theatres built by the Cooper Foundation in the early-1960’s. Known as the Golden Triangle, the three theatres were located in Denver, Omaha, and Minneapolis. Complete with massive screens and the latest sound technology, all three were designed to exhibit films made in the 3-strip Cinerama process.

Renamed as the Cooper Cameo Theatre on December 25, 1975 when a second 300-seat Cameo Theatre was added to the side of the existing Cooper Theatre. The theatre later became part of the Commonwealth Theatres circuit, who franchised the Cooper name. They also built the Cooper 5, Cooper 6, Cooper 7, and Cooper Twin (none of which were Cinerama theatres), which were constructed to mimick the round, elevated roofs of the existing Cooper theatres.

Visitors came from all over to see the Cooper Theatre and its wonderous screen. But after several years of delighting audiences and packing full houses, the Cooper Theatre began to draw fewer crowds.

After Commonwealth Theatres, the Cooper Theatre was run by United Artists, who continued to operate the theatre until it was sold. Like Cinerama itself, the Cooper Theatre in Denver did not last forever. After years of changing hands, the massive theatre was finally sold to Barnes & Noble, who razed it in 1994 to build a new store.

Recent comments (view all 105 comments)

Chazzmania on July 5, 2018 at 6:00 am

I understand your thoughts about Jim being the finest person you’ve ever known, I feel the same way. Chris and I have remained friends all these years. Jim comes up in conversation often as we both were touched by him in our lives, by his passion & humor. We had suspected that Jim was no longer with us but had no way of verifying that. Thank you for helping us bring closure to our search. Hope you are happy and well!

Chazzmania on July 5, 2018 at 9:08 am

Rich. One more question… is Jim buried in Boulder, CO? We found a listing for James D. Townley, 08 Oct 1950-07 Dec 1993, interred at Green Mountain Cemetery in Boulder. Chris and I are touched at the news of Jim’s passing and would like to pay our respects to him if this is his final resting place. Thanks!

Chazzmania on August 22, 2018 at 8:20 am

Rich Vincent. Janet Townley and I are in communications with each other. She is asking about you. Is there are a way for us to connect outside this message board so I can get you her information?

MSC77 on May 6, 2019 at 8:47 pm

Opened March 9, 1961

bigjoe59 on July 5, 2019 at 3:15 pm

Hello from NYC-

during the prime roadshow period of (1952-1972) which Denver theaters did the studios regularly use for their roadshow engagements? Manhattan had 7.

kennyjames on July 30, 2019 at 11:45 am

The note in your introduction about the Cooper Cameo theatre being added in February 1977 is about a year off. The Cameo opened on Christmas Day, 1975. I am currently putting together a series of books on the history of the Denver area’s drive-ins – and indoors as well. If anyone has a question on the subject, please feel free to contact me at and i’ll be happy to share my research with you. See you at the movies ! – Ken Mitchell

MSC77 on July 31, 2019 at 8:53 am


Porgy and Bess
Lawrence of Arabia
The Longest Day
The Sound of Music
The Sand Pebbles
Song of Norway
Fiddler on the Roof
Man of La Mancha
Last Tango in Paris

Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines
Thoroughly Modern Millie
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Sweet Charity

The Happiest Millionaire
Half a Sixpence
Tora! Tora! Tora!
Nicholas and Alexandra

The Agony and the Ecstasy
The Bible
Doctor Dolittle
Funny Girl
Hello, Dolly!

This is Cinerama
Seven Wonders of the World
Cinerama Holiday
The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm
How the West Was Won
It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
Circus World
The Greatest Story Ever Told
The Best of Cinerama
Grand Prix
Far from the Madding Crowd
Custer of the West
2001: A Space Odyssey
Ice Station Zebra
Krakatoa, East of Java
Paint Your Wagon

The Taming of the Shrew

The Ten Commandments
El Cid
King of Kings
West Side Story
Mutiny on the Bounty
The Fall of the Roman Empire
Mediterranean Holiday
My Fair Lady
Doctor Zhivago
Gone with the Wind (’67 re-issue)
Finian’s Rainbow
The Shoes of the Fisherman
Goodbye, Mr. Chips
Ryan’s Daughter
The Great Waltz

The Blue Max
Is Paris Burning?
The Lion in Winter
Young Winston

Cheyenne Autumn
The Hallelujah Trail
Holiday in Spain
Mediterranean Holiday
Battle of the Bulge
Russian Adventure

Around the World in 80 Days
South Pacific

kucharsk on July 7, 2020 at 4:15 pm

The saddest thing I remember is trying desperately to be allowed to photograph the interior when they announced it was closing.

UA management denied all access saying it would violate company rules on photography and somehow stealing aesthetic design concepts (!).

I can’t imagine B&N wanting the location because it was near the Tattered Cover, as the Tattered was actually miles away in the Cherry Creek neighborhood.

kennyjames on September 10, 2020 at 9:38 am

I’ve put together a booking history for the Cooper, from 1961 up to 1978 so far, in case anyone might like to know when a particular movie played there. I’ll be happy to share my research with you. Take care – Ken Mitchell ()

MSC77 on October 20, 2022 at 11:29 am

A chronology of Denver’s 70mm presentation history has recently been published. The Cooper, of course, is mentioned numerous times.

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